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jyunker, unlikely you are able to compress 11.5 GB to fit into DVD (unless all of that is text). In order to compress your TAR file, use "xz":
This will take a lot of time. But instead you might want to consider splitting your tar archive to fit it into three DVDs:
split -b 4500M file.tar file.tar.
This will split "file.tar" into 4500Mb-parts and name them "file.tar.aa", "file.tar.ab", "file.tar.ac" and so on... Don't forget about period in the very end of the command (it will make extension visible for you). Then, in order to assemble files into source one, `cat` them like this:
How much you can compress that tar-archive is dependent on its content. If it is mostly text then you will get very good compression rates. If it is images or videos you will likely end with a larger file after compression, since those files usually are already compressed and compressing them again does nothing but adding overhead. But as Mr. Alex already pointed out, splitting the file may be the better option. Also, keep in mind that you can control the level of compression, a xz -9 will use better compression techniques, but will be significantly slower, while a xz -1 will go faster, but result in a larger file.