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Advantages of Data Compression | disadvantages of Data Compression

This page covers advantages and disadvantages of Data Compression. It mentions Data Compression advantages or benefits and Data Compression disadvantages or drawbacks. It compares lossy and lossless data compression methods.

What is Data Compression?

The process or technique of modifying, encoding or converting bits structure of data in order to consume less space on the disk is known as data compression. The technique helps in freeing up disk space and reduces memory gaps during data storage on the disk. This reduces time to locate data on the drive during read/write operation. It is also known as source encoding or bit rate reduction.

Data Compression Types

• There are two types of data compression viz. lossy and lossless.
• As shown, in lossy compression technique, decompression does not bring data back to its original form. It is used for music, photos, videos, medical images, scanned documents and fax machines.
• In lossless compression technique, decompression returns data back to its original form. It is used for databases, emails, spreadsheets, office documents, source code etc.
• Refer lossy vs lossless data compression algorithms >> for more information.

➨Advantages and disadvantages of lossy data compression are as follows.
• Advantages: Significant reduction of file size but at the cost of loss in the quality. Tools and plugins available help in choosing the level of compression.
• Disadvantages: Quality of compressed image degrades with high ratio of compression. User can not get back original image after compression.

➨Advantages and disadvantages of lossless data compression are as follows.
• Advantages: Slight reduction in image file size can be achieved without loss in the image quality.
• Disadvantages: Not suitable to compress files of larger sizes.

Data Compressor and Decompressor

As shown in the figure-2, the data compression method uses compressor (i.e. encoder) and decompressor (i.e. decoder) modules. The compressor module compresses the data into compressed form from the original form. Compressed form will have less size compare to original form. The decompressor module decompresses the compressed data back into original form.

Benefits or advantages of Data Compression

Following are the generic benefits or advantages of Data Compression:
➨It helps to occupy less disk space or storage space. This is due to the fact that when compressed, quantity of bits used to store the information is reduced.
➨Compressed data is read/written faster than original data.
➨It enables faster file transfer on the internet due to reduction in file size. Moreover file compression can zip up several small files into a single file for more convenient email transmission.
➨Data compression is byte order independent.
➨Data compression has variable dynamic range which depends on algorithm used during compression.

Drawbacks or disadvantages of Data Compression

Following are the generic drawbacks or disadvantages of Data Compression:
➨Compression is mathematically intense process. Hence it may be time consuming when we have large number of files to be compressed. Moreover level of compression vary as per algorithm used, as a result compression time also vary.
➨Data compression algorithms are system intensive process and will take up valuable resources during data compression process. It sometimes pop up "out of memory" error in some of the systems having less resources than required by data compression algorithm.
➨In order to decompress the downloaded compressed file, one require appropriate program to un-compress it. Often user does not find such program available on the system or internet.

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