MAC Backup Options – An in-depth view of available options and a wish list for a new one (Part 2) !

In the last post we had looked at Time Machine and Time Capsule – the inbuilt Mac OS Back-up and Disaster Recovery options and at the advantages as well as several challenges with those solutions. There are quite a few options available for users to be used in combination with Time Machine or other Mac backup applications to address specific issues. Some of these are :

  1. CCC: Carbon Copy Cloner


Approximate Cost – $40

Features :

  • Incremental bootable copies
  • Encrypted backups to/from network shares
  • Selective backups of folders
  • Fast, block level disk-disk clone, can be used


  1. SuperDuper


Approximate Cost – $ 28

Features :

  • Easy to use interface
  • Option to backup incremental changes


  1. iBackup:

Features :

  • Works on file level
  • Not bootable
  • Allows application settings backups, itunes, iphoto etc more than 250 plugins to chose from
  • Can plug into own cloud based storage


  1. Smartbackup


Approximate Cost – $15


  • Clone backup with bootable cloning
  • Incremental backups
  • Multiple sources to one destination, either external drive or network share
  • Flexibility to choose from among versions of files to restore.
  • No inbuilt scheduler, so iCal or other automator script need to be configured.

A Wish List for a New Mac Backup Solution

All the available options offer some advantages and some challenges – to our mind a new Mac Backup and disaster recovery solution should definitely focus on the following features :

  • Block level backups that can be user scheduled – this would be a significant advance over the file level backup in the Time Machine. Block level backups will be much faster.
  • Backups to internal or external storage like USB drives or Network storage
  • Compression and de-duplication on the block level
  • Provide UI based restore with file level granularity
  • Merge the incremental block level changes to previous full backup and make the drive bootable. In our view this would be an extremely worthwhile advance over the Time Machine.
  • Merging backups coupled with Pruning older ones to improve storage space management.

This is a rapidly evolving space – chances are we will see more new products and solutions rolling out in the months to come. What do you think they should cover apart from what we have covered ?

About the Author: Mandar Shukla is an avid tech enthusiast, working across multiple domains of Backup, Archiving & Storage, Enterprise software performance, Visual computing, Cloud Lifecycle Management. He is a QA professional since 2006 and follows emerging trends in technology to derive inspiration and imagination required for his QA activities.

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