Memory Use

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Last modified: December 10, 2020

The Memory Limit setting in Designer defines the maximum amount of memory the engine will use to perform operations in a workflow. Designer uses as much memory as it needs, up to the defined limit. 

If the workflow requires more storage than defined, parts of the data stream are written out to temporary files and read back when needed.

How does Alteryx use memory?

By default, Designer uses 25% of the RAM on the computer on which it is installed. When processing a workflow, Alteryx adjusts to the memory available on the computer.

Memory Limit can be defined in three areas: System settingsUser settings and Workflow configuration. Settings configured in User Settings override settings in System Settings, and settings in Workflow Properties override settings in User Settings and System Settings. However, the setting can be locked in System Settings to prevent it from being increased in User Settings or Workflow Properties. When the setting is locked, users can only decrease the value in User Settings or Workflow Properties.

What else impacts memory usage?

The number of processes running simultaneously impacts the way a computer's memory is used. If Memory Limit is set to 2,000 MB and the Designer is set to run 4 workflows simultaneously, at least 8,000 MB or 8 GB may be used across 4 workflows to process data.  

Tools that include sort and join operations are not the only tools that consume memory. For example, tools used to calculate drive times use a lot of memory. The memory other tools use is in addition to the memory used by tools that include sort and join processes.

What is the recommended Memory Limit value?

By default, Designer uses 25% of the RAM on the computer on which it is installed. It is recommended to not raise that value above 50% of the computer's RAM divided by the number of simultaneous workflow you intend to run.

When is it okay to edit the Memory Limit value?

In most cases, it is best not to edit the default value. However, there are a couple of cases in which performance can be improved by changing this setting.

Only lower the default value for these reasons:

  • The computer on which Designer is installed will be used to run other memory-intensive applications.
  • The server on which Designer is installed will be used to run a many processes simultaneously. The server will be better able to handle the workload if the default Memory Limit value is lowered.
  • A workflow you want to run includes many memory-intensive non-sort processes such as calculating drive times. In this case, wait to edit the default Memory Limit value until you experience processing issues.

Only increase the default value if a workflow you want to run includes many sort-intensive processes and you want to dedicate the computer to running the workflow. In this case, wait to edit the default Memory Limit value until you experience processing issues.

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