Aperture vaults are snapshots of a certain moment. So you can create a collections of vaults saved at specific intervalls, say one each year, or before you upgrade your system. If you keep your older vaults, you will be able to restore images from many years back. If your library is huge, you may only notice years later that an important image got corrupted.
Time machine backups are very convenient and you can go back in time easily, but you can never be sure, how much back in time your backup will go. You have no control over which older versions will be deleted, when TM runs out of space.
Clones are great, i.e. if you create bootable clones. This way you will be able to revert to a previous system without reinstalling. With respect to Aperture libraries cloning your library will give you the same benefits as vaults.
My experience tells me, that a mixture is good. If you can, keep three backups, and not all in the same place.
I keep one backup at my office and two at home. I have a bootable clone, a TimeMachine backup, and occasionally create a new vault. My most important images are in my dropbox and synced to all my macs.
IMO yes, because they're easy to back up, and because if you delete photos, they're moved to a separate side folder next to the vault that you can snag them back, should you ever need it.
From the posts here, a lot more people "ever need it" than think they'd ever need it. Vaults are very convenient, and are fast and easy to update. I have vaults on a number of external drives, some that I offsite, and so I'm glad I have them, in addition to my Time Machine backups.
I am a big fan of having 3 different types of back ups as different methodologies give added insurance. For example I tend to make Super Duper Clones as often as daily. This became a problem recently when a computer died but it scrambled the file structure on the HDD. When I checked my SuperDuper Clones I discovered that the computer's demise must have been preceeded by at least a few days in which the problem on the logic board was growing. The two clones reflected that and rather than having clean copies to migrate from I had clones of scrambled file structures. Lucky they weren't my only back up strategy and I was able to retreive all my data.
I would consider Time Machine, SuperDuper cloning and Aperture Vault are all complimentary and not an either/or proposition. Each has their strengths and each should be considered as a back stop for the others.
As someone whose bacon has been saved by my obsessive approach to backing up on several occasions over the years I swear by the "spread it" philosophy - spread back ups across locations and formats. One is never enough.
Thanks everyone! These are really great!
So, it sounds like there is value in vaults, SuperDuper and TimeMachine.
Can you all tell me what systems you currently use to backup?
I have mostly personal photos (I'm not a professional, but I do take lots of photos). About 1TB worth of photos and 400GB worth of home video.
How frequently do you all backup and in what ways? How many HDs do you back up to?
I clone every time I import photos before I delete the photos from the SD card. In that case I am using the SD card as the temporary backup until I have 3 copies of the library and referenced masters on 3 separate HDD. Only when I have multiple copies do I wipe the SD card. This precaution came from an import many years ago when the import seemed to work okay and I used the delete files on SD card option within Aperture. Only after I clicked delete did the error message appear informing me that the import was not successful. Now I only ever delete on camera and after back ups are made. Thus I might clone twice a day, or once in two days depending on how often I am taking photographs.
Another back up strategy that is often forgotten about is Flickr and similar online photo organisers. Uploading terabytes is impractical from a bandwidth point of view, but your best photos deserve being put into online storage.