Windows Server 2008R2 introduced the notion of Hyper-V Dynamic Memory and added a registry entry to (HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\MemoryReserve) to make sure that you did not oversubscribe the RAM, leaving the host operating system short. That allowed you to easily add up the amount of RAM your host need to run and support its VMs.

How Much Memory Does A Hyper-V Host Use For Itself?

Then Server 2012 changed the math because it Microsoft improved its calculations and said to stop playing with that registry entry:

Hyper-V running on Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 automatically calculates an amount of memory to reserve for exclusive use by the management host operating system. This memory is used to run virtualization services. If the computer is part of a failover cluster, Hyper-V also reserves enough memory to run failover cluster services. In previous versions of Hyper-V you might have needed to modify the MemoryReserve registry setting to ensure adequate memory for these functions. This is no longer necessary for Hyper-V running on Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2.

Hyper-V Dynamic Memory Overview | Microsoft Learn

Microsoft provide this table for guidance as to how much the Host OS would keep for itself:

Physical Memory in Host Server“Host Reserve”
8-32 GB2-2.5 GB
64-128 GB4 GB
256 GB 6 GB
512 GB 10 GB
1 TB18 GB
2 TB34 GB
4 TB66 GB

How Much Memory Does a Hyper-V Host Need?

Between having to guess how much RAM the host really needs and how much memory the Dynamic RAM algorithms are assigning, you really have a hard time calculating how much memory you need.

SOLVED: How To Calculate How Much Memory A HyperV Host Requires

Task Manager does not provide an accurate indication of how much RAM is being used by the host OS, so you have to use Performance Monitor and look at > Hyper-V Dynamic Memory Balancer\Available Memory Instance = System Balancer

The bottom line is you are going to have to guess how much RAM to buy for your Hyper-V host servers. You should know in advance that you are going to calculate the wrong total because Hyper-V does a great job of Dynamic Memory management and as demand increases so will the Dynamic Memory usage. If your company:

  • hires an extra 20 users causing increased demand or
  • adds a new app that spikes its RAM needs from time to time (i.e. Sage Accounting), or
  • closes a division, office or department
  • adds a new virtual machine because they have new apps or merged with a another company

the memory assigned to a given virtual machine IS going to change… and that is a good thing.

How To Buy a Server to Use as a Hyper-V Host?

In the end the best you can hope for it to do the basic cacluations, like:

#UsageAverage Requirement
HostHost Server with 256 GB6 GB
VM1Accounting48 GB Static
VM2Application Server4 GB Dynamic
VM3Application Server6 GB Dynamic
VM4Application Server16 GB Dynamic
VM5File & Print Server4 GB Dynamic
VM6Domain Controller4 GB Dynamic
VM7File Server2 GB Dynamic
VM8SQL Server32 GB Static
VM9Admin Utilities Server16 GB Static

In this case you have bought too much RAM… but that is for today. Tomorrow something will change and you will need more so that 256GB is not a waste.

We also always recommend buying host server that still have unused memory slots, because that 256GB just might not cut it if your company buys another company, which adds 10 more VM’s to your host.


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