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Difference between Spooling and Buffering

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There are two ways by which Input/output subsystems can improve the performance and efficiency of the computer by using a memory space in the main memory or on the disk and these two are spooling and buffering

Spooling – 

Spooling stands for Simultaneous peripheral operation online. A spool is similar to buffer as it holds the jobs for a device until the device is ready to accept the job. It considers disk as a huge buffer that can store as many jobs for the device till the output devices are ready to accept them. 

Buffering – 

The main memory has an area called buffer that is used to store or hold the data temporarily that is being transmitted either between two devices or between a device or an application. Buffering is an act of storing data temporarily in the buffer. It helps in matching the speed of the data stream between the sender and the receiver. If the speed of the sender’s transmission is slower than the receiver, then a buffer is created in the main memory of the receiver, and it accumulates the bytes received from the sender and vice versa. 

The basic difference between Spooling and Buffering is that Spooling overlaps the input/output of one job with the execution of another job while the buffering overlaps the input/output of one job with the execution of the same job.

Differences between Spooling and Buffering –

  • The key difference between spooling and buffering is that Spooling can handle the input/output of one job along with the computation of another job at the same time while buffering handles input/output of one job along with its computation.
  • Spooling stands for Simultaneous Peripheral Operation online. Whereas buffering is not an acronym.
  • Spooling is more efficient than buffering, as spooling can overlap processing two jobs at a time.
  • Buffering uses limited area in main memory while Spooling uses the disk as a huge buffer.

Comparison chart –

Basic Difference It overlap the input/output of one job with the execution of another job. It overlaps the input/output of one job with the execution of the same job.
Full form (stands for) Simultaneous peripheral operation online No full form
Efficiency Spooling is more efficient than buffering. Buffering is less efficient than spooling.
Consider Size It considers disk as a huge spool or buffer. Buffer is a limited area in main memory.
Remote Processing It can process data at remote places. It does not support remote processing.
Implementation  Implemented using spoolers which manage input/output requests and allocate resources as needed  Implemented through software or hardware-based mechanisms such as circular buffers or FIFO queues
Capacity  Can handle large amounts of data since spooled data is stored on disk or other external storage  Limited by the size of memory available for buffering
Error handling  Since data is stored on external storage, spooling can help recover from system crashes or other errors  Errors can occur if buffer overflow happens, which can cause data loss or corruption
Complexity  More complex than buffering since spooling requires additional software to manage input/output requests  Less complex than spooling since buffering is a simpler technique for managing data transfer
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Last Updated : 17 May, 2023
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