I just completed a very interesting, and I think important test. I successfully used SuperDuper's Smart Update to create a full backup of my large Managed Library. The copy I updated was from early July, and was about 840 GB in size, and had over 50,000 images. (There are more recent backups, btw.) The current Library to be backed up is 888 GB is size, with over 55,000 images. Copying this in the Finder, in full, would take on the order of 5+ hours if both drives are internal, and a great deal longer if using an external as the target.
This Smart Update was accomplished in 36 minutes. It reports the exact same number of Versions and Masters as the source library, and opens without issue. The very few referenced images retained their path of connection as in the original Library.
One thing I had to remember to do, since the target library copy was done prior to the most recent Aperture and OSX updates, was to remember to open it in Aperture and let it be upgraded before attempting the Smart Update in SD. I had tried this once before, with another volume, but since I had not allowed it to be upgraded, the Smart Update found nothing up-to-date and had to copy in full.
This is very handy, and time saving procedure. I will likely continue to do some full copying in the Finder if for no other reason than to assure minimal fragmentation in the volume exclusively devoted to the library. With the Managed Library and clones as backups, I am ready toi go if something goes wrong without having to restore from Vault, say.
SuperDuper is what I have been making clones of boot volumes with for sometime. I have always done those as full copies to a new hard drive or volume on a drive.
However, the copying can be done utilizing the Smart Update feature in SD to only copy the things that have changed since the last copy was made. I have not used that with boot volume clones, but could.
The main issue is that it only deals with complete volumes -- those volumes that mount on your Desktop. So the Smart Update would apply to everything on a source volume for updating or copying to a target volume. My primary Aperture Library is on a dedicated volume -- currently a 1.4 TB partition on a 2 TB disk drive in my Mac Pro. The copy I reported on was made to a 1 TB drive with only one partition. I am also using another 2 TB drive partitioned as above as a backup also, along with yet another 1 TB drive.
Folders on a volume will be updated only for what has been added, plus erase anything no longer found in the source folder that once was there. But you cannot pick and choose folders -- it must apply to all folders on a particular volume.
Ernie -- thanks for the full and clear explanation. I'll have to think this through. I regularly run Libraries off their own drives (with Masters on another drive -- a setup I've found quicker than putting Library and Masters together on one drive), so I'm comfortable with the idea -- and for those Libraries it sounds as though SuDu would be a very big time saver.
I had something else in mind with my question about Finder folders -- and clearly SuDu isn't the right solution there.
To recap: The original library had 91463 versions and 92290 masters
The library restored from the original vault had 91113 versions and 91087 masters
So I did the experiment Frank suggested: I created a new vault from the original library (which had since been copied to a new drive) then restored a blank library from the new vault. There was still a discrepancy in the number of versions, but the number of masters was spot on: 91444 versions 92290 masters. There was also a 7GB discrepancy in the file size
There was also still a 19 image discrepancy in the all photos view. which matches the versions discrepancy shown in the "Library choice window".
I'm not sure what all this tells us about the long term reliability of vaults. The original vault was created when A3 was released and had been updated 100s of times.
I do think that I'm going to take another look at Super Duper.
I think Chronosync is also worth a mention when looking at incremental syncing software. It is very customisable, it can back up individual folders or packages, it can give email warnings when it encounters errors, and it has built in scheduling. There is also an option to run a trial sync to see what is going to change before you run the sync proper.