Microsoft's quietly revealed that it's shrunk Windows Server's footprint, at least when you run it in Azure.
The newly-reduced versions of Windows Server are destined for use in Azure's Managed Disks, a storage option that allows the creation of disks without first creating a storage account and without the need to manually assign a universal resource indicator. Managed disks are also designed for automation.
Microsoft offers Managed Disks at 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 512GB and a terabyte, with the two smallest sizes a recent addition. But it looks like users had trouble squeezing Windows into the little ones, because Microsoft's now announced it has “dded a second set of Windows Server offerings with 30GB OS disks for Windows Server 2008R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012R2 and Windows Server 2016.”
This matters because it means Windows can now be popped onto 32GB Managed Disks at what Redmond reckons is a saving of “US$2.18 per VM if you choose to deploy with 32GB Standard Managed OS disk vs. 127GB.”
Redmond's guidance for Windows Server 2012 says it's possible to install onto a 32 GB partition, but that disks of that size “should be considered an absolute minimum value for successful installation.” Even then, you'll get only Windows Server Core with IIS and no GUI.
The news of the new smaller Azure instances mentions no such restrictions. ®