- A buffer is a memory area that stores data being transferred between two devices or between a device and an application and the technique is called Buffering.
- Buffering can be done for following reasons :
- To cope with a speed mismatch between the producer and consumer of a data stream. Suppose, for example, that a file is being received via modem for storage on the hard disk. The modem is about a thousand times slower than the hard disk. So a buffer is created in main memory to accumulate the bytes received from the modem. When an entire buffer of data has arrived, the buffer can be written to disk in a single operation.
- To provide adaptations for devices that have different data-transfer sizes. Such disparities are especially common in computer networking, where buffers are used widely for fragmentation and reassembly of messages. At the sending side, a large message is fragmented into small network packets. The packets are sent over the network, and the receiving side places them in a reassembly buffer to form an image of the source data.
- To support copy semantics for application I/O. Suppose that an application has a buffer of data that it wishes to write to disk. It calls the write() system call, providing a pointer to the buffer and an integer specifying the number of bytes to write. After the system call returns, what happens if the application changes the contents of the buffer? With copy semantics, the version of the data written to disk is guaranteed to be the version at the time of the application system call, independent of any subsequent changes in the application’s buffer, by copying the application data into a kernel buffer before returning control to the application and performing the disk write from the kernel buffer,