A database snapshot captures a static view of a database at a certain point in time. It provides a record of the data in the same state as when the snapshot was created. Snapshots are useful for purposes such as audits, reporting, maintaining historical data, and safeguarding data against administrative error.
Snapshots are not backups as they are not full database copies. They allow for faster roll-back to a previous point-in-time than backups, and can be set to occur more frequently. However, snapshots are directly dependent on the source database and cannot substitute a regular backup and restore strategy. If an entire database is lost, snapshot restoration would be impossible as the source files are unavailable. Hence, snapshots should be used in conjunction with a backup strategy.