We usually use compression when the only way to achieve faster data transmission is often reduce its size (especially Â over the net). Canonical compression tools offer poor parallelism support, while multi-core system are wide adopted today.
If you want to keep working with versatile tool like gzip and step up to a higher level of performance, take a look at pigz (pronounced “pig-zee”, http://zlib.net/pigz , same lead programmer of zlib).
Command line is barely identical to gzip; by default it uses all available cores to spread calculation over. To limit core usage use the
tar c Â /data/path | pigz -p 3 > archive.tar.gz
uses 3 processes, if you run on a quad-core system, a processor Â is made available for other tasks.