Teiid cursors all results, regardless of whether they are from one source or many sources, and regardless of what type of processing (joins, unions, etc.) have been performed on the results.
Teiid processes results in batches. A batch is simply a set of records. The number of rows in a batch is determined by the buffer system properties Processor Batch Size (within query engine) and Connector Batch Size (created at connectors).
Client applications have no direct knowledge of batches or batch sizes, but rather specify fetch size. However the first batch, regardless of fetch size is always proactively returned to synchronous clients. Subsequent batches are returned based on client demand for the data. Pre-fetching is utilized at both the client and connector levels.
The buffer manager manages memory for all result sets used in the query engine. That includes result sets read from a connection factory, result sets used temporarily during processing, and result sets prepared for a user. Each result set is referred to in the buffer manager as a tuple source.
When retrieving batches from the buffer manager, the size of a batch in bytes is estimated and then allocated against the max limit.
The buffer manager has two storage managers - a memory manager and a disk manager. The buffer manager maintains the state of all the batches, and determines when batches must be moved from memory to disk.
Each tuple source has a dedicated file (named by the ID) on disk. This file will be created only if at least one batch for the tuple source had to be swapped to disk. The file is random access. The connector batch size and processor batch size properties define how many rows can exist in a batch and thus define how granular the batches are when stored into the storage manager. Batches are always read and written from the storage manager whole.
The disk storage manager has a cap on the maximum number of open files to prevent running out of file handles. In cases with heavy buffering, this can cause wait times while waiting for a file handle to become available (the default max open files is 64).
When a tuple source is no longer needed, it is removed from the buffer manager. The buffer manager will remove it from both the memory storage manager and the disk storage manager. The disk storage manager will delete the file. In addition, every tuple source is tagged with a "group name" which is typically the session ID of the client. When the client's session is terminated (by closing the connection, server detecting client shutdown, or administrative termination), a call is sent to the buffer manager to remove all tuple sources for the session.
In addition, when the query engine is shutdown, the buffer manager is shut down, which will remove all state from the disk storage manager and cause all files to be closed. When the query engine is stopped, it is safe to delete any files in the buffer directory as they are not used across query engine restarts and must be due to a system crash where buffer files were not cleaned up.