SharePoint 2013 System Requirements: The Real Story (And They’re Out Of This World)

OK, I know I’ve promised to be quiet and let the NDA-bound community have and enjoy their first taste of freedom, but this is so serious I have to breach radio silence. Yes, you will want to sit down for this one. Also, please do not read on if you have an existing heart condition. Always consult your physician before undertaking activities that will put a strain on your heart, and so on.

Short story: If you plan on doing development work on SharePoint Server 2013, you need a minimum of 24 GB of RAM. That’s assuming you are NOT going to need Visual Studio, which will only add to that number.

Yeah, I know. Shocking, right? Especially after tons of MVPs blurted out that “there are no hardware requirements changes, woohoo!” yesterday. Turns out, what was likely a DNS lag issue meant that they had the wrong information and they didn’t bother checking the facts before their verbal diarrhea came on with full force.

Lesson learned: Just because you have ‘inside’ info doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check your facts or qualify them as speculation.

OK, so here’s what happened.

Up until yesterday (which was the big launch date of July 16, if you’re reading this later), the NDA crowd had only a single presentation and a couple of documents from which to deduce hardware requirement. That presentation, which was made for the Ignite SharePoint 15 training, even highlighted the fact that there were no changes, and thus said that the minimum requirements for SP2013 was 8 Gb and even 4 Gb for developer and evaluation use.

SP15IgniteHWRequirements

On the day of the launch, even the public Microsoft pages said that the requirement were the same as for SharePoint 2010, so I guess the NDA crowd will argue that they only said what Microsoft said. However, even that would be wrong, not just because parroting everything you read is a huge waste of bandwidth, but because even the most basic of brain activity would make you deduce it was just plain wrong. Oh, and actually, Microsoft didn’t say it either.

Before we move on with this little rant, which concludes with me being right and everyone else, mostly, being wrong (and proven so), you should read up on the facts yourself on Microsoft’s Hardware and software requirements for SharePoint 2013 Preview document. That document should have the title in the previous link and be dated no earlier than July 16 2012. If it has a title referring to SharePoint 2010 or is dated earlier than July 16, you’ll fall into the same trap the MVPs did.

Update: *sigh* There’s a link there. It you click it, you will see for yourself. In case that’s too much work, here’s a picture of it. I’ve even highlighted the text you should read. Now, stop the “I don’t believe him” and “This cannot be true” comments.

Ahem

To summarize the document, as it relates to the setup that most developers will use (a single machine, running SharePoint Server 2013 and SQL server on the same server) you need a minimum of 24 GB RAM (CPU and hard drive requirements seem to remain the same for now). That is before you add Visual Studio 2012 (or 2010 if you are so inclined), which would probably add a few extra gigs. Oh, and these are minimum requirements. Similar to the minimum requirements for SharePoint 2010, which was 4 GB before Visual Studio. In other words, SharePoint 2013 requires 6 times as much RAM.

Go ask your boss (which may or may not be your wife or husband) for a new laptop after all. Sorry to burst your bubble.

Note: Because this is my blog, and I’m not too shy to blow my own horn, I did actually warn people about this over a month ago over on TechNet, but because TechNet is now a political forum more than real help, my answer to the question on hardware requirements was the only one not accepted. Go figure.

So, back to what happened.

On the day of the release, the above document actually lead to an old version of the hardware requirements that was written for SharePoint 2010 and not for SharePoint 2013. Thus, it was perfectly natural that the requirements would be the same; it was simply an old document with a couple of name references updated.

Microsoft did actually update the document, but apparently due to either caching or DNS issues, only some people did see the updated document. The existing document still read “Hardware and software requirements (SharePoint Server 2010)” but that didn’t seem to bother those that needed to blurt out whatever they had as soon as possible.

Of course, not being able to hold back, a lot of MVPs then had an early verbal ejaculation and happily yelled out that “there are no hardware changes”.

