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I've been contending with hard disk space on my SharePoint 2010 (with SQL 2008) environment for a while and I've just recently found out a few things that I think might help.

Should I be regularly running a Transaction Log Backup and then Shrinking my content databases? Will that help increase my usable disk space? Do I even need to bother running the backups?

I'm not a DBA (obviously) but I know one or two things about SQL, so thanks ahead of time for keeping that in mind with your explanations. :)

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

You should be backing up and truncating your TLOGS. If you have not been doing that, than yes, do a backup, truncate, and shrink will restore space. To keep that space however, you will need to set growth limits on your database and log files. Microsoft has a paper on "best practices" with SQL maintenance:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc262731.aspx

While I recomend you run thru that whitepaper, I suggest you look at bigger drives to support your installation, they are cheap, and it is worth the front loaded effort to make that swap rather than chasing down a few MB here and there.

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First thing you should do is choose the appropriate recovery model for your databases.

If you need point in time restore, go for the FULL recovery model. The price you have to pay is to make regular log backups or your logfile will grow indefinitely. Taking a full backup does not stop them from growing. If you use mirroring or log shipping, you also need to be in the FULL recovery model. So you need to take full (or differential) & logs backups.

If you don't need point in time restores - go with the SIMPLE recovery model. SQL Server will automatically manage your transaction log files and reuse them so they don't grow as big. Full (or differential) backups will do just fine in this case.

Shrinking database files should only be done in very specific circumstances (NEVER automatically or as part of a maintenance plan) because they cause horrible fragmentation of your databases. A good candidate is the situation where you just moved a large site collection to another content database and you leave your original database with 80% of unused space for example. Database files grow, that's what they do.

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Agreed, very valuable info. Not enough SharePoint admins realize they need to understand the SQL configurations (even if they have a DBA). –  Jesus Shelby Jul 2 '12 at 19:22
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