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General question:

Does adding an extra WFE help if the existing WFE is running out of memory during normal day to day operations?

My Case

We have a WFE with 10 Web Applications (A Portal, Coporate News, an ExtraNet, SSP, CA, etc) and during the day its memory footprint grows until it is starting to swap, grinding all to a halt. A recycle of one or two of the webapps helps, but only for a short time, until memory start filling up again. The WFE sole duty is to server SharePoint.

Does adding an extra WFE help? Or would I get the same problems but then on both? (other solutions are also appreciated)

specs: Windows 2003 32bit, Intel Xeon, E7440@ 2.40GHzm 3.00 GB Ram, PAE. CPU load varies between 20%-60%. PF Usage starts at 2.5 GB (begin of day) and increases to ~3.0 during (15:00h)

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1 Answer

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Kinda, sorta, your question might be somewhat analogous to "does a Bulldozer help me plow my backyard vegetable garden..." a new WFE might still be overkill and may not cut down as much memory use as you'd like.

A few things to look at first:

  • How about just a simple RAM upgrade?
  • How many application pools do you have running on your WFE? Remember each app pool is another 100MB - 200MB of memory on your system, even if it's standing still.
  • What's your approximate traffic load on that WFE?
  • Is the WFE Doing anything else (SharePoint related or otherwise)?
  • Might also help if we knew how much memory you have?

Editing to reflect Dribbel's edits:

3GB of RAM on a high traffic SharePoint 2007 server is a bit light. Consider one more GB at a minimum. WFE expansion is typically done when other aspects of the server are getting heavy too, CPU, Network Traffic to Server, etc, not just simple RAM starvation. You may want to think about consolidating web apps if possible.

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I'll update my question :) –  Dribbel Oct 10 '11 at 14:02
    
Agreed - RAM is cheap and these days 3GB would be anemic for a normal user workstation, let alone a server handling this kind of load. Add the RAM as the first step, then move on to watching network traffic –  Dave Wise Oct 10 '11 at 14:29
    
The limit is 4 GB for w2003 32bit, right? And I'll look into consolidating webapps (more webapps using one apppool?) –  Dribbel Oct 10 '11 at 14:35
    
There isn't a simple yes/no answer to that one. Check this out and find the best match for your exact environment: msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/… –  Dave Wise Oct 10 '11 at 15:22
    
Thanks, I'll go check with my Infrastructure guy. At least now I've something to battle with :) –  Dribbel Oct 10 '11 at 15:54
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