SQL Server Compression 101
The data compression feature in SQL Server can help reduce the size of the database as well as improve the performance of intensive I/O intensive workloads, especially on data warehouses. This performance boost in I/O is offset against the extra CPU resource that is required to compress/decompress the data whilst data is exchanged with the application. With data warehouses, the guideline is to compress all objects as there is typically CPU capacity whilst the data storage and memory capacity is at a premium, so Microsoft’s recommendation is to compress all objects to the highest level. However, if there are no compressed objects at all, it is better to take the cautious approach and to evaluate each database object individually and the effects on the workload, particularly if the CPU headroom is limited.