Sizing and Capacity Planning for SharePoint 2013 – Resources

v4:9-May-13, v3:15-Apr-13, v2: 9-Apr-13, v1: 6-Apr-13

SharePoint 2013 has been out for some time now, and most of new the SharePoint projects are happening on SharePoint 2013. However, when it comes to sizing and capacity planning, there isn't enough information available on TechNet (at the time of writing). Though, for the Search workload, there is very detailed information available, but when it comes to other workloads, you'd need to look into many different places where information is available in bits and pieces. In this post, I've consolidated sizing information from all resources that I could find. I've tried to categorize it based on servers/resource type. Also, in the 'Guidance' column I've provided key sizing related information in that resource. However, I strongly recommend you to go to the particular resource to get complete context of that guidance.

NOTE: Microsoft is going to publish a lot more information based on its performance testing. I'd try to keep this post updated. At the same time, I recommend, you always look for the latest published information from this TechNet section: Capacity management and sizing for SharePoint Server 2013. Also, I have classified resources into two categories: one, Guidance along with performance test results and recommendations; Other, all other resources.

NOTE on Formatting: Because of table formatting issues, I couldn't put all columns here. You can download the excel file from the bottom of this post.







Web Servers

and DB Servers

  • Server Specs: With 4 cores, 12 GB RAM web servers (virtual) and 1 16 core DB, 32 GB RAM
  • RPS/server - you can expect more than 40 RPS per server for green zone and more than 70 RPS for red zone
  • 1 DB server was able to scale upto 10 web servers

Estimate performance and capacity requirements for enterprise intranet collaboration environments (SharePoint Server 2013)

There are many more details in the article. Also it provides comparison of performance of 2010 vs. 2013


Interestingly, there wasn't any application server in this farm, so there isn't any guidance on that


  • Provides results for two types of sites: sites using new features: cross-site publishing along with Content Search web part and managed navigation, sites using classical feature: author-in publishing, content query web part and structured navigation.
  • Cross site publishing: Server specs - 16 cores, 24 GB RAM (physical), topology - 3 WFE+Query,1 Crawler, 1 App, 1 DB,
  • Cross site publishing results – 78 page views/sec (with 3 WFEs)
  • Author-in-place publishing results – 57 page views/sec (1 WFE)

Estimate capacity and performance for Web Content Management (SharePoint Server 2013)

There are very important findings and useful guidance in the article that you must go through


Servers (MMS)

  • As it's difficult to translate end user requests to MMS requests, the results provided here are with respect to MMS server response time and VSTS tests completed. Roughly, you can assume number of tests completed same as requests hitting MMS for sizing your MMS servers.

Estimate capacity and performance for Managed Metadata Service (SharePoint Server 2013)


Web Server

  • 1 server (VM, 4 cores, 12 GB RAM) was able to provide acceptable streaming experience up to 400 concurrent users.
  • Dataset was about 350 videos, size range 1 MB – 1 GB (total 14 GB)
  • Video stored in SharePoint content db with BLOB cache enabled

Estimate capacity and performance for video content management in SharePoint Server 2013


Query Servers

  • Doesn't provide detailed tests, but provides information on how compliance, and eDiscovery can effect capacity and performance in SharePoint Server 2013
  • eDiscovery queries can increase query latencies that users observe by as much as 100 percent. If you run close to capacity for your user search queries, you might consider running eDiscovery queries and exports during non-peak hours to have a smaller effect on user search queries

Estimate capacity and performance for compliance and eDiscovery for SharePoint Server 2013









All Servers

Minimum hardware specification for each type of server

Hardware and software requirements for SharePoint 2013

Provides minimum guidance, but this minimum should NOT be considered as recommended. For which, you need to refer to other resources

Web Servers

A Web server typically supports 10,000-20,000 users.
For 90,000 users this architecture starts with six Web servers to serve user requests and leaves room for additional Web servers, if needed.

Two-three Web servers that are dedicated for search crawling is a good starting point, depending on rates of change and freshness requirements.

