One of my favorite backup tools, Synk Professional has added in special support for Aperture users. After many requests, the developers at Synk decided to add a special clause that allows the software to backup your Aperture library incrementally. This means that instead of the software seeing seeing the Aperture.library package change as a single unit (meaning any small change would require the entire library to be backed up again) Synk can now see down into the package and will only backup the changes.
Synk is a pretty powerful backup tool to begin with. I have it set up on all of my machines to backup every hour to a network drive in the apartment. It runs entirely in the background and works beautifully.
I have spent quite a bit of time researching and trying out different backup tools for the mac, and in the end I chose Synk Pro. The main obstacles I found with most of the backup tools out there were the following. I needed something that would be able to backup multiple user accounts at the same time. Synk Pro accomplishes this by giving you the option of running the backup as root (or any other user on the machine for that matter). I also really wanted something powerful in that it would have to allow me the ability to create multiple plans with multiple destinations. Synk Pro supports “N-Way” backups meaning you can literally backup your machine to an unlimited number of destinations.
One problem I have found with all backup software has been large files that change often. The three biggest files that have fit this category have been my Aperture library file, any Parallels hard hard disk files, and my iDisk’s .dmg file. The last two were easy to solve. I simply told Synk Pro to skip any .hdd files located inside the Parallels directory. I don;t keep any valuable data on the Parallels disks so I don’t mind losing them in the event of a crash. As for the iDisk, I decided to just turn off iDisk syncing. I don’t use my iDisk enough to require syncing and now that my iDisk is 10 Gig (actually I have mine set to 8 gig with 2 gig left for email), syncing it takes up that much more disk space. But the Aperture library file was still a problem. I could tell Synk to skip it and deal with backing up Aperture using the Vault system, but I wanted something automated.
I guess a number of other users did too, because it seems that the makers of Synk were somewhat opposed to the idea at first. After reading through the forums I found that the Synk policy was to treat all package files as a single unit. They really didn’t want to change their tune on this, but after many requests form users they made an exception, just for us (and iPhoto users).
There has been a good deal of speculation as to what Leopard’s Time Machine backup system will do to applications like Synk and all the other popular backup clients. Many feel that with Time Machine there will be little to no need for third party backup programs. Personally, I can’t see this happening. We can’t say for sure until Leopard is released to the public later this month, but I feel pretty strongly that there will always be room for an application as powerful as Synk Professional.
Synk comes in three flavors, and starts at $25 for the basic Synk Backup version. Synk Professional, which is the version I have had the most luck with costs $45.