Recently I have added more memory to my VM which has SQL Server installed (now it has 32 GB).

I have set the limit in SQL to 24 GB.

A few days later I see in my process window that the SQL Server process is using 26 GB.

Why is the limit overridden? Will this process increase even more?

  • 1
    How are you seeing more RAM usage .. using windows task manager ?
    – Kin Shah
    Jun 6, 2016 at 15:06
  • 3
    Max server memory only controls certain parts of SQL Server memory, not everything (this article explains how this got better in SQL Server 2012) - if you want to leave 8 GB for the OS, you'll have to experiment, but I would start with setting 22 GB instead of 24 GB for max server memory. Also, as Kin commented, don't ever use Task Manager to see how much memory SQL Server is using; it's almost always wrong. Jun 6, 2016 at 15:10

1 Answer 1


To contribute a little more to this, there is a post on dba.stackexchange.com that explains this situation a little more: SQL Server Max Memory not limiting use of RAM.

Also, in the answers on that question, Mark Storey-Smith recommends reading Brent Ozar's article "A Sysadmin's Guide to Microsoft SQL Server Memory" to further one's understanding on how Microsoft SQL Server handles memory. I second that recommendation.

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