Here’s what bothers me…

1. Over the previous months, I’ve been doing massive amount of research into SharePoint 2013, to a unison moaning sound from the MVPs that you cannot possibly trust my research because it’s just pure speculation. When these holier-than-thou people then get their chance to dispense “the truth”, look at what happens. Lesson: You need to do your research, not just repost whatever you read with no critical thinking. Yeah, that apparently is a lesson lost on those that so valiantly state that you can’t trust information that someone has researched, but instead that you should rely on what you find online.

2. The MVPs knew very well the massive changes that were coming. Did they really think that these changes would come at no cost? How incredibly naïve is that? how can they possibly not understand that when you put five times as much cargo into a vehicle, that it’s going to need a massive amount of more power? Lesson: When something sounds too good to be true, it may be true, but you should still do your research. Another lesson lost.

Note: Horn blowing again: I wrote a similar post back in 2009 for SharePoint 2010 and the unison voice then was “Bah, you’re just trying to scare people. You’ll never need as much as 4 Gb RAM to do SharePoint 2010 development. It’s overly excessive, you can work just fine with only a fraction of that RAM amount”. Strangely, the same voices now seem to say something to the effect of “Don’t worry, it’s overly excessive, you can work just fine with only a fraction of that RAM amount”.

3. How on earth can you not realize that the document is old and refers to SharePoint 2010 when it’s written in huge bold letters at the top? Lesson: Well, apparently not a lesson on reading. If you’re going to report something as fact, at least read the title of the documents, if you can’t be bothered to research or deduce the actual facts.

So, who should you trust? Nobody. Use your brain, read up on claims, verify the facts that matter to you. If something is qualified as speculation or rumors, treat it as such. If something sounds too good to be true, then research. Don’t trust me, don’t trust random web pages, and apparently, don’t trust many of the MVPs.

.b

PS: I’m leaving names out of this so that those that feel hit can comment without having to defend themselves. I realize many of them are simply naïve and think that all free information is right and valuable, which is a childish thing to believe, but I’m not going to hold it against them.

Update: I’m not trying to plant fear into developers here. Yes, you’ll most likely want 32 GB of RAM. However, RAM is cheap, and you can get 32 GB for around $200 if your laptop supports 4 DIMMS (and that much RAM). If not, a brand, spanking new laptop that does will only set you back around $2,000.

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Bjørn Furuknap

I previously did SharePoint. These days, I try new things to see where I can find the passion. If you have great ideas, cool projects, or is in general an awesome person, get in touch and we might find out together.

62 thoughts on “SharePoint 2013 System Requirements: The Real Story (And They’re Out Of This World)”

  1. I came across the crazy requirement this morning when going to install/download the software.

    Yes, it surprised me as much as it’s going to surprise/shock anyone else planning to run a dev environment off a laptop at a virtual environment host!

    I am having to install it onto 2008 R2 and use a windows 7 client because we only have esx 4 here.

    At least I can easily provision the minimum requirements though on the upside!

    Good “I told you so” post :)

  2. Bjørn,
    I’ll let you know what my experince is with the Preview release being installed today.

  3. Bjørn,

    Is the screenshot at the top of this post from video number 2 here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-US/sharepoint/fp123606?

    Because, if not, there it is used also. Strange also is that this particular slide has single server farm in its title, this while the slide just before it also says that in the title but shows an image of a three tier farm with the presenter saying that the requirements shows are the minimum per role …

    Even a single Azure XL image would not suffice for these requirement ;-)

  4. Damn! and i thought my personal machine with 16 gigs of RAM was the cats whiskers. Anyway,
    the post was just awesome. i love it.

    I will wait for your Journals before i do anything.

      1. It so pisses me off when every single blogger is trying to look cool and rush into filling the web with all mumbo-jumbo.

        Thank you Bjorn, always with great pleasure reading your articles!

