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Template:Pageheaderbox4GT An archive is a primary copy of data (unlike a backup, which is a secondary copy). Archiving is a function that offers long-term storage for data. Archiving can preserve data at any one of several of the lower levels of data abstraction, but usually handles only a single abstraction level. Examples are archiving at the hardware level (storing bits and bytes, such as in SANs), on a more abstracted level (storing loosely structured data, such as files in a file system), or still higher (storing strictly structured data such as databases).
In case it is (also) used to make auditing possible, mechanisms may be put in place to prevent alteration of the data after being preserved.