SharePoint 2013: A look at hardware, software and other requirements

Tags: SharePoint 2013, AppFabric, SQL Server

SharePoint 2013As usual a new version of a product has new requirements of all different kinds; especially when it comes to resource usage. With SharePoint 2013 there is no difference. The Hardware and Software requirements for SharePoint 2013 Preview is published and I thought I should walk through the new and updated requirements and compare them with SharePoint 2010. And also talk about some other key changes that you need to be aware of when planning your SharePoint 2013 installations.

Note: this is written for the SharePoint 2013 Preview and stuff will/can be changed for RTM.

Server Roles

Let's start with some key changes in the physical topology for SharePoint 2013. In SharePoint 2010 we basically had three different server roles; Web Servers, App Servers and SQL Servers. These roles are still valid for SharePoint 2013 but we also have two new roles; Office Web Apps Servers and Workflow Servers. Some roles can be combined and some cannot - for instance it is not supported to run any other role or application on servers that has Office Web Apps installed.

Update 2012-07-21: A clarification on Office Web Apps Server. You cannot install Office Web Apps Server on a SharePoint 2013 Server Preview. This is currently a hard block.

Of course we can still split out specific service applications on dedicated servers; for instance we can use specific search servers or cache servers, but I categorize these into the App Servers role.

Software Requirements

Let's start with the Software requirements. Software requirements are the minimum stuff you need on your (virtualized) metal before installing SharePoint 2013 or Office Web Apps. I'm not going to go through all the details - since they are well documented in the official documentation. Instead let's focus on some key things.

Operating Systems

SharePoint 2013 only supports two operating systems; Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2012, 64-bit editions of course. There is no support for client OS such as Windows 7 any longer.

For a Office Web Apps Server it looks like Service Pack 1 for 2008 R2 is not needed, but I strongly suggest that you install that anyways.

Database Servers

In SharePoint 2013 the support for SQL Server 2005 has been dropped and you need to use SQL Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 or higher (which includes SQL Server 2012).

.NET Framework

For SharePoint 2013 Web and App servers you need Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5 (RC) installed and for Office Web Apps Servers you need .NET Framework 4.0. If you have dedicated Workflow servers you can use 4.5 (RC) or 4.0 PU3.

Windows Server AppFabric

One new addition to the pre-requisites of SharePoint 2013 is the usage of Windows Server AppFabric, which is a requirement (you actually need to bump it to version 1.1). The AppFabric component is used for the Distributed Cache service (aka Velocity) which is used for the "Social stuff" and token caching.

Distributed Cache

Windows Azure Workflow Server specifics

The servers hosting the Windows Azure Workflow server (WAW) has some specific requirements. The SQL Server must have Names Pipes and TCP/IP enabled and you must have the Windows Firewall enabled. Note that Windows Azure Workflow is an optional component of SharePoint 2013

Other required software and things to note

You also need a set of hotfixes, WCF Data Services, WIF 1.0+1.1. By using the pre-requisite installer you get these things configured for you automagically. The pre-req installer downloads them for you but if you would like to automate your installations you can pre download them using Paul Storks excellent PowerShell scripts.

If you're leveraging the Exchange 2013 and SharePoint 2013 integration features, you need to install the Exchange Web Services Managed API, version 1.2, on your SharePoint boxes.

Hardware Requirements

So let's take a look at the hardware requirements, which has been stirring up the community to really weird proportions the last few days. Your hardware requirements really depends on how you intend to use SharePoint 2013, which Service Applications, which customizations etc etc, so you need to take this with a pinch of salt. For development purposes you can adjust these values as it fits you and your projects, but consider the "minimum values" below as something to start with. I'm going to add my personal "minimum values" to this discussion.

Processors

VMWare Processor configurationThe specified minimum requirements for the processor is 4 cores (64-bit of course). I've been setting up 2-core machines on my laptop and it has been working fine. But if you're doing development with Visual Studio you likely need a few more. For Production you of course add at least follow the "minimum requirements".

For Database servers the recommendation is 4 cores for smaller deployments and at least 8 for medium and large deployments.

Memory, RAM

This one really hit the fan, when the requirements was published. And the reason for that is that the Requirements document states that you need 24 Gb of RAM for Server development on a single box. In my opinion it's far more than you need for average development, unless you're firing up all service applications, or using Search or Social features heavily. Having 24GB snapshots, will drain your disk space quite fast :).

For my development boxes with SQL Server 2012 and Visual Studio 2012 installed I've so far found that the sweet spot is somewhere between 6 and 8 GB which is a good trade-off for laptop disk space and performance, but your mileage may vary.

For production the minimum recommended RAM is 12GB, basically what I recommended for 2010.

If we take a look at the SQL side you should have at least 8GB RAM for smaller deployments and 16GB RAM for medium ones. In production I would seriously consider bumping that to at least 64GB.

Browser Support

When the guessing game of SharePoint 15 features was in full motion a lot of people expected native HTML5 support for SharePoint vNext. Thankfully that did not happen and the Browser support is therefore basically the same as for SharePoint 2010; no Internet Explorer 6, use 32-bit IE's, support for latest versions of Chrome, Safari and Firefox.

Summary

This was a quick walkthrough of the hardware and software requirements for SharePoint 2013 Preview. A few new requirements and increased hardware resources compared to SharePoint 2010. But this is all about planning - you cannot just take the requirement and apply that onto your SharePoint 2013 farm, you need to evaluate your farm design and test it. Over the next few months I expect to see some great design samples including metrics from MSIT and of course gain experience from the 2013 engagements starting now...

6 Comments

  • Mikko Koskinen said

    "instance it is not supported to run any other role or application on servers that has Office Web Apps installed."

    I understand this in production but how about development environment? Is it possible to even install Office Web Apps in same box than other SharePoint components?

  • Wictor said

    @Mikko: I updated the post to be more specific on that issue. It is a hard block on the WAC Server, so you cannot install it on the same box as SP.

  • Wictor said

    @Martin - 6-8 GB of RAM works for an all-up box (except WAC and WF) if you're doing simple dev. But for search, social you need more.
    Actually now I'm running a 12GB all-up box for my dev/demo 2013 environment (DC on separate box and WAC on a separate 4GB box).
    /WW

  • Faiza said

    Great Article and well described. What's your take on having Search on a seperate server? Also if you can talk about Indexing and how it works at a server level would help. Thanks in advance.

Comments have been disabled for this content.

About Wictor...

Wictor Wilén is a Director and SharePoint Architect working at Connecta AB. Wictor has achieved the Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) - SharePoint 2010, Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM) - SharePoint  and Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) - SharePoint 2010 certifications. He has also been awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for four consecutive years.

And a word from our sponsors...

SharePoint 2010 Web Parts in Action