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Are you a memory add-ministrator?

The trend toward more memory-packed VMs is now affecting hardware.

The amount of RAM installed on new servers is going through the roof, according to the preliminary results of SearchDataCenter.com’s “Data Center Decisions 2011 Purchasing Intentions Survey.” This year, 42% of respondents said their typical new server will have at least 64 GB of RAM — up from just 21% in 2010. And the percentage of respondents who said they’ll use servers with at least 128 GB also doubled, from 11% to 22%.

This data jibes with our own “Virtualization Decisions 2010 Purchasing Intentions Survey.” Those results showed that admins most commonly assigned 1.5-2 GB of memory to VMs in 2010 — up from a range of 500 MB to 1 GB in 2009. In addition, 42% of respondents said they assigned more than 2 GB of memory. (We’ll conduct the 2011 version of our survey later this quarter.)

Assigning more memory to VMs is great (if it’s needed, of course). It lets you virtualize more resource-intensive, mission-critical applications, furthering the cause of virtualization in your data center. But if you do it on memory-constrained servers, it can hurt your consolidation ratio.

Server consolidation doesn’t get as much of the virtualization spotlight as it used to. Organizations have moved on to more glamorous benefits of server virtualization, such as disaster recovery, high availability and of course, cloud computing.

But this data shows that server consolidation is still top of mind for most organizations. Sure, they want more powerful VMs, but they want to pack the same number of these VMs into a physical box as they used to. And servers with more memory are the solution.

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