© 2017 BY Purple Oyster

Definition: Snapshot

A snapshot is a record of a SharePoint environment taken at a particular time and can include many different types of information, such as:

  • Document and list item details.

  • List contents and settings.

  • Site contents and settings.

  • Managed Metadata settings and where-used.

  • Casual Metadata - use of Choice and Lookup columns.

  • List schema.

  • Content types, site columns and where-used.

  • Alert settings.

  • Users, groups, group membership and where-used.

A retrieve profile is a configuration element used to specify which types of SharePoint content are to be retrieved; there can be many retrieve profiles, each with different settings.

A snapshot is created and queued to run within a Snapshot Scheduler component, either with an immediate start or with a specific start time.  The scheduler then manages the retrieval of data from SharePoint and saving it to the Duke database.  This process can take from a few minutes to several hours depending on a variety of factors including the retrieve profile settings, the number of items to be retrieved and the speed of the connection to SharePoint.

The scheduler can be configured to process multiple sites at once and this is a possible way to speed the data retrieval process. However, the benefit gained can be diluted if the extra demands of processing multiple sites saturates the capabilities of the PC or network.

Snapshot Status Values

  • Pending - waiting to run.

  • Running - currently working.

  • Stopped - the snapshot has been manually stopped using the context menu on the Snapshot Review page.

  • Error - An error occurred when processing this snapshot and it has not completed successfully.

  • Deleting - This status is set when you choose to delete a snapshot and while the deletion is in progress.

    If an unexpected problem occurrs during the deletion operation, the snapshot may be left in an invalid state.  When Duke is restarted it checks for snapshots in Deleting status and if it identifies one or more in this state, if completes the deletion process.  This start-up check occurs in the background along with a number of other checks and will not normally be noticeable.

  • Hold - The snapshot has been manually put on hold and will not run until released.

  • Starting - A snapshot is temporarily put into Starting status when it is initialising and before it enters Running status.

  • Complete With Warnings - The snapshot has run to completion but encountered warnings during the process.

    Review these warnings using the Activity context menu option on the Snapshot Review page.

  • Complete - The snapshot has run to completion or has been manually marked as complete (see Snapshot Review).

    The snapshot cannot be changed once in Complete status, although it can be deleted.


When a snapshot runs it saves data it reads in the target SharePoint environment in a database on the PC on which it is running. The capacity of this database is finite (usually 10GB) and it is therefore recommended that snapshots are deleted once they are of no further value.

The amount of storage consumed by a snapshot varies depending on principally on the retrieve profile settings (ie the type of information being retrieved) and the number of items in the SharePoint site being analysed.  The snapshot will display the database size before and after it runs and this information is available in the snapshot detail report.  This is a useful guide to the potential size of data the snapshot will retrieve.