How are snapshots being used today to improve virtual server data protection?
Simply put, snapshots allow recovery operations to occur much more quickly than might otherwise be possible. When a virtual machine needs to be reverted to a prior state, a full restoration could potentially take hours to complete (depending on the amount of data being restored). In contrast, a snapshot can be restored in a matter of seconds.
It is worth noting that rapid snapshot recovery is only possible because rolling back a snapshot is different from restoring a backup. Snapshots do not contain a full copy of the data as a backup would. Instead, snapshots are based on the use of differencing disks or pointers. As such, snapshots are more of a convenience feature than a true mechanism for protecting against data loss.
This was first published in October 2013