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Database Snapshots

This topic describes the database snapshot feature, which was new in Microsoft SQL Server 2005. Database snapshots are available only in SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition and later versions. All recovery models support database snapshots.

A database snapshot is a read-only, static view of a database (the source database). Multiple snapshots can exist on a source database and always reside on the same server instance as the database. Each database snapshot is transactionally consistent with the source database as of the moment of the snapshot's creation. A snapshot persists until it is explicitly dropped by the database owner.

Unlike default behavior for user databases, a database snapshot is created with the ALLOW_SNAPSHOT_ISOLATION database option set ON regardless of the setting of this option on the primary database or the model system database.

Snapshots can be used for reporting purposes. Also, in the event of a user error on a source database, you can revert the source database to the state it was in when the snapshot was created. Data loss is confined to updates to the database since the snapshot's creation.


Reverting does not work in an offline or corrupted database. Therefore, taking regular backups and testing your restore plan are necessary to protect a database.


Database snapshots are unrelated to snapshot backups, snapshot isolation of transactions, or snapshot replication.

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