What are snapshots and how they can be useful

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    One of the biggest problems for IT employees is data loss. Important files may be lost due to system failure. Sometimes they are removed simply by accident or out of ignorance. At the same time, the loss of valuable information sometimes leads to serious financial or image losses. To prevent such situations from occurring, specialists are constantly working on options for backing up important data that would provide the possibility of their subsequent recovery if necessary. Simplified, this can be compared with autosave in a computer game. In the event of the death of your hero, you can always return to a safe “save” to correct all the mistakes made.

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    Causes of Data Loss

    The unexpected loss or destructuring of important data can have a variety of causes. Their list is wide: from emergencies to the banal inattention of employees. A lot of problems can be caused by:

    • technical issues
    • various software failures
    • viruses and hacker attacks
    • natural disasters, etc.

    There are a lot of uncontrollable factors and their combinations that cannot be predicted. Based on this, the timely preservation of all important information is a necessity for all professional IT specialists. Here we will talk about how the snapshot technology works and how to use it correctly to get the maximum benefit.

    The essence of snapshot and its differences from backup

    Technically, a snapshot is a snapshot of a file system that captures its current state. If a backup allows you to save any kind of data, then a snapshot is designed to work exclusively with virtual machines and serves only to fix their current state. If a backup requires a special third-party media, then the snapshot saves the information in the same place as the original data.

    Creating backups is a long and laborious process that requires special skills. A snapshot is created literally in seconds and practically does not affect the operation of the system itself. The process can be run even when the virtual machine is turned off, unlike backup, which is done only on functioning hardware. The amount of information saved using snapshot technology is much smaller than with backup. This allows you to store data not on separate media, but directly on the main disk in the form of chronological chains created at key points in time.

    What snapshots can contain

    With the help of snapshots, not the files themselves are saved, but the actions of administrators and users of virtual machines. This allows you to track changes or deletions of files, their movement, and so on. If the information or the files themselves are lost, then the snapshot will not be able to help. But it is very useful when you need to understand what happened to files in the past and quickly fix the errors that have arisen.

    Snapshot process

    After the snapshot is launched, all changes made are saved in a special new file. To return to the previous state, simply delete it. If this is not necessary, then no action needs to be taken. One of the advantages of snapshots is that they work automatically. They can be used on virtual machines or operating systems.

    Depending on the need, you can activate the function once a day or more often, as well as start it manually. Depending on the tasks, the number of snapshots taken, their volume and lifetime can be changed using the settings. Specialists who configure and maintain snapshots can offer the client a wide range of functionality, depending on their needs and tasks. The size of the resulting snapshot files, their storage time, and use cases can be subject to adjustment.


    The use of snapshots from the provider Cityhost.ua

    Snapshot technology is mainly used to provide users with the ability to quickly and accurately restore data that was up-to-date at the time some changes were made to the system. The latter include processes such as large-scale updates, fixes, and others. The snapshot creation feature is available to customers who rent virtual servers from Cityhost and is provided free of charge.

    The control panel allows you to configure the settings for snapshots, their launch and restore the previous state of the machine. The standard lifetime of a regular snapshot is 24 hours. The maximum file size is 10 gigabytes. There can only be one copy for a restore point.

    Snapshots are great insurance for testing new software, testing new ways of working, and so on. They allow you not to be afraid of random errors or miscalculations and instantly restore the previous state of the system.

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