Solana archive nodes: The backbone of Solana’s data availability and developer tooling

The Solana ecosystem is pretty rich & diverse in the projects, dapps, developer tooling, and the need for robust and scalable data management solutions is as crucial as ever. Solana archive nodes, heavy as they are, play a pivotal role in providing the ecosystem with a decentralized, high-performance, and extensible infrastructure for storing and accessing historical blockchain data.


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The importance of Solana archive nodes

Solana historical nodes are critical for the overall Web3 ecosystem. From an end-user perspective, these nodes serve as an immutable record of the Solana blockchain's history, allowing users to access and verify past transaction data, providing transparency and accountability. The Solana explorer, a web-based tool that allows users to browse the Solana blockchain, is powered by these historical nodes.

From a developer's standpoint, Solana historical nodes are crucial for building robust and reliable applications on top of the Solana blockchain. Developers can leverage the historical data stored in these nodes to implement advanced analytics and reporting features, facilitate data-driven decision making, ensure data integrity and auditability, and enable cross-chain interoperability.

This comprehensive data storage serves several critical functions:

  1. Data availability: Solana archive nodes ensure that historical blockchain data is readily available and accessible, enabling users and applications to access past transaction records, account balances, and other on-chain information as needed. You can ingest the Solana archive data (including other protocols) with Chainstack nodes tailored for the task.

  2. Performance: Solana archive nodes, similar to the regular full nodes, are designed to provide fast and efficient access to historical data.

  3. End-user benefits: For end-users, Solana archive nodes enable access to historical data and transaction records, which can be useful for tasks such as auditing, research, and analytical purposes.

  4. Developer benefits: Developers building applications on Solana can leverage the archive node system to access historical data and build more sophisticated features and functionality. This can include things like on-chain analytics, data visualization, and historical data-driven applications. A few examples:

    1. Explorers & analytics platforms — Companies like Solana FM, Solana Beach, and Solscan leverage Solana archive nodes to provide comprehensive transaction history, account balances, and advanced analytics for the Solana ecosystem.
    2. DeFi apps — DeFi platforms that operate on the Solana blockchain, such as Serum, Raydium, and Saber, rely on archive nodes to retrieve historical trading data, calculate yields, and power their financial services.
    3. Non-Fungible Token (NFT) Marketplaces: NFT platforms built on Solana, including Magic Eden and Solanart, use archive nodes to track the ownership history, trading volumes, and other metadata for NFTs on the Solana network.
    4. Solana-based gaming and metaverse projects, like Aurory and Star Atlas, leverage archive nodes to store and retrieve player activity and use it for analytics,

Key architectural components

The foundation of a Solana archive node is its custom-built ledger database designed for append-only writes of massive data volumes. Rather than using a traditional database like PostgreSQL, Solana leverages a highly optimized fork of Facebook's RocksDB to achieve the throughput and scalability needed.

Archive nodes store the full ledger history, which spans multiple petabytes and is constantly growing. To keep storage costs down, older data is progressively moved to cheaper "cold storage" tiers like Amazon S3 Glacier. Operators use sophisticated data tiering and recovery mechanisms to strike the right balance between cost and access latency.

On top of the ledger storage, archive nodes maintain several index structures mapping block heights and signatures to the physical storage location. This allows quickly looking up and retrieving any historical transaction or block by its signature or height.

With petabytes of data to store, archive nodes need robust redundancy and replication to protect against data loss. Ledger data is typically stored with 3x replication, spread across multiple disks, machines, and even geographic regions. Solana's Turbine block propagation protocol allows streaming large amounts of data to replicas with minimal redundancy.

To allow scaling storage beyond a single machine, the archive is horizontally sharded across multiple nodes. Solana's architecture provides a framework for seamlessly sharding the state. New nodes joining the cluster can quickly sync by downloading a snapshot of the full state at a given point.

Retrieving Historical Data

Developers can access historical data through Solana's JSON RPC APIs exposed by archive nodes. Here's an example of fetching an old transaction using the JavaScript @solana/web3.js library:

const solanaWeb3 = require("@solana/web3.js");
const connection = new solanaWeb3.Connection('CHAINSTACK_ARCHIVE_NODE');

(async () => {
  const oldTx = await connection.getConfirmedTransaction('txSignature');

The getConfirmedTransaction method allows specifying a transaction signature to look up. Archive nodes use their indexes to quickly locate and return the requested transaction, even if it occurred years ago.

You can also query the historical state of an account at a particular block height or timestamp:

const accountInfo = await connection.getAccountInfoAndContext(

This will return the state and context of the account as it existed at the specified slot height. Under the hood, the archive node finds the nearest ledger checkpoint preceding the requested slot and replays transactions to derive the account state.


Solana archive nodes are a critical component of the Solana blockchain infrastructure, ensuring the long-term scalability, integrity, and utility of the network. By providing secure, decentralized, and performant access to historical blockchain data, these nodes empower end-users and developers alike to unlock new insights, build innovative applications, and drive the continued growth of the Solana ecosystem.

As Solana continues to gain traction and adoption, the importance of its archive node system will only increase. Developers and users can rest assured that the Solana blockchain is backed by a robust and scalable data management infrastructure, ready to support the demands of the Web3 future.