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I want to setup a data server as a VM. So I decided I'd go with Windows Server 2003 x64 (smaller footprint than 2008) and SQL Server 2008 x64 Standard (preferred database). I will have a separate disk for databases, so system disk shouldn't be affected by growing databases.

I'd choose Windows Server 2008 R2 Server Core (that would probably take less disk space than 2003), but installing SQL 2008 on it isn't supported by MS (even though it's now possible (as I can read on the net) since R2 has .net framework included).

By choosing older server product I can have a smaller disk footprint size (taken by OS), but it will grow in time because of all the patches and service packs.

What can I do to have AND KEEP small disk footprint of this installation even in the future? I would like to have my server patched an up to date, but I don't want system disk size to grow...

Edit: Small disk footprint meaning I would like to make the smallest VM disk size possible to install my database server (with ie. 1GB free space). I would also like to avoid future disk resizes due to patches/service packs etc.

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Want a small disk footprint? Use small disks. Perhaps you could clarify the question. – John Gardeniers Sep 11 '09 at 8:14
@John: I hope my question is more clear now. If there's something particular you don't understand, tell me and I'll clarify even further. – Robert Koritnik Sep 11 '09 at 9:02
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I have been running Win 2003 and SQL server on a 10 Gig disk for years. But it is now beginning to fill up from all the patches and service packs. You can delete the files for those as long as you never need to uninstall them, but I wish I had partitioned the disk differently in the beginning. With disk space so cheap why would you want to potentially back yourself into a corner later? What would be the harm in using a 20 Gig disk?

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harm? Waste of space. I like to utilize disk as good as possible without wasting it too much. – Robert Koritnik Sep 14 '09 at 20:12

In my experience, a Windows 2003 VM needs at least 40GB with SQL installed for a reasonable test setup.

Edit: If you're going to run SQL on another disk, then you can safely get away with 10GB.

Your question isn't sensible though, in that you cannot NOT expect SQL Server to grow its data and transaction files over time. Why not just set the VM to auto-grow?

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40?!?!?! I'm currently running it reasonably well on 7.5GB with a separate data disk. Because data WILL grow I keep my SQL data on a separate disk. – Robert Koritnik Sep 11 '09 at 12:47
Autogrow makes files more fragmented than creating a fixed disk up front. – Robert Koritnik Sep 11 '09 at 12:58
SQL on another disk is not how you stated the original question, hence my confusion. In that case, you can get away with 10GB, but you can't forget space for the page file. Speaking of fragmentation on autogrow (which is easily resolved with Defraggler), how about fragmentation of the files in the disk image itself? – user3914 Sep 11 '09 at 13:10
yes sorry. I've altered my question because you reminded me to point that out. – Robert Koritnik Sep 14 '09 at 11:20

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