Compression Tools Compared

Use top-performing but little-known lossless data compression tools to increase your storage and bandwidth by up to 400%.

The -1c tells lzop to use compression level 1 and to write to standard output. -d tells it to decompress. Even with this minimal compression, you still might increase your hardware's effective bandwidth by 75%.

For network connections and CPUs falling in the graph's black region, don't compress at all. Simply send it.

Resources for this article: /article/8403.

Kingsley G. Morse Jr. has been using computers for 29 years, and Debian GNU/Linux has been on his desktop for nine. He worked at Hewlett-Packard and advocates for men's reproductive rights. He can be reached at



Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

How to improve backups?

Paolo Subiaco's picture

Hi. Congratulations for this very useful article... I use a script for backup made by myself which use tar +gzip... switching to tar - lsop backup time takes less than half time, increasing the backup size by about 25%.
An idea to improve speed is to replace tar with a more intelligent tool.
Infact, tar simply "cat all files to stdout" and then gzip or lsop compress this huge stream of data, but some data is already compressed (images, movies, open document files) and don't need to be recompressed!
The idea is to have an archiver (like tar) which compress each file by itself, storing the original file in case of images, movies, archives, already compressed files.
Is there any tool that can do this, and save all priviledges (owner, group, mode) associated to each file like tar does?
Thank you. Paolo

(1) Found a typo: "On the

Anonymous's picture

(1) Found a typo:
"On the other hand, if you have a 1GHz network, but only a 100MHz CPU"

1 GHz network? Should maybe be 1 Gbps.

(2) Suggestion:
Multi-Core CPUs are the big thing today, compression tools that could utilise multiple cores can run 2, 4 or soon even 8 times faster on "normal" desktop PCs...not even speaking of the servers...which compression tools can utilise this CPU power?

multi-core CPU support

zmi's picture

Multi-Core CPUs are the big thing today, compression tools that could utilise multiple cores can run 2, 4 or soon even 8 times faster on "normal" desktop PCs...not even speaking of the servers...which compression tools can utilise this CPU power?
There's parallel bzip2, very good but not pipe support.

mfg zmi

Very nice information

Bharat's picture

Very nice information provided.Thanks!!!

Excelent article.

Eduardo Diaz's picture

Thanks very much for this article. I really enjoyed it, and will be helpfull for my daily work.

1. how about another part

Anonymous's picture

how about another part with specific data - like 90+% text? for mysql dumps & dbmail scenarios etc.

and 45MB does not sound as sufficient test data size for rzip to test it's speed.

Compression on Windows

Werner Bergmans's picture

First of all excellent test!.

Believe it or not, but compression is one of those application types where all research takes place on Windows Pc's. The last couple of years there were some major breakthroughs in compression caused by the new PAQ context modeling algorithms. Have a look at this site for some results. Programs like gzip, rzip 7-zip and lzop are tested here too, so it should be easy to compare results.

White Paper
Linux Management with Red Hat Satellite: Measuring Business Impact and ROI

Linux has become a key foundation for supporting today's rapidly growing IT environments. Linux is being used to deploy business applications and databases, trading on its reputation as a low-cost operating environment. For many IT organizations, Linux is a mainstay for deploying Web servers and has evolved from handling basic file, print, and utility workloads to running mission-critical applications and databases, physically, virtually, and in the cloud. As Linux grows in importance in terms of value to the business, managing Linux environments to high standards of service quality — availability, security, and performance — becomes an essential requirement for business success.

Learn More

Sponsored by Red Hat

White Paper
Private PaaS for the Agile Enterprise

If you already use virtualized infrastructure, you are well on your way to leveraging the power of the cloud. Virtualization offers the promise of limitless resources, but how do you manage that scalability when your DevOps team doesn’t scale? In today’s hypercompetitive markets, fast results can make a difference between leading the pack vs. obsolescence. Organizations need more benefits from cloud computing than just raw resources. They need agility, flexibility, convenience, ROI, and control.

Stackato private Platform-as-a-Service technology from ActiveState extends your private cloud infrastructure by creating a private PaaS to provide on-demand availability, flexibility, control, and ultimately, faster time-to-market for your enterprise.

Learn More

Sponsored by ActiveState