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I've checked the SharePoint requirements here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc262485.aspx which are apparently the "minimum" requirements, but I've seen some blog posts claiming to have a dev system running ok with less RAM etc.

It also doesn't give the required spec for using a single server in a production environment. I realise this isn't an ideal setup, but what I'm trying to ascertain is whether this is a valid setup for small customers who may not have the resources for 3 separate servers.

So my questions are:

  1. During development, what's the minimum usable system spec for SharePoint 2013 you're using?
  2. For production, does anyone have SharePoint 2013 running on less than 3 servers, if so could you share the spec / number of users, or how low you think you could go and still have acceptable performance.
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I'm working on upgrading our 2010 single-server environment to 2013. I'll try to remember to come back on post my results after this is complete. –  pmartin Jan 30 '13 at 15:07

5 Answers 5

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Nearly all my SharePoint 2013 development are done on my trusty Lenovo Thinkpad T410S which has a Core I5 (first gen) and is thus limited to 8gb ram but has a sweet SSD which helps a lot since everything is using the disk simulatenously.

For development purpose, it's a all in one server (domain controller, SQL Server, SharePoint Farm) running Windows Server 2008 R2 (I find it less resource hungry than it's 2012 brother for the same end result, same goes for SQL Server 2008 R2).

Like all SharePoint environment, relevant tweaks are mandatory to ensure smooth performance.

  • Make sure that you just activate the minimal features & components on your server & apply relevant tweaks (eg : disable disk indexing, disable last file access timestamp, disable logging on IIS, ...)
  • Make sure that you install only required components in SQL Server 2008 R2 (core services & management studio are enough for all my needs). Since I work with snapshot, I put my databases on recovery model simple. That also helps to minimize disk access without penality. 2008 R2 works smoothly with SP2013. I've yet to find a customer that will upgrade both Windows Server & SQL Server 2012 just for SP2013 - right now 20130130 -), Pre growth all your content database (mainly the temp one)
  • Make sure that you turn off all the services that you're not using (eg: access, excel, document conversion, translation service, etc.) my SharePoint vm do have only the minimal required services and that really helps. Also turn off / minimize the logging, minimize the search performance - Set-SPEnterpriseSearchService -PerformanceLevel Reduced - (and no need to have everything in real time for dev purpose so watch out for your crawl schedules)
  • ...

I've had the chance to deploy a SharePoint 2013 farm in production which is composed of two servers (each with 16gb ram), one for SQL Server and the other one for SharePoint 2013 (WFE + App server thus). So far everything is ok, will start doing load testing in the coming days but so far so good. I wouldn't suggest to go for less since the cost of ram (even on cloud hosted VPS) will be much cheaper than a slow system.

At work, I do have 16gb on my workstation. I don't see major improvement vs my 8gb setup (but once again, I turn off everything I can). It's handy to simulate SharePoint 2010 farm (client, WFEx2, APP, SQL, DC) but hardly doable in SP2013 right now.

Overall, it depends on what you'll / want to achieve with your SharePoint 2013 setup. Both on development and production. Do you focus on a specific area ? Will you work heavily with search and the new functionalities like content catalog ? Will you do load / stress testing on that environment ?

The 24gb "all in one environment" is obviously when you have everything running with little or not configuration / tweak. In which case the amount of ram will not be insane but for us developers / architect who know what they are doing, I think it's better to implement something working OK with the minimal amount of ram and then that will benefit from beefed-up production environments than the opposite.

To keep things short, it's NOT the unreachable beast hardware wise. Take some time to learn what's going underneath, optimize each layer and you'll get a working environment with the pleasure of knowing where it can be slow and why.

Edit : also know the target system. I'm currently working on both SharePoint 2013 Enterprise and SharePoint 2013 standard. The later having quite a lot less than the former, it's relevant to deploy your (virtual) environments matching the target production systems.

