I don't have control over the installation of debian, it's a pre-built debian 7 image provisioned by the VPS provider. It consumes about 6.5GB of disk space 'out of the box.'
Do you think it's possible to get this install down below 500MB of disk space? It's on an OpenVZ host. Very few services are needed (pretty much SSH only).
There is a discussion about removing components from debian, but it isn't clear what the net change in disk space will be: https://wiki.debian.org/ReduceDebian
The VPS provider also has CentOS and Ubuntu images. I haven't tried them; I'd assume their disk space utilization is similar.
It's a grandfathered, very cheap VPS plan. As such, attempting to reduce the OS's consumed disk space for my application might be worthwhile (instead of buying a more expensive tier with more storage).
Thank you for your insight.