Chapter 67. Data Compression

IN THIS CHAPTER

  • Understanding compression

  • Reducing I/O

  • Whole-database compression procedures

  • Compression strategies

Pushing a database into the tens of thousands of transactions per second requires massive amounts of raw I/O performance. At those rates, today's servers can supply the CPU and memory, but I/O struggles. By reducing the raw size of the data, data compression trades I/O for CPU, improving performance.

Data compression is easy—easy to enable, and easy to benefit from, so why a full chapter on data compression?

Data compression is the sleeper of the SQL Server 2008 new feature list. Like online indexing in SQL Server 2005, I believe that data compression will become the compelling reason to upgrade for many large SQL Server IT shops.

In other words, data compression doesn't warrant an entire chapter because of its complexity or length, but because of its value. Its impact is such that it deserves center stage, at least for this chapter.

Understanding Data Compression

Every IT professional is familiar with data compression, such as zip files and .jpg compression, to name a couple of popular compression technologies.

But SQL Server data compression is specific to the SQL Server storage engine and has a few database-specific requirements. First, there has to be zero risk of loss of data fidelity. Second, it has to be completely transparent—enabled without any application code changes.

SQL Server data compression isn't like .jpg compression, where you can ...

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