A message queue, known simply as a queue, is a named destination to which messages can be sent. Messages accumulate on queues until they are retrieved by programs that service those queues.
Queues reside in, and are managed by, a queue manager, (see Message queuing terminology ). The physical nature of a queue depends on the operating system on which the queue manager is running. A queue can either be a volatile buffer area in the memory of a computer, or a data set on a permanent storage device (such as a disk). The physical management of queues is the responsibility of the queue manager and is not made apparent to the participating application programs.
Programs access queues only through the external services of the queue manager. They can open a queue, put messages on it, get messages from it, and close the queue. They can also set, and inquire about, the attributes of queues.