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I have several small sites and I've just rented a Windows VPS server with 1&1. It includes 2 "vCores", 4 GB RAM and 120 GB SSD.

It runs great for my needs but now I need to determine the best way to get several SQL Server databases running.

Questions:

  1. Would SQL Server Express kill such a configuration, as far as using up my RAM and bandwidth?

  2. I wasn't able to find anyone who cost effectively would rent me just some space on a SQL Server database. Are there any other options short of either purchasing another VPS to house my database?

I realize some will scoff at this as being woefully inadequate. But my needs are not that significant and my budget for this is rather small.

  • It depends on what your databases are doing. How much RAM and CPU do the existing "several SQL Server databases" use? It looks like SQL Express minimum RAM requirements are 512G so if you leave 512G for OS that lets you have maybe 7 instances. But why use different instances? Just put all your databases on one instance. – Nick.McDermaid Jun 5 '17 at 23:36
  • @Nick.McDermaid: I don't have numbers but the databases are small, most very small. I suspect SQL Server will use more disk space than my data, and possibly more RAM as well. Putting all my database tables in the same database makes it hard to track which are associated with which applications. But, again, it's the resources used by SQL Server itself I'm most concerned about. – Jonathan Wood Jun 5 '17 at 23:39
  • Put your database tables in different databases, not the same database. Just use the same database instance. You don't have any metrics on what the existing databases actually use, so we really can't recommend anything. Your first job is to see how much RAM and hard disk the existing databases use. Have you considered AWS or Azure or is their pricing too much? I beleive you can get a years free developer licence on both of those platforms just to try things out. Also there's nothing to stop you setting up a desktop PC and opening that up to the internet if you wish – Nick.McDermaid Jun 5 '17 at 23:44
  • I think it all depends, how much data are you dealing with and how type of queries/processes do you have running in SQL. If this was archive type database you probably are ok but without knowing more info about your use case its hard to guess if this will support your needs. – Jeff A Jun 5 '17 at 23:46
  • @Nick.McDermaid: Not sure I follow. Who said anything about multiple instances of the database? What purpose would that serve? Azure does not seem to be cost effective for my purposes. – Jonathan Wood Jun 5 '17 at 23:53
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SQL Server Express Edition is limited to 10GB maximum database size (per database) and 1.4GB of buffer pool memory per instance, so you won't "kill" the server by running it if there's nothing else (or very little) running on it. However, if you're doing a lot of work with the database(s), you'll find yourself starved for memory and reading a lot of data from disk instead of caching in memory.

Bandwidth? That depends greatly on how much traffic you'll have going into & out of the server.

I wasn't able to find anyone who cost effectively would rent me just some space on a SQL Server database.

Azure SQL Database is very similar to what you describe here. "Cost effective" is in the eye of the beholder.

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  • Had a little trouble following your logic. You are saying that because it is limited to 10GB per database, and 1.4GB of memory per instance, it wouldn't use too much of a system that 4GB of RAM? At any rate, given that the 4GB already includes Windows Server and IIS, I've concluded that in fact installing it on the same VPS would likely impact performance. – Jonathan Wood Jun 6 '17 at 17:23
  • 10GB of disk per database. 1.4GB of buffer pool memory per instance. Two separate measures. If the server was exclusively running SQL Server Express, that wouldn't be too bad. Adding other services (which you did not specify in your post) on top of it? Bad idea. Running IIS & SQL Server on the same box? Double-bad. – alroc Jun 6 '17 at 17:46
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After careful consideration, I really don't believe it would make sense to install SQL Server (Express or otherwise) on a system with only 120GB of disk space and 4GB of RAM.

Indeed, some recommend that you shouldn't host your website and database on the same server even with more resources. When you consider that this VM already includes Windows Server, IIS, etc., I think I'm going to look for another option.

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