Service Console Memory for ESX 3.x

I’ve been asked this question a lot lately, “How much memory should we assign to the service console?”  My default answer is always 800Mb.  I have a number of reasons why I would recommend this, but the short answer is “Why not?”  What do you really have to loose by assigning the service console 800Mb?  The answer is nothing, but you do have a lot to gain.  Even if you are not running any agents there are benefits to this.  One thing most people dont’ realize is even if you don’t install any third party agents at the service console you are still running agents.  There is the vpxa agent that allows you to communicate with vCenter, and there is the HA agent if you are running VMware HA, and if you have more than 4Gb of memory installed VMware recommends increasing the RAM to 512Mb.

Considering all this and that most systems today have 16Gb of memory or a lot more I just don’t understand why anyone would leave the service console at 272mb.  When deploying a new server always create a swap partition of 1600Mb which is double the maximum amount of service console memory.  This will at least allow you to increase the service console memory later without having to re-deploy your host.   Having an easy option when you call tech support with a problem and they tell you to increase the memory to 800Mb is always a great idea.  I’ve seen a large number of users having HA issues that have called tech support and the first thing they are told is to increase the SC memory to 800Mb.  So before you deploy your next ESX server take the Service Console memory into consideration, and at least create the 1600Mb SWAP partition so you can easily bump the memory up to the max of 800Mb.

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