Bandwidth is expensive. Increasing reliance on data recovery and transmission demands an effective use of bandwidth. In this article, we will discuss the role of compression in Cloud computing and network management.
Compression is a technique that reduces the size of data by removing repetitive bits of data or duplicates of data. This process helps save bandwidth and space during data transmission and storage. While the technique does not resolve bandwidth bottleneck issues, it certainly helps in the medium term to conserve bandwidth for enhanced network performance. Compression can help individual organizations handle their bandwidth requirements by compressing data and regulating flows of information. It is extremely useful in communication as it improves performance.
There are several kinds of compression techniques in use. However, only a few compression techniques are standardized, and popularly used to compress data transmitted over networks. The CCITT has defined a standard for data compression and for data communications that use modems. Compression is also widely used in backup and recovery and most Cloud based storage applications.
Some compression technologies used by Cloud vendors are discussed below:
- File Compression: As the name suggests, this compression reduces the size of the file. The approach is pretty straightforward. The file is compressed as it flows into the storage disk. However, file system compression technologies are still evolving and existing systems create performance issues when the files are written once and accessed occasionally. It is recommended that this system should be deployed selectively on files that are large and infrequently used.
- Storage Array Compression: This type of compression is very difficult to implement at block level, and is used to compress file systems in a storage array. The compression can be inline or post processed. Inline compression means data is compressed at source. Post processed means data is compressed after it reaches the destination. Bandwidth saving happens only with inline compression.
- NAS Storage Compression: This is an inline compression system that uses compression appliances to compress files. The device will support both CIFS and NFS, and will sit between application servers and NAS arrays, performing the role of a front-end for the NAS.
- Data De-duplication: This is considered to be the “holy grail” of compression. Duplicate bits of data are identified at the byte or file level and eliminated from the backup to reduce on bandwidth and storage. De-duplication can be performed at source or destination. Source de-duplication saves bandwidth.
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