Press "Enter" to skip to content

The Internals of Backup Compression

Andy Yun continues a series on how backups work in SQL Server:

Welcome back to Part 4 of my Backup Internals series. Today, I’d like to spend a little time exploring backup compression.

When you take a regular FULL BACKUP, SQL Server is literally taking a byte-for-byte copy of your data files. Don’t believe me? Then go read this, then come back. Additionally, Microsoft architected BACKUP operations such that the resource utilization and impact would be minimal (when using default parameters).

This post taught me a few things about the practical impact of enabling compression. Even after reading this, however, I would almost always enable it for two reasons. First, storage is usually the bottleneck for organizations, so actions which reduce storage utilization can improve overall performance. Second, there are limits to how much we can store, so compressing backups may let me get away with holding more backups on a given LUN or drive.