Yeah, You’re Gonna Need More RAM to do that

RAM in Cloud Servers

With our current special to nearly double the RAM included with our standard nodes (and newly created RAM nodes) we decided to talk a little more about RAM. This post is two of three posts dedicated to our friend in the cloud; RAM.

Opting for a cloud server is becoming an increasingly attractive choice, allowing scalable expansion while keeping down costs. Choosing a Linux-based cloud server makes sense, given the open-source operating system’s reputation for security and the availability of a vast and growing range of open-source applications that are Linux-native.

Although cloud server resources, including memory, are scalable, it’s important to monitor RAM use. Depending on your specific hosting package, using too much RAM may mean that processes stop working or that you face extra payments for exceeding your allocation.

Here are five applications and services that can use more RAM than you might expect.

  1. Apache
  2. This respected open-source web server implementation is at the heart of a virtual private server. It’s rich, fully featured, open source and free to use. If not correctly configured, however, Apache can itself be one of the most memory-hungry applications. If you first assess Apache’s RAM needs and then configure the StartServers directive and MinSpareServers accordingly, you will optimize your Apache installation’s RAM use.

  3. TomCat
  4. TomCat is a widely used open source web server and Java servlet container that was developed for use with Apache. As it tends to use a great deal of memory, it’s not an especially popular for cloud server use but can be tamed with the right understanding.

  5. PHP
  6. PHP gives your cloud server the ability to serve dynamic content such as interactive weblogs, forums and so on. To make use of PHP your Apache installation requires a PHP client (such as PHP-FPM or PHP Stomp Client) to be installed and active. While PHP is very useful, it’s extremely important that you configure your client correctly as it can quickly consume memory resources.

    Care must also be taken to properly configure applications that rely on PHP. WordPress, for example can consume more RAM than necessary when badly configured, as can its associated plugins.

  7. MySQL
  8. Perhaps one of the best-known database packages, MySQL is based on PHP. Care must be taken when setting up MySQL as it can be very memory intensive, especially if a lot of users are accessing the database at once. In particular, it can be helpful to modify the “post_max_size” line so that the maximum size of any post is kept to 2MB, rather than leaving it at the default 8MB.

  9. Gaming Applications
  10. Many of today’s resource intensive gaming applications begin life on the cloud, as designers take advantage of the rapid scalability of virtual private servers. Such applications, however, can be extremely demandin, a situation that can grow exponentially worse as more and more users join. Besides needing RAM to deliver graphics, audio and features such as chat, gaming applications generally involve large amounts of user data that must be processed and stored. This kind of data activity inevitably consumes excessive resources, including RAM.

Other Culprits

It’s very easy for today’s businesses to find themselves trying to cope with large amounts of poorly structured or unstructured data. This may be in the form of very large databases; often, however, this “big data” is spread across unstructured storage platforms. This type of data is especially hard to manage effectively. It has no overarching purpose and is typically made up of many different kinds of information, making organization all but impossible. With no single mode of access, it can be very difficult to use this data effectively. Both storage space and RAM are wasted in storing and retrieving “big data.”


Monitoring the amount of RAM being used can help minimize memory errors or unexpected charges. Additionally, analyzing RAM use can help to identify the most memory-intensive applications.  

And, when all else fails simply upgrade your RAM through your cloud dashboard… we have recently made it easy to add an independent RAM node to get a 512MB bump for just $7.50.

There is virtually no limit to the amount of RAM available on a Cloud Linux platform and is considered the fastest, easiest, and cheapest way to get more performance out of your server.

Key Takeaways

  • Configure Apache properly
  • Only run apps or services you use
  • Monitor RAM use
  • If you have large amounts of unstructured data, consider implementing a big data solution such as Hadoop.
  • When all else fails simply upgrade to more RAM. It’s fast, cheap and effective with relatively no limit.

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