If I was going for one-package-most-versatile, the solution is Chronosync.
The price ($40) is right, and includes -lifetime- updates; no more mucking about with buying “the next version.”
The product has been around for a while, and has a sterling reputation. I’ve been using it for years. (I also have SuperDuper and Carbon Copy Cloner, both also excellent products, but not as versatile as Chronosync.)
A few days ago, I finally got around to testing Chronosync for it’s ability to clone a drive, like SuperDuper and CCC. It passed with flying colors. (Yes: I wiped a drive; cloned my large boot drive; and then actually booted from it and snooped around to verify success.)
Now, what makes Chronosync so special? The answer is that it can do pretty much whatever you can think of in terms of backups.
You can backup files; folder; or entire volumes in pretty much any combination you want. You can choose to exclude certain files or folders; you can choose to archive old versions when replaced or deleted. You can set schedules for automated backups or do it manually. You can choose local or remote volumes as the destination. You can choose to backup remote (networked) machines (altho that is helped by the $10 extra cost “ChronoAgent.”)
The degree of control you can exercise is fantastic and quite detailed. For example, when the source has an older version of a file than the one on the destination, you can specify what is to happen: pause and ask user; copy anyway; archive new one; add to log file etc…)
Chronosync can also be used as a replacement for TimeMachine (yay! I never had any success with TM; my setup is just too large for it to handle without choking.) Of course it doesn’t have TM’s fancy interface when restoring, but neither is it incomprehensible: just look in the archives and find the file you want.)
The trick to all this is the use of single-operation sheets of instructions, which may be sufficient by themselves (think backup a folder or volume) or can be combined into sets of sheets to perform comprehensive operations. Then, these single or grouped sheets can be automated (scheduled) if you like.
Once you understand this, the process becomes quick and simple.
Here are some examples:
I have one sheet that backs up several different volumes on to a 4 TB removable drive, whenever I insert that drive. In short: a full backup of my working environment in one full swoop.
I have individual backups of individual volumes.
I have a set of rotating clones of my boot drive.
When I’m working on an intense project, such as programming for the iPhone, I have one sheet backing up and archiving older states, every 30 minutes. That way, if I seriously goof up, or disaster strikes, I’m never out more than 29 minutes of work.
I have one sheet I use as a template for random folder-to-folder syncs: I load the sheet; drop in the source and destination; and hit the go button. (What makes this worth doing is, of course, that Chronosync only transfers changed files, so the process is quite speedy.)
And finally there is this: Chronosync has never failed me… and I’ve been through them all, from Retrospect on forward.
Chronosync is where I finally settled. FWIW.