For years we have been using SuperDuper to create bootable clone backups of all of our Macs. Each Mac has its own external hard drive reserved for backups, and in the event of a massive failure we can be back up and running quickly. The author of SuperDuper is hard at work on a Leopard compatible version, but I did backup each of my Macs under Tiger before doing any upgrades.
As I have been working on this blog entry I’ve been doing my first Time Machine backup on my Mac Pro. It does use a fair amount of CPU, but with 8 cores to play with, no worries.
The new Time Machine feature in Leopard has a different intended use. While SuperDuper does a fantastic job of creating a bootable emergency recovery system, Time Machine is intended to give you a way of falling back to earlier versions of a document, or recovering files deleted unintentionally. I’m using both methods right now. I bought a Fantom G-Force MegaDisk Triple Interface (1tb model linked, I bought the 1.5tb at NewEgg) and I’m currently backing up my internal RAID array to it using Time Machine.
Time Machine is designed for use with an external hard drive, so it is best suited for use with desktop Macs, but you certainly could devote an external drive to a Macbook or Macbook Pro and simply connect it when you are at home or the office, wherever the external drive is kept.
The real advantage of Time Machine is its informal version control capability. With the source for over 70 websites, and over 30,000 digital photos on my system, I have lots and lots of files that change frequently. While this web server always has the most current version of my web content there are times when I wish to refer to an older version. Time Machine checks your entire hard drive once every hour and backs up every file that has changed in that hour. Files from previous days are preserved for a month, and files from previous weeks are preserved until the backup drive becomes full. At this point Time Machine will prompt you to choose to delete some old backup sets or switch to a new backup drive. Since you just enable the feature and the backups take place automatically thereafter, your butt is pretty well covered.
Once SuperDuper has been updated to work with Leopard, I will certainly still make periodic bootable backups of my system in order to be able to get back up and running ASAP. I’ve also learned in the past the hard lesson that it is best not to rely completely on just one backup strategy.
[tags]Leopard, Time Machine, SuperDuper, backup strategy, Apple Mac, Mac Pro, G-Force Megadisk, external hard drives, OS X, new features, CPU utilization[/tags]