A snapshot is a tool that captures the state of a storage primitive (such as a virtual machine disk) at a specific point in time. It allows you to return the system to the saved configuration at any time, which is especially useful in case of a system failure. In a virtual machine (VM), the snapshot contains data from the virtual disk and, optionally, RAM. 

The time it takes to create a snapshot is independent of the amount of data, making it a faster and more efficient backup option.

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