  5. Currently running full blown SP2013 server without VS with 7 GB RAM – no issues – lets see :)

    1. I am running on a 8 GB VM without running VS.
      Configuration:
      1. Windows 2012 Server
      2. SQL Server 2012 with all the services (Database Service, Analysis service, Integration service, Reporting service etc) running
      3. SharePoint 2013 with all the service running

      As of now no issue. Lets see.

      1. How’s it going with that Set-up? I was doing fine, and now every page I try to click on shows “Something went wrong”. Is that the sign of not enough RAM? Why doesn’t it just TELL me there is not enough RAM?

        I tried reconfiguring many times and still nothing. And CA doesn’t work…I don’t know if ever has, I was excited to get my SharePoint started so CA wasn’t the first thing on my list of things to-do…

        1. A,

          RAM is a possible cause of your troubles, yes, but far from the only possible reason. Determining exactly what is causing the issue is difficult, though, because there are many moving parts.

          Why not increase your RAM and see if that fixes the issue? You’ll need to in any case, if for no other reason than because at best your system will be extremely sluggish and you’ll waste tons of time waiting for stuff to happen.

          .b

  6. As discussed briefly in Yammer #SPYam. I have been running 2013 since last september on multiple environments all the way down to 4Gb RAM and it works fine. I believe those requirements are for production kit. I’ve not seen any speed issues, if anything I’ve found that web apps come to life a lot quicker after IIS Reset than they did before ;-) Also page response times are a lot faster once the server is warmed up too.

      1. I’d say the difference is that the people who were just fine with 2gb were full of crap. Like I told you on twitter, 12gb works fine for me and I think you know that I am doing ‘real scenarios’.

        I love building a big developer rig and if I had a laptop with 32gb you can be sure you’d have seen me brag about it. :)

        My desktop has 24gb of RAM, but once again I only use 12gb of it for a single 2013 VM. It is a DC, has SQL Standard, SharePoint Server, VS 2013 and Office. Honestly, it works just fine.

        1. I really look forward to seeing more real-life data on this, but seriously, although we’re in shock now, I’m sure we’ll be perfectly OK about requiring 32 GB laptops before RTM is out.

          1. Hey, bit excessive spec’s I agree, going to cause me a problem at work where we have literally a hundred or so VMs running at any point for development, testing and client access. Having ran it for a while as a development environment, I can safely say for me no more than 16GB RAM has been fine that is a self contained VM, running AD, SQL 2012, SharePoint 2013 and Visual Studio 2012 with my extra developer tools and it has worked perfectly. I suppose everyone will need to develop in the cloud now :-)

            Quite funny really to think that even Windows Azure’s largest base VM only has 14GB RAM :-)

  7. Not sure why you call out MVPs as a group. While we know MVPs had early access, it’s strange you would go after MVPs. Sounds like they were blindsided by the difference between Ignite training and the TechNet article. I’d chalk it up to this is preview and thing change, and that’s something you can bank on!

    Let’s not be critical of things that changed between early beta and this public preview. Everyone is in the same boat of learning what works.

    24GB may actually be based on multiple images that isn’t clarified in TechNet. The UA TechNet folks need our help to help them update the documentation. There’s thousands of pages, and it’s perfectly fine to question what looks like is black and white.

    Question everything :)

    Joel

    1. Joel,

      Is it the same blindsidedness that lead them to six months of almost continuous harassment of my actual research too? It’s OK for them to make fun of me, but when I make fun of them (and, contrary to them, provide clear evidence they are wrong), you ride to their rescue?

      An really, you think they’ll reduce their latest estimates simply because a bunch of MVPs got it wrong and can’t admit they were wrong? Is the system really that corrupt?

      BTW, I’m not mocking the requirements. I’m quite OK with the requirements. It will be a perfectly sane requirement by the time any real work is done in any case. We got new laptops for SP2010, we’ll get new ones now.

      I am, however, mocking all the people who have been throwing shit my way since early February because I am, according to them, lying, cheating, and selling people information that is available elsewhere for free. That is NOT ok, and if they can’t take the heat for being proven wrong, then they should stay far away from any kitchen.

