I’m happy to share that the ability to create snapshots without having to power down your Droplet is now live via the cloud control panel as well as through the API. There are no changes to the API and you may simply hit the end-point to create a snapshot without having to first power down the Droplet.
For workloads with high disk I/O, you are still encouraged to shutdown your Droplet before taking a snapshot to maintain data consistency as the data may still be in memory and not fully flushed to disk. From a technical perspective this is similar to how backups are taken as described more in depth here: https://www.digitalocean.com/community/tutorials/understanding-digitalocean-droplet-backups#when-digitalocean-backups-may-not-be-the-best-solution
All feedback, comments, questions and concerns are welcome. Please feel free to email me directly at email@example.com.
Product Manager, Droplet