zRAM is a module of the Linux kernel, previously called "compcache". zRAM increases performance by avoiding paging on disk and instead uses a compressed block device in RAM in which paging takes place until it is necessary to use the swap space on the hard disk drive. Since using RAM is faster than using disks, zram allows Linux to make more use of RAM when swapping/paging is required, especially on older computers with less RAM installed.
Even though the cost of RAM hardware is relatively low this feature still offers advantages for netbooks and other lower-powered laptops, virtualization and in the case of embedded devices, especially those that use flash memories that have a limited lifespan, dependent on write-use and thus wear out quickly when used as a swap device.
Ubuntu is considering enabling zRAM by default on machines with less RAM installed.
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