      BTW, most people know (and can read) that there is a certain group of MVPs that taint the reputation of the entire crowd. I explicitly stated I did not want to name names here, nor do I ever, but I’m seriously considering outing the backstabbing and below-the-belt crap these people churn out. I’m not sure that will help people understand the hardware requirements for SharePoint 2013, though, so I’ll leave that for a later post.

      .b

      1. In truth, those of us who write and speak on this have been saying for a while that 12-24GB of RAM was the preferred minimum for most SP2010 farm configurations.

        Can SP2013 run single server for a demo in 8GB? Yes. Is it recommended for good production performance? No way.

        I guess the way to look at it, if you scrimped on system requirements before, you really need to upgrade now.

        Not sure about any specific MVPs (Im not one) but most folks I know – regardless of MVP, NDA, partner status etc. — do their best to give accurate help to the community.

        1. Regarding your MVP comment, Chris, it’s more about the people who say “Look, let’s flog that guy who we claim is posting false information. Oh, and the moon is a big block of cheese”.

          As for performance, we’re in a lucky position, being the kids on the block who has real needs for the most powerful hardware that we can reasonably get :-)

          .b

  8. Yesterday we’ve installed SP2013 on W2012 RC + SQL 2008R2 all on a single VM. It runs smoothly on a i5, 8Gb laptop with 6Gb of RAM assigned to the VM. The VM is a VHD running on Hyper-V (not native boot) on that laptop. On a USB2 external disk. It runs well enough to use the site single-user.

      1. Foundation yesterday, and installing Server now. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

        But again it’s on an external USB. I fully expect Server + native boot on an internal SSD will run perfectly well for development purposes

          1. As Sahil just pointed Search is probably the biggest problem, it’s a hog for 2010 too. Has anyone tried with Search fully setup yet?

  9. Install on laptop SharePoint 2013 Preview Single Server on 1 virtual machine Hyper-V with 2 GB of memory (Windows Server 2012 with SQL Server 2012 Express without VS 2012)
    As a working, it’s OK – i’m able to live with it

  10. Hey Bjørn.

    Excellent post. SharePoint the new version can run on 8gb, but there is no way in hell that is a production worthy setup. The two biggest memory pigs are noderunner and distributed cache processes. The bigger pig of the two being node runner since distributed cache is actually quite smart.

    So, for a dev environment to run much nicer on less RAM, just disable anything related to search. Yes I know this is impractical for some scenarios – especially considering the much higher reliance on search. But it is the only way you can run SharePoint 2013 on lesser ram satisfactorily.

    That said, I run my dev on 12g. After a lot of experimentation, I’ve found this to be the right sweet spot.
    My computers have 24g and 32g total. I wouldn’t dream of running SharePoint server at anything less than 16g, though 24g seems a bit excessive. I wouldn’t be surprised if that technetium doc gets edited :).

    And technet forums being more political than actual help, is the #1 reason you don’t see me there. Sad but true.

    S

  11. I have the following specs for my dev machine:
    – working on a Windows 7 laptop Lenovo W510 with SSD drives and 16GB of RAM

    – I have VM Workstation 8.x installed and assigned 8GB to my new VM. VM is running on a ssd.
    – Build a new VM with Windows Server 2012 RC
    – Installed the roles AD, DNS, Application server, IIS server and all the bits and bytes and features with it.
    – Installed SQL Server 2012 RC, the complete package, so including Analysis and Reporting server all with their own service accounts
    – Installed SharePoint Server 2013 beta, the complete package and all the service application. I have UPS up and running, Search up and running, build 3 web applications with site content included. I have scripted installed 300 users in the AD, have the social stuff up and running
    – Installed Visual Studio 2012 RC Ultimate
    – Installed SharePoint Designer 2012 (yes yes yes I did it)

    After installing VS2012, the performance dropped. Before it was up and running and surprisingly fast. After doing an iisreset now and then, things get back to speed. I also noticed that IE 10 sometimes becomes silent, drops in performance. After closing down IE and starting a new session, things are back to normal. I haven’t done any real deployments yet with VS2012. I haven’t used any warm up scripts yet.

