Differences between a Baseline and a Snapshot

Last Updated on 16th August 2022 by Jan Lamb

Trying to decide on whether baselines or snapshots are best for your project? Here we explain the differences so you can make the informed decision on which is best for your project.

What is a Baseline?

A baseline is a mechanism in a Configuration Management System to protect formally reviewed and approved information from modification. It is a named repository for the definitive state of a system at a specific point in time to which only read-only access is permitted. A succession of baselines can be created over the life of a project, each containing information from an increasing subset of the phases in a project.

Principles of baselines
Principles of Baselines

When a new baseline is created, unchanged items will migrate into it from the previous baseline.  Therefore new copies of items are not created for each new  baseline. This avoids such copied items increasing the number of items in the database and hence the database size.

These are a collection of the accepted/approved items that can be reported / queried / viewed in numerous ways.

The items are progressive in that each instance of an item is controlled by the Version attribute and “work in progress” items are labelled with a draft “A”

Baselines only contain the data. Not the definition files that existed at that time (e.g. views, queries, documents, reports).

What is a Snapshot?

A snapshot is a read-only copy of ALL the information in a Cradle database at a specific point in time that can be viewed, in isolation, at any point in the future.

This includes definition files (excluding Personal) and the project definition.

When a snapshot is selected, access to information, cross references and definitions is determined by the contents of the user’s profile in the database they are currently logged into, regardless of whether or not the user has a profile in the current snapshot and regardless of the contents of that user profile (if any) in the snapshot.

Select Snapshot
Select Snapshot dialog

Snapshots can be deleted from Project Manager or via command line (as power user).

Delete a Snapshot
Delete Snapshot dialog