An Azure Snapshot is an exact image of a disk at a specific point in time. This is a quicker way to back up the state of a hard disk than with an Azure backup.
Azure snapshots are best suited when, for example, operating system or software updates are to be tested. Additional virtual machines can be cloned from an Azure snapshot for this purpose. An existing virtual machine can also be restored to the original state of the snapshot if required.
This guide describes how to create an Azure snapshot, how to download a snapshot in VHD format, and how to clone a virtual machine from an Azure snapshot.