I have server with 32GB. Currently it's windows server 2012 R2

It serves as fileserver. 4 Hard Drives with 1 SSD configured with storage pool with hot spare.

To simplify the question, i just want to use the 32GB to serve as cache, to improve the read / write operation. I don't see storage pool / virtual disk has menu to leverage 32GB RAM as cache.

It does not have to be windows server. I am open minded to use linux, freenas.

Any idea ? thanks.

  • 32GB these days is not huge RAM, especially for a server. – Damon Feb 9 '18 at 14:34
  • Windows Server 2012 is supposed to cache frequently-used files with SuperFetch, but with a few minutes' research, it's not clear if it is used for shared files. If you have a small (>16 GB) amount of files you'd like to share very fast, you could set up a RAM disk. I'm not putting that in as an answer, because there are serious drawbacks (files disappear on poweroff, requires hourly backups to disk, requires thinking about which files to have on the fast share, and there's not much improvement in transfer speed if your network is a bottleneck). – Christopher Hostage Feb 9 '18 at 14:40

You could dedicate some of the ram as a ram disk and do some testing and see if it’s worth it. If you make your RAM disk too large, you may prevent Windows from improving the loading times with caching data on your unused RAM. Also you may induce pagefile swapping, severely slowing things down.

If your wanting to rebuild the server I would add a 2nd SSD drive for redudancy and configure the 2 SSD as one volume and use this for your high I/O needs. Then move the cache to the magnetic volumes. After that if you still need more performance you can explore inserting a ram disk into the equation.

  • how do i know which one i should put in RAM disk ? .... from functional point of view, i can pick and choose some files ... but i hope there are some kind of "cache-manager" that automates the things for me, aka technical approach... i understood what cache picks and what function wise useful will be different... – Hongkie Feb 9 '18 at 16:12
  • You use a 3rd party tool or, windows might have something internally as this article suggests. Should point you in the right direction. Bottom line though, if this is a produciton server and you are not getting any complaints on performance you might just elect to leave the disk configuration alone for now and optimize the server in other non-evasive ways. Either way this link should help point you in the right direction. blogs.technet.microsoft.com/windowsinternals/2017/08/25/… – Marcus Patman Feb 9 '18 at 17:59
  • Remember to 'back up' the contents of the RAM disk to regular disk occasionally. – Christopher Hostage Feb 9 '18 at 18:09
  • Thank you. I will try to figure out how to auto-sync some files in the ram disk. – Hongkie Feb 10 '18 at 14:09

Specifically, to your requirement, I can suggest third-party software like Super Cache Express or Starwind VSAN which will give you a chance to create a virtual drive with RAM cache or/and RAM device on your server.

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