ACUCOBOL-GT manages external data items by allocating them in pools. The minimum size of each pool is set by the EXTERNAL_SIZE variable. When a new external data item is needed, it is allocated from an existing pool. If it doesn't fit in any of the allocated pools, a new pool is allocated. The size of this pool is the same as the size of the data item, but never smaller than the value specified by the EXTERNAL_SIZE configuration variable. Using this larger pool reduces memory fragmentation. Because external data items remain allocated after programs are canceled, it's best to allocate the external data items together so they don't break up the memory space. The default value for EXTERNAL_SIZE is 8192. The maximum value is 32767.