Smaller and faster data compression with Zstandard

People are creating, sharing, and storing data at a faster rate than at any other time in history. When it comes to innovating on storing and transmitting that data, at Facebook we’re making advancements not only in hardware — such as larger hard drives and faster networking equipment — but in software as well. Software helps with data processing through compression, which encodes information, like text, pictures, and other forms of digital data, using fewer bits than the original. These smaller files take up less space on hard drives and are transmitted faster to other systems. There’s a trade-off to compressing and decompressing information, though: time. The more time spent compressing to a smaller file, the slower the data is to process. Today, the reigning data compression standard is Deflate, the core algorithm inside Zip, gzip, and zlib [2]. For two decades, it has provided an impressive balance between speed and space, and, as a result, it is used in almost every modern electronic device (and, not coincidentally, used to transmit every byte of the very blog post you are reading). Over the years, other algorithms have offered either better compression or faster compression, but rarely both. We believe we’ve changed this.”

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