    My overal opinion is that I’m positively surprised with the performance. Remembering how SP2010 performed, the new SP2013 performs much better, faster, fluid. I do think when using VS2012 heavily, performance will drop down fast and more GB are needed. And I agree with what Bjorn is saying. RAM doesn’t cost much these days anymore. for a couple of hunderd euros you have 32GB’s extra. Except not all the laptop support this, so a new laptop will be needed :-)

    1. Leon,

      There’s a huge difference between Foundation and Server. Foundation requires minimum 8 GB so 6 GB might work. Hwoever, for server, I see more and more memory troubles from people running on anything lower than 8 GB.

      I set up an EC2 instance with 35 GB, and it’s a world of difference, both in productivity and in overall ‘feel’. Of course, you could save $100 on the extra 16 GB RAM you’ll need, and hope that you’re equally productive on a lower-end environment so that your saving isn’t affecting your productivity in any way.

      .b

  12. Excellent post and full of FACTFUL information.

    As a previous MVP I know that sometimes the rush to be the “first” to blog about new content can obscure the full facts.

  13. Great article.

    I have no issues with the new specs either but I do appreciated some tips on how to convince project managers to buy new laptops. ;-)

    1. Wouter,

      Laptops always have a limited life span. Consider how old your current one is and perhaps it’s time for a new one in any case? Companies write off equipment like that over one or three years, after which they no longer have any expense on them.

      Second, if your main task is to do SharePoint development, then you need the tools to do your job. If the PM won’t let you have that, then they’re effectively saying you shouldn’t have the tools required to do your job.

      Also consider the return on investment. If you’re a European or US consultant, chances are your rates billed to client is $200+. If your performance suffers by 10% from having inferior tools, then that is a direct cost to your employer in terms of lost productivity. For a $2,000 laptop, that loss would exceed the cost of a new laptop within a few weeks.

      So, I don’t really see any reason why you shouldn’t get a new laptop :-)

      .b

      1. Little sidetrack here…
        I don’t know what companies you get hired by but I’m pretty sure almost no SP consultant in the Netherlands get $200+ hourly rate…

  14. SP Server 2013, Win Server 2008 R2, SQL 2012 and AD on a single vm with 2 cores and 5gb. It works fine.

    1. And when I say “fine”. I mean fine to preview and mess around. If this was real work, I’d certainly find a few more cores and gb’s. I’d have no problem running dev on 4 cores and 8gb of memory.

      1. I was just about to ask you for a definition of fine :-) As I’ve already said, I’m seeing more and more people run into problems on 8 GB machines when they start to explore the various features.

  15. Did you ever think that might just be an error in the “Beta” documentation.
    If the “Pilot” mode only requires 12Gb then you only need to add the overhead for Visual Studio and as that is only a 32 bit app then another 4Gb would be all that is required, taking us to 16Gb.
    So 16 is the new 8 (in 2010, 8 was the new 4;-)

    1. Ian,

      It is definitely their intention to say 24 GB. The guy who wrote it confirmed on SPYam. There is also another document now that says 32 GB minimum for developer machines, so it’s not really that far off.

      The pilot requirements are for non-SQL and non-AD servers, so you’ll need to add overhead for that.

      Do you really think that the people who do this for a living 1) doesn’t know basic math and 2) wouldn’t have corrected it after all the commotion this article has created?

