Backup in the cloud was hard for some to do in 2009.

I’m a fan of cloud computing; have been since 1993 when I first heard it promoted.  I’ve found over the years that hype cycles are more cyclical than linear – at least at the macro level – despite the linear representation used by Gartner.

But in any case, 2009 was a tough year for cloud computing and backup.  A few of the problems:

  • The infamous blogging service Journalspace.com failure where 14,000 customer blogs were completely and forever lost.
  • The bookmark storage service Magnolia.com failure where all bookmarks were lost.
  • The T-Mobile Sidekick/Microsoft Danger failure in which 400,000 Sidekick users were told that their contact information was lost (note: Microsoft/Danger actually got a lot of the data restored eventually.)
  • Hewlett Packard Upline (to which I personally subscribed) and Yahoo! Briefcase went belly up – admittedly in a planned fashion.

But nothing…nothing…matched the sheer spectacle of the debacle that was Carbonite and its online backup service.

Carbonite was caught faking customer reviews on Amazon.com.  However, that was nothing compared to the loss of backup data for 7500 customers.  In a move that will reverberate in the annals of poor decision making regarding public relations, after losing the data and no one really noticing, Carbonite filed suit against their storage providers Promise Technologies and Interactive Digital Systems (note: Promise Technology – for enterprise-grade storage – really?)  That raised the issue publicly.  Carbonite employed the…well, unique…theory that data wasn’t really lost for most customers because the customers just re-executed their backups.  Not exactly inspiring, is it?

Comments

  1. Carbonite’s business practices are definitely alarming. What’s worse is when they claim to backup everything, but if you look closely, your video files are not selected for backup unless you explicitly select them. With the popularity of the Flip video camera and more and more users working with digital videos, this can be a huge surprise if you ever need to restore your lost video files. We urge users to look at Mozy, Backblaze or another online backup service.

  2. Of course, the reason that Carbonite doesn’t automatically select video files is the size of these types of files. I think you’re dead right – video is becoming increasingly important – but the size of the files makes online backup problematic.

    Without some type of on-premise appliance, it can take up to a month or more to recover 1TB of data (assuming a dedicated 1.5Mbps T1 line.) That’s a long time to get your data back – and is unacceptable in the small and medium business space if you’re using that data to run your business.

  3. I always tell customers ther is now substitute for having your own backups in your own hands and in your own safety deposit boxes. You are always putting yourself at risk when you subscribe to the ultra cheap online backup services with no real contract, except that if bad stuff happens they are not responsible.

  4. I always tell customers ther is now substitute for having your own backups in your own hands and in your own safety deposit boxes. You are always putting yourself at risk when you subscribe to the ultra cheap online backup services with no real contract, except that if bad stuff happens they are not responsible.

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