Enterprise-scale farms for SharePoint Server 2013

Use this guidance just a thumb rule, as no supporting test data has been provided here

All Servers

It doesn't provide any specific guidance on number or specifications of server. It provides the following two things:
1. Recommended Topologies based on number of users: < 100, <1000, <10,000, > 10,000
2. Reference Topology for Microsoft Office Division farm that had following workload and dataset:

15,000 users
2,500 unique users per hour
1.7 million requests per day
1.3 Terabytes total data

Streamlined topologies for SharePoint Server 2013

Most of this guidance is from SharePoint Conference session "SPC192 - SharePoint 2013 Performance and Capacity Management"

All Servers

Generic guidance on how to scale farms as covered in the Streamlined topologies visio

SPC192 - SharePoint 2013 Performance and Capacity Management

If you don't have access to the session recording, refer to streamlined topologies visio, as most of information covered in this session is available there

All Servers

As in Streamlined topologies, this diagram also provides generic guidance, and also provide some statements about specific numbers as provided below:

1. The number of users will affect the requirement for web servers. Factor 10,000 users per web server as a starting point. Adjust the number based on how heavily the servers are utilized. Heavy use of client services will increase the load on web servers.
2. Start with two application servers dedicated to the query processing component and index partitions and place all other service application components on a separate application server. Based on utilization, consider either adding all-purpose application servers that are configured similarly, or adding application servers to dedicate resources to specific service applications.
3. The query role can be combined with the Web server role on a server only if there are enough resources. Running both of these roles on a single virtual machine requires a 6-8-core VM and a physical host that runs Windows Server 2012. A 4-core VM does not provide enough resources for both the query processing component and the Web server role.
4. A detailed table for number of servers for each search component, based on number of items. this is covered in more detail in Enterprise Search diagram.

Traditional topologies for SharePoint 2013

Along with sizing, this diagram is a good reference for topology design principles explained with example topologies.


Cache Servers

The diagram does not provide any information on number of Cache servers, but provides the following information about the memory of cache server e.g.

The memory allocation for the cache size must be between 8GB and 16GB, and the memory allocation of the cache size must be less than or equal to 40% of the total memory on the server.

Plan and use the Distributed Cache service in SharePoint Server 2013



Cache Servers

This provides little more details about minimum number of cache host servers based on number of total users. Also there's recommendation, upto 10,000 users, you can go with co-located DC servers, beyond that you should go with dedicated server (minimum number 1)

Plan for feeds and the Distributed Cache service in SharePoint Server 2013


Search Servers

The Search has very detailed description on sizing, which covers lot of things for different number of items (10m, 40m, 100m) such as: RAM, DISK, CPU, Number of Servers.

Enterprise search architectures for SharePoint Server 2013

This diagram covers Search from Intranet perspective. The internet search is different and covered in the other diagram


It does not provide per role or per component guidance, but provides one topology with predefined performance:

A medium Internet sites (FIS) topology is optimized for a corpus size of 3,400,000 items, processing approximately 100-200 documents per second, depending on language, and a usage pattern of 85 page views per second, which corresponds to 100 queries per second.

Internet sites search architectures for SharePoint Server 2013

In the associated document ( its recommended to use physical servers:

We recommend that you deploy search topologies for Internet sites on physical hardware.

Search Servers

The article covers the details provided in two search visio diagrams

Scale search for performance and availability in SharePoint Server 2013


Provides very detailed information on each search components, which isn't available in the two visios. It also includes important information on IOPS requirements for search

Capacity Planning, Sizing and High Availability for Search in SharePoint 2013

This information is taken from SharePoint Conference 2012 session - SPC172 (Barry Waldbaum and Olaf Birkeland)

Search Servers

Most detailed information on every aspect of sizing for enterprise scenarios

SPC 172 - Capacity Planning, Sizing and High Availability for Search in SharePoint 2013

If you don't have access to the session recording, refer to the TechNet Wiki and enterprise search vision, as most of information covered in this session is available there


Manager Server

Minimum three servers are required to provide high availability for Workflow Manager

Configuring a Highly Available Workflow in Workflow Manager 1.0

It's because it depends on Windows Server Service Bus, which requires three servers for HA


For SharePoint 2013 virtual environments, dynamic memory is NOT supported:

We do not support this option for virtual machines that run in a SharePoint 2013 environment. The reason is that this implementation of dynamic memory does not work with every SharePoint feature. For example, Distributed Cache and Search do not resize their caches when the allocated memory for a virtual machine is dynamically changed. This can cause performance degradation, especially when assigned memory is reduced.

Use best practice configurations for the SharePoint 2013 virtual machines and Hyper-V environment


Office Web

Apps Server

Based on our performance tests, an Office Web Apps Server, togetherwith two Intel Xeon processors (8 cores), 8 GB of RAM, and a 60 GB hard disk, should support up to 10,000 users where most of the usage is viewing. A server that has a 16 core CPU and 16 GB of Ram should support up to 20,000 users. These results will vary, depending on usage patterns and other factors such as network hardware.

Plan Office Web Apps Server



Excel file for view and download:

Comments (2)
  1. Kannan says:

    Do you have any guidance around calculating the storage capacity for Index partition?

  2. John says:

    Thank you for this article.  Are there updates since 2013?  

Comments are closed.

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