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A snapshot is a record of a model at a given time. Along with a copy of the model, a snapshot contains everything needed to evaluate the model and render its query. This allows SQLMesh to have a consistent view of your project's history and its data as the project and its models evolve and change. Since model queries can have macros, each snapshot stores a copy of all macro definitions and global variables at the time the snapshot is taken. Additionally, snapshots store the intervals of time for which they have data.


Snapshots have unique fingerprints that are derived from their models. SQLMesh uses these fingerprints to determine when existing tables can be reused, or whether a backfill is needed as a model's query has changed.

Because SQLMesh can understand SQL with SQLGlot, it can generate fingerprints such that superficial changes to a model, such as applying formatting to its query, will not return a new fingerprint.

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