      .b

  16. So, assuming you’ll need a 32GB laptop with a SSD drive, what laptop would you guys recommend?

    My company has been using Dell laptops uptill now and I was fine with that, but Dell doesn’t seem to have a 17″ laptop with an SSD :(

  17. I wonder if the specs take SSD into account for devs or not. My experience is that you can go down on the physical ram with and SSD as swapping when/if it occurs won’t be that noticable. (http://techmikael.blogspot.se/2012/07/hardware-requirements-developing-for.html)

    If you happen to do search, read the nice numbers of hardware requirements for search dev ;)
    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj219628(office.15).aspx#HW_Enterprise

    If you read the table correctly is says 16gb for the index component (no dev/prod note), and 4gb for crawl and 4gb for analytics processing. That’s 24gb by itself. How this ties into the 24gb mentioned in the other technet article is no not known.

    I have personally ran search ok with 8gb in a VM with SSD giving it two cores. I agree with Sahil that 12gb seems like a sweet spot depending on how much ram you actually have. I have 16gb, and 12 is fine for one VM. If I want to run two, then 8+4 will be my setup, leaving 4 for the native OS.

  18. I got the installation done with the below mentioned configurations:

    1] Windows 2008 Server R2 with Service Pack 1
    2] SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition
    3] RAM 4 GB
    4] C drive hard disk capacity of 60 GB (sharepoint installed here) and D drive capacity 80 GB (SQL server configure here)

    As of now its working fine but might be the chances that performance may degrade with this configuration going futher.

  19. I have recently set up an evaluation environment – single virtual machine with 12 gig ram, server 2008 r2 sp1 + sql 2008 r2 sp1 + sharepoint 2013 preview

  20. Good Post. Just reiterates what a lot of us are feeling. MVP this, MVP that. Young fellas looking for the title…old fellas doing what they must. Tried to install Sharepoint 2013 Server on Windows Server 2012 with SQL Server 2013. Prerequisite installation issues…keeps complaining about .NET 4.5 not being installed. Pain in the arse. I could swear I had the same issue with Sharepoint 2010 and had to clear down prerequisites…
    Still think this is the last on-premise release of Sharepoint. Bring on the Prophet of Doom….a world where everything is in the cloud and all us consultants are out of work as the only way we can get development access is by being a Microsoft Partner. If you’re not a partner you have to purchase development time by MS or their 3rd Parties to develop web parts……

  21. I built two VMware virtual machines using 2 GB of RAM for Active Directory (plus Office 2013 soon) and 10 GB of RAM for SharePoint 2013 Enterprise with SQL Server 2012 Developer and Visual Studio 2012. On my 16 GB laptop that leaves 4 GB for Windows 7 (the host OS). So far it seems promissing, but I haven’t configured all the SharePoint services yet. More details blogged here: http://bit.ly/devsp2013

  22. I have it running on vmware on a IBM blade center. Yes, it seems to be slow. I bumped up memory to 8 gig slow, 16 gig slow but better, now on 24 gig and seems ok but I still think slow in my mind.

  23. In my dev environment I’m running :
    – Windows Server 2008 R2
    – AD
    – SQL SErver 2008 R2
    – SharePoint 2013
    – Visual Studio 2012
    All this stuff on a VM (5Gb RAM) on my laptop, and it’s as slow as grandma trying to do breakdance x-(

  24. For those of you having issues running SP2013 with 16GB or more of RAM, I would suggest that you look into SQL Server optimization techniques. I think you’ll find that your machines with this version run much better. You won’t likely get great performance with less than 20GB, but you will get many improvements. I would suggest that you view the SQL Server Tuning videos on MicrosoftVirtualAcademy.com if your not familiar with SQL and the how to increase your performance with SharePoint. Good Luck!

  25. No new news here… This under statement of resource requirements from Microsoft has been going on since at least 1991 (that I can remember)… IIts not just Microsoft either… Does anyone really think a company will admit the true cost of ownership of any of their products?

    The heuristic for me, and many of my employers/associates, has always been that any new version of anything takes at least 60% more resources….

    Yes you can get away with less resources in almost any field of endeavor. But why would you want to? Or better yet, would you want to Doctor, your plumber or house painter to follow the same principle?

    I suspect not…

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