I was testing some compression code - and the load tests were running out of memory. Looks like ZLib allocates about 256K per compressor. I tried this with both BEST_COMPRESSION and BEST_SPEED - looking at Shallow Heap in eclipse heap analyzer, 2x32k short and 2x64k byte.
With SPDY you need to keep the header compressor around for the entire kept-alive connection. HTTP connections only use gzip for individual requests - the context and memory can be reclaimed, so a kept-alive connection has a very small cost - can be as low as just a socket in a selector, sometimes few extra buffers.In tomcat-lite there is one 8k buffer associated with the connection - not hard to get rid of it, but low priority.
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