Reserved Space

Many of us that work with SQL Server are familiar with the idea of reserving space that our system might need later. This is normal operation in SQL Server, where we pre-allocate space to data and log files, knowing that SQL Server will manage and use this space over time. This can often be a strange concept for newcomers to the platform, who expect our database behaves like a text file, only using the space it needs for data. Choosing the amount of space to reserve is an art that many of us both struggle to articulate and explain to newcomers. It’s also a problem that we often solve by guessing high and implementing monitoring.

Lots of people worry about storage, even in this era of TB sized drives. I ran across an article noting that Windows is reserving 7GB of space for updates, which makes sense to me. I’ve had a few updates for smaller devices, like mobiles, fail because of space. I think the idea of having some space reserved for temp storage and then using that for updates is a good one. I also recognize that I’m in a different place than others. Most of my devices have plenty of free space. Well, not my phone, but that’s a separate issue.

From the comments of the article, it seems that many people feel as I do. Reserving the space is a good idea. There are plenty of complaints about older, small storage devices, and I feel bad for those people. I’ve own a 32GB Windows device and over time it’s a pain. Those devices likely need to have some sort of network/cloud storage to be usable, so There are also no shortage of the “Windows is already too large” complaints, but to me, those are separate discussions.

Ensuring enough space is around for normal operation is one thing. Keeping extra around for emergencies and critical functions is another. I’ve been a big fan of placeholders on drives, especially database servers. I keep a few on all my drives, both on desktops and laptops. If I run low on space and really need some, I can make the decision to remove these without thought. Something I can’t always do with other files.

Like the DBCC SHRINKFILE, which lets us get out of situations where we’ve made a mistake in allocation, I’d like all OSes to include some options that remove older files, such as updates, temp files, etc. that we might not need, but could make a difference in our space usage. I know modern Android helps me when I’m low on space, and would like to see that in Windos. My other hope is that  we get quantum, PB sized storage devices that can fit in our phone. I can’t ever remember anyone on Star Trek running out of storage space on their drives. I look forward to the day in my life when that won’t happen to me.

Steve Jones

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