Basics of SQL Server Memory Architecture

sql server architecture


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1. 32-Bit SQL Server memory architecture

In the Win32 memory architecture, each process has a 4 GB virtual address space. By default, 2 GB of that address space is accessible from user mode(Application like SQL Server) and the remaining 2 GB is accessible from kernel mode

So in 32 Bit windows architecture 2 GB of memory is maximum available for SQL Server.

Note: When /3GB switch is enabled user mode address space becomes 3GB and kernel mode becomes 1 GB. When 32-Bit SQL Server is running on 64-Bit windows (WOW64) It gets 4GB of user address space .It can also leverage AWE on WOW64 mode and can use more than 4GB.


SQL Server "User address space" is broken into two regions: MemToLeave and Buffer Pool

Size of MemToLeave (MTL) and Buffer Pool (BPool) is determined by SQL Server during start

up as below.

MTL (Memory to Leave)= (Stack size * max worker threads) + Additional space (By default 256 MB and can be controlled by -g).

Stack size =512 KB per thread for 32 Bit SQL Server

I.e = (256 *512 KB) + 256MB =384MB

Additional space to load Dll’s= 256 MB from SQLServer2000. This space is used to store

1. COM objects

2. Extended stored procedure

3. Memory allocated by linked servers (loaded in process ) or other Dll’s loaded  in SQL Server proce

4. Memory allocated by SQL Server memory manger if the allocation size in greater than 8K and need’s contiguous memory (Multiple_pages_kb).


Note: Additional space to load Dll’s can be modified using -g startup parameter.

on any machine with less than 4 processors the Maximum worker Thread’s is

always 256 by default (unless we change the value using SP_configure)



SQL Server Buffer Pool is minimum of “Physical RAM “ or “user mode memory(2GB or 3GB) – MTL-  BUF structures”

BPool = Minimum (Physical memory, User address space – MTL) – BUF structures

Category: Architecture

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