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Cheers for the detailed reply. I'll post an update with what we end up using for dev / production. –  Matt Feb 4 '13 at 11:58
    
To confirm / elaborate - 8gb does seem to be enough for a fairly minimal dev install of SP2013 Server on Win 2008 R2, but, for example, we tried to run a Search Crawl and got out of memory exceptions. –  lgaud Feb 15 '13 at 21:11
    
That's true, also make sure that you limit SQL Server memory consumption if you are limited with 8gb. The point was just to avoid the hardware limit, I do have peers developers that won't jump if their set is not upgraded which is a true shame. –  Francois Verbeeck Feb 16 '13 at 13:00

During development, I use

  • server for domain controller & SQL Server (2 CPU, 2 GB RAM)
  • server for SharePoint, Office, Visual Studio & Workflow engine (2 CPU, 12 GB RAM)
  • server for Office Web Apps Server (optional, power on when needed) (2 CPU, 2 GB RAM)

Running the SharePoint server with anything less than 8 GB is not working for me. It might seem that everything is running, but under the hood SharePoint is shutting down several services because you are lacking RAM.

For production, I tend to advise my customers to go for 12 GB on SharePoint servers at the minimum.

Again, this is my personal view on what works and what not.

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Thanks Thomas. With the "12 GB SharePoint servers", is that with 3 separate servers (Web, App & DB)? Do you think it's do-able with just 2 (Web + App on one and DB on another)? –  Matt Jan 30 '13 at 16:40
    
For development, I only use 1 SharePoint Server with 12 GB. For production, I try to work towards a minimal highly available farm (2 web servers, 2 app servers, 2 database servers), but that depends on the requirements of course. For a simpler environment, I go with 1 web server and 1 app server with 12 GB on both, but you probably could get away with a little less than that. –  Thomas Vochten Jan 30 '13 at 19:14
    
We have been running a dev machine of SharePoint 2013 on an 8GB machine. If you disable services that are not needed you can very well go ahead with that, although obviously it's not the best solution. –  Rafał Saltarski Jan 30 '13 at 20:27
    
Upvoted. Happy to read that OWA is running with 2gb for dev purpose, would have set the bar higher although I didn't read yet the official deployment guide. 12gb is the sweet spot but running on 8 is clearly working as I described hereunder. –  Francois Verbeeck Jan 30 '13 at 20:31

Entirely not recommended for long term use, or production, but I've found that my work laptop which I hardly use anyways, can run a full SharePoint Standalone install with 4GB RAM (Windows Server 2012, SQL 2012 and SharePoint 2013).

Additional to those I had Visual Studio and Office 2013, it was a test lab environment, and not virtualized.

I wouldn't recommend using it as a day to day development, but if you want to try something where you don't have access to a proper SharePoint environment, it comes in handy.

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I have found that 9GB is the minimum amount of RAM required for our virtual machines to comfortably run SP2013 and SQL2008r2. This allowed me to run plenty of services (inc. user profile, search). It is responsive enough for development but not instantaneous enough for a live configuration as users would notice the delay between pages loading.

4 virtual processors is the minimum for acceptable performance. I was surprised by how big the difference is between 2 & 4 procs.

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Installation Scenario Deployment type and scale RAM Processor Hard disk space Single server with a built-in database or single server that uses SQL Server Development or evaluation installation of SharePoint Server 2013 or SharePoint Foundation 2013 with the minimum recommended services for development environments. For information, see Minimum recommended services for development environments. 8 GB 64-bit, 4 cores 80 GB for system drive Single server with a built-in database or single server that uses SQL Server Development or evaluation installation of SharePoint Server 2013 or SharePoint Foundation 2013 running Visual Studio 2012 and the minimum recommended services for development environments. For information, see Minimum recommended services for development environments. 10 GB 64-bit, 4 cores 80 GB for system drive Single server with a built-in database or single server that uses SQL Server Development or evaluation installation of SharePoint Server 2013 running all available services. 24 GB 64-bit, 4 cores 80 GB for system drive Web server or application server in a three-tier farm Pilot, user acceptance test, or production deployment of SharePoint Server 2013 or SharePoint Foundation 2013. 12 GB 64-bit, 4 cores 80 GB for system drive

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Gosh, there's so much wrong with that formatting I don't know where to start. It looks like you pasted in a table of data from somewhere else and it's become horribly mangled. I think you'd be better off linking to the original or seriously reworking your answer. –  Stuart Pegg May 22 '13 at 14:35
    
It's a (missed !) partial copy / paste from the official technet article one can find here : technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc262485.aspx. –  Francois Verbeeck May 29 '13 at 12:46

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