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Explain external fragmentation?
External fragmentation is the process where the free space and the space still available for use, in a piece of storage become separated into many small pieces. It is caused over time by de-allocating ("freeing") and allocating pieces of the storage space of many different sizes. The result is that, although one may perhaps have plenty of free space, it mayn't be able to all used, or at least used as effectively as one would like to.
For instance in a dynamic memory allocation a block of 1000 bytes might be requested but the largest contiguous block of free space or memory hole has only 300. Still if there are ten blocks of 300 bytes of free space separated by allocated regions one still cannot allocate the requested block of 1000 bytes.
External fragmentation also takes place in file systems as many files of different sizes are change size, created, and are deleted. The effect is even worse if a file which is separated into many small pieces is deleted, for the reason that this leaves similarly small regions of free space.
External fragmentation is able to be eliminated through a process called compaction, where existing objects are all moved in to one large adjacent block, keep left all of the remaining free space in one large block. Moving garbage collectors use compaction to enhance dynamic memory allocation performance and tools that defragment disk drives as well perform a compaction step. It is frequently possible to do a partial but still useful form of compaction more efficiently or to continually compact in an incremental fashion therefore that external fragmentation is always kept low.
How can an index file be used to speed up the access in direct-access files? Have an index in memory; the index gives the key and the disk location of its corresponding record.
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