In SharePoint 2013 Ignite training Kirk Evans talked about the hardware requirements of SharePoint 2013 development environment. You need at least two virtual machines. The recommended or best case scenario is running these VMs on a SLAT supported CPU and at least 32 GB RAM. Actually SLAT is required for Hyper-V visualization. Most of the new CPUs support this technology. If you don’t know whether your CPU supports SLAT or not, check this site. Hyper-V: List of SLAT-Capable CPUs for Hosts (en-US). There is a utility called coreinfo which you can use to check your CPU. You can also find a list of supported CPUs in that TechNet page.
Now let’s go back to the VMs. One of the required VMs is for domain controller. Kirk mentioned that DC machine doesn’t require too much memory and at most cases 512KB should be enough. But it’s recommended to give 1 or 2 gb memory. The other virtual machine is the main VM to develop SP2013 apps. It has Windows Server 2012, SQL Server 2012, SP2013, Office, Visual Studio 2012, SharePoint Designer 2013 and the other required utilities. This machine needs a mass of memory power. So give it at least 24 gigs. The reason of this amount is because of the new service in SharePoint Server 2013 called the Distributed Cache service.
Reeza Ali’s blog on the distributed cache service in SharePoint 2013 gives a perfect overview on this new service.
The Distributed Cache service provides caching functionality to features (not to be confused with site features) in SharePoint Server 2013. The Distributed Cache service is either required by or improves performance of the following features:
- OneNote client access
- Security Trimming
- Page load performance
However it’s possible to develop SharePoint with a computer which has 8 or 16 GB memory, don’t forget that it’s not recommended. In case of a high memory consumption, some token can be flushed from the memory and you can experience some problems. In production environment it’s not required to use a dedicated Distributed Cacher server. But it’s a good practice to plan a dedicated server for Distributed Cache in your deployment plans.
Update: I found the best practices for SharePoint 2013 on TechNet. http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/12438.sharepoint-2013-best-practices.aspx
First of all, you need to think of the hardware you require. Go for an i7 quad-core processor, equivalent or higher. Also make sure you have at least 32 GB memory, since SharePoint 2013 dev machines require at least 24 GB of memory. Having a RAID 0 hard disk is also a good idea.