Did you know that you can easily export all the customizations using the API with just a few lines of code? This is similar to using the export all from the client interface only you can do this form your install, provisioning application or on a regular schedule. For example, we have a windows service that can point to any number of CRM organizations and just pull down a copy on a regular schedule.
This is great for having a regular backup of a development or other high change system. Sure you can backup the database, but sometimes you just want to have a copy of the customizations.
Here's a code example for calling the ExportCompressedAllXmlRequest
Using this method you get back a compressed versions of the customizations - you can also retrieve them in string format using the other export all method.