The Downsides To Buffer Files

The downside to buffer filesWe’ve heard about the benefits of buffer files, but like all reboot to restore solutions, there are tradeoffs. Here are some of the downsides to using buffer files.

– Swiss Cheese Protection

Viruses, malware and exploits like to attach to processes that can bypass the buffer. If you allow things like patch managers, system or anti-virus updates engines to bypass the buffer, the bad guys can escorted in right under your nose.

– One of those things is not like the other

If your goal is to have a standard setup across all your computers, a buffer can be a double-edge sword. On the one hand, it reduces the amount of configuration change. On the other, the changes are controlled on a file level—on each and every single machine. It won’t take long before your computers start to differ from one to another.

– Buffer files are huge!

The more you change, the bigger the buffer file gets. If you have lots of space then it’s no problem, but it’s usually lower end machines that get put in multi-user roles. These machines have smaller drives. Buffers eat smaller drives for breakfast! Now you have to worry about how much free space you have on the drives.

– If you dent your buffer, all bets are off

Just like with disk images, buffers are huge single files. Any corruption of the file leads to all changes being lost, the whole system locking up and going down in flames.

– You have to have empathy

When you work on the file level, you have to play nice. Some software firms create their products with specific use case scenarios in mind. These use cases rarely account for any impediments to save a file. Buffers tend to have compatibility problems with some file access intensive programs.

– Many versions + huge defragmented file = performance hit

The more changes made to a buffer file, the more it defragments. Then the performance of your computer takes a nose dive.

So there’s the pros and cons of using buffer files to keep your computers in pristine condition. Next up – disk imaging!

Dmitry Shesterin

Dmitry has done everything. From sales and marketing in mobile telecommunications and printing (in Russia and Germany) to sales engineer and marketing lead (at Faronics). Dmitry has an unrivaled love of Excel and his sense of humor resembles Ambrose Bierce, his favorite writer.