A global snapshot has been announced for Monday 17th September running from 10.00 UTC until 17.00 UTC.
If you do not face any issues with database size you will be able to run your node as usual. This is because there will be no changes of significance made to IRI (IOTA Reference Implementation). Instead, the snapshot is being run to allow smaller nodes to remain active. An updated version of IRI is to follow in the future, and will include changes to features.
A global snapshot is effectively when historic transactions are pruned resulting in consolidated balances. This allows nodes to work with a genesis state on an empty database, and is intended to compensate for the growing size of the ledger. However, using global snapshots for this purpose does have its downsides. The coordinator must be stopped in order for the snapshot state to be generated. The file must then be verified by the community before the coordinator can be restarted. You can see from the timings of the next snapshot that this can be a lengthy process.
To overcome these issues, the IOTA Foundation has been developing a local snapshot function, spearheaded by Hans Moog. This function will allow nodes to sync with a smaller, local file which will speed up the process immensely. It also means that nodes no longer need large hard disk requirements and should require less maintenance.
Local snapshots will still run on the same principle of ‘pruning’ the transaction history. This creates space but doing this on a local level means that new nodes can join the network faster, because they will not need to wait to catch up with a copy of the ledger. The local snapshot file can be used to sync the node very quickly through a bootstrap mechanism. It will also be possible for permanodes to operate, which will contain a full ledger transaction history.
The local snapshots function is still in development but will beta testing will be available shortly. You can follow the #snapshots channel on the IOTA Discord for updates.