SQL Server 2008 R2 system requirements: Hardware and software

SQL Server 2008 R2 system requirements vary depending on a few factors. Learn the hardware, software and disk space requirements, which can differ based on individual components.

Solutions provider takeaway: Knowing the SQL Server 2008 R2 system requirements before installing SQL Server 2008...

R2 for your customers is essential in order to prevent problems. These hardware, software and disk space requirements vary depending on which operating system your customer uses and the individual components that have been added.

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A few months ago, Microsoft released SQL Server 2008 R2. Like any other application, it has certain hardware and software requirements. Finding out the minimum system requirements for a new application seems simple enough, but SQL Server 2008 R2's requirements are abstruse, to say the least, and have been met with some confusion. This tip will help solutions providers become familiar with the SQL Server 2008 system requirements so that the R2 deployment process is as smooth as possible.

If you have never deployed SQL Server 2008 R2 for your customers, you are probably wondering why the system requirements are so difficult to understand. Some requirements are common to all SQL Server 2008 R2 deployments, but other requirements can vary considerably depending on the underlying operating system (OS) and on the individual SQL Server components that you are installing.

Common SQL Server 2008 R2 system requirements

The fact that you can't install it onto a compressed volume or a read-only volume is one common SQL Server 2008 system requirement in R2. On a similar note, new deployments are required to be installed onto volumes that are formatted using the NT File System (NTFS). The File Allocation Table (FAT) 32 is only supported if you are upgrading an earlier version of SQL Server.

SQL Server 2008 R2 also requires you to install Microsoft .NET Framework version 3.5 with Service Pack 1. However, the setup program will automatically install this component for you if it is missing, unless you are installing one of the various flavors of SQL Server Express. If you are installing SQL Server Express, then you will have to install the .NET Framework manually.

Two final software requirements that are common to all SQL Server 2008 R2 installations are to use Microsoft Windows Installer 4.5 or higher and Internet Explorer 6.1 or higher. In case you are wondering, IE is used by the various management interfaces, including SQL Server Management Studio, Business Intelligence Development Studio, the Report Designer and Reporting Services.

SQL Server 2008 system requirements: Hardware and memory in R2

There are a few hardware requirements that are consistent across all SQL Server 2008 deployments, including:

  • A CD or DVD drive that is capable of reading the SQL Server installation media
  • A video card and monitor with a resolution of 1024 x 768 or above
  • A mouse or other pointing device

SQL Server 2008 R2's memory requirements vary quite a bit from one edition to another. Even so, Microsoft generally states that 1 GB is the minimum amount of memory required. Of course, the minimum amount of memory required is lower for SQL Server Express and ranges from 256 MB to 512 MB, depending on the edition.

The upper memory limits aren't quite as consistent. For all of the non-Express editions of SQL Server 2008 R2, Microsoft recommends that the server have 4 GB of memory, although the recommendation for some editions is stated as "4 GB or more."

The recommended amount of memory for SQL Server Express is around 1 GB. In some cases, the recommendation is listed as 1 GB, and in others, it is listed as 1.024 GB.

If you want to exceed the recommended amount of memory, check the system requirements and verify the maximum amount of memory that your customer's edition of SQL Server supports. In some cases, SQL Server supports as much memory as Windows, but that is not always the case.

SQL Server 2008 requirements: Hard disk space in R2

The amount of disk space required for installing SQL Server 2008 R2 varies depending on which of the individual components you are installing. Even so, the disk space requirements remain the same regardless of whether you are deploying a 32-bit or a 64-bit version of SQL. The table below lists the disk space requirements, according to Microsoft:

Feature Required disk space
Space required by temporary files during the installation process 2 GB
Database engine and supporting components 280 MB
SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) 90 MB
Reporting Services and Report Manager 120 MB
SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) 120 MB
Client components 850 MB
SQL Server Books Online 240 MB

It is worth noting that the table above only lists the disk space required to install SQL Server 2008 R2 and its various components. It does not list the disk space required to accommodate your customer's data.

As you can see, the minimum SQL Server 2008 R2 system requirements are fairly normal. However, it is most important to remember that the requirements vary considerably depending on which SQL components you're installing and which operating system your customer uses.

About the expert
Brien M. Posey, MCSE, is a five-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional award for his work with Exchange Server, Windows Server, Internet Information Services (IIS), File Systems and Storage. Posey has served as CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and was once responsible for the Department of Information Management at Fort Knox. As a freelance technical writer, he has written for Microsoft, TechTarget, CNET, ZDNet, MSD2D, Relevant Technologies and other technology companies. You can visit his personal website at www.brienposey.com.

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