The IOTA Foundation is reacting to increasing demands on the Tangle with its long-awaited Local Snapshots feature.
Recently there has been a welcome spike in the number of improvements to the Tangle being suggested and implemented by developers. Local Snapshots are being introduced in response to the issues being experienced as the ledger becomes larger and larger. In the past, a global snapshot has taken place. This included stopping the co-ordinator on a temporary basis so that the transaction history can be reduced down, with the community verifying the files of the snapshot. Although this gives nodes an empty database to carry on with, it has meant impractical downtime.
Local Snapshots will overcome this by allowing nodes to sync in just a few short minutes, using a local file rather than the global one. This means that nodes can run on much reduced disk requirements; even as small as a few hundred megabytes. This allows nodes to handle thousands of transactions in just seconds, with no impact from database size. Community members and organisations will now be able to operate true permanodes, which were previously not possible to run due to the constraints of the global snapshots. These permanodes will be capable of holding a full history of all transactions.
The implementation of Local Snapshots is currently being tested internally, with metrics about the feature being collected and reviewed. Beta testing will open in a few weeks time, with updates being made available on the IOTA Discord #snapshots channel.
You can read more in the official announcement here.