Enterprise Archive File

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What Does Enterprise Archive File Mean?

An enterprise archive file (EAR) is a Java archive (JAR) file format used to package modules as single archive files to ensure the coherent deployment of different modules to application servers. EAR uses enclosed Extensible Markup Language (XML) files, or deployment descriptors, to describe module deployment.


An EAR file has an .ear extension.

Techopedia Explains Enterprise Archive File

EAR files locate, offload, clean and store files to comply with organizational archiving procedures. EAR has a policy-driven feature used to facilitate the configuration of archive and storage solutions and meet organizational objectives. The file archive administrator handles this process, which includes the following tasks:

  • Selecting files for archival
  • File storage
  • File location
  • Storage duration

The following are EAR file attributes:

  • One or more entries representing application modules and metadata – known as META INF – which hold one or more deployment descriptors
  • A data subset required for Webtop application deployment

Maven or Ant are used to build EAR files.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.