Most Valuable Professional
Group: Forum Members
To offer a bit more food for thought, the reason the Rapid Delta Clone option I mentioned above as "Incrementals for disk clones" isn't exactly a TRUE Incremental backup solution is because it's not maintained as a distinct backup from a previous Full, namely the initial clone. With an image file strategy where true Incrementals exist, you would be able to restore to EITHER the state from the original Full backup OR the state from any subsequent Incremental (or Differential) since they are all maintained as unique states in the backup set. With clone jobs, your target's contents are instead being overwritten/updated to reflect the current state of your source each time the clone runs, so even if only the changes are being propagated like an Incremental backup, UNLIKE an Incremental backup there's no way to roll back to an earlier backup that reflects an earlier state. On the other hand, if your source disk ever failed, a clone strategy would allow you to just switch over to that target disk (possibly needing to move it from an external enclosure to an internal connector) and keep right on going, without any need to restore from a file-based backup onto a new disk. That's especially helpful if you would want to use your current target disk as the replacement in such a scenario, since that wouldn't be easy with an image file strategy because you can't restore an image file backup onto the disk that has the image file. You would instead have to copy those files somewhere else temporarily to then restore them to your intended target. Then again, image files allow you to do things like encryption and compression in addition to maintaining historical backup states, neither of which is supported by clone jobs -- even when the source disk is encrypted! Except maybe if you did a sector by sector clone from Rescue Media, but let's not go there.
Bottom line: Make sure you understand the tradeoffs inherent to each strategy when deciding which you want to implement, because it sounds like you're fairly casually considering switching from disk cloning to disk image files, and they are NOT six of one and a half-dozen of the other.