• Employing Cloud Solutions in Small Businesses [INFOGRAPHIC]

    by Lynnette Nolan | Dec 06, 2013

    No matter the industry, when your home is your office, you’re often an IT professional too! Our recent survey shows that, from saving time and money to utilizing new technologies to streamlining operations, employing cloud solutions greatly benefits small businesses.

    Almost all small businesses are actually using the cloud in some capacity, but nearly half of our respondents thought they were working without it. So it’s no surprise that 8 out of 10 respondents admitted they aren’t using the cloud to its full potential.

    One of the best ways to employ the cloud at your small business is with automatic online backup.

    If you’re already using Carbonite, you know the cloud is brings benefits with automatic, offsite backup. But did you know that with our Anytime, Anywhere Access feature, the cloud can do even more? From anytime, anywhere access, to restoring lost or deleted files, the cloud acts as an amazing personal assistant whose got your back(up).

    Check out this infographic to learn more about work from home trends, visit our Small Business Hub for articles about efficiency and productivity.

  • Captain Carbonite Drops in from the Cloud and Hits the Streets!

    by Lynnette Nolan | Mar 28, 2013

    Last week, Captain Carbonite dropped in to surprise and remind us that he’s got our back(up)!

    Today, he’s back on the streets of Boston – in Harvard Square, Government Center and Copley Square  – sharing info about Carbonite and Backup Day, which is this Sunday!

    Wondering how one awesome backup superhero can be in three places at once?! It actually makes perfect sense: he’s an advocate for data protection and to be totally secure, data should be kept in more than one place. Even though you may be backing up to disks or external hard drives, a copy should always be stored in the cloud under Captain Carbonite’s watchful eye.

    We hope you join Captain Carbonite in his Backup Day celebrations! If you’re not in Boston, you can still participate in the festivities by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook. And if you spot the Captain out and about, we’d love to see your pics – don’t forget to use the hashtag #CaptCarbonite!

  • Introducing Currents Beta! A Post by our EVP of New Ventures

    by Lynnette Nolan | Jan 22, 2013

    Backing up your computer used to be cumbersome and expensive. Several years ago, when Carbonite was just getting started, we bet that if we made cloud backup simple and affordable, everyone would use it. When we placed that bet seven years ago, all five of us fit in CEO Dave Friend’s home office. And it really paid off: to date we've backed up over 200 billion files, take in about 300 million per day and we've restored over 7 billion files that would have otherwise been lost forever to very happy customers.

    The technology world has changed a lot since we started the company. Today, people are creating and consuming more data than ever and doing so across multiple devices and cloud services. We have the freedom to connect, share and collaborate in ways that were hard to imagine just a few years ago.

    But, with all this freedom comes complexity and confusion. For example, my files are scattered all over the place (two computers, an iPhone, iPad and Google Drive). I have links in emails to files people have shared with me. I want access to the stuff I’m working on no matter where I am or which device I’m using. Lots of people find themselves in the same situation. Some email stuff to themselves. Others (including me) put stuff in a synced folder (but you have to remember to do that!). And so a lot of time and energy that could be spent on getting work done instead goes into dealing with digital clutter.

    My New Ventures team at Carbonite is working to bring order and simplicity to this confusion – just like we did with backup seven years ago. Today I’m excited to announce the launch of Currents (beta). Currents is a free set of apps (for iOS, Android, Windows and Mac) that keep the files you’re currently working on at your fingertips. Currents is our first step in that direction. You can read more to learn how Currents works or you can check it out at Carbonite Labs.

    Currents is a list of files that you've created, opened or saved on any of your devices within the last 30 days. The list appears with one click, and the files on the list are kept synced across all your devices. Just work the way you usually work, and Currents will keep track of everything! For example, you can create a PowerPoint presentation at the office, save it and go home, and you'll find it waiting on the Currents list on your home computer (and on your phone or tablet on the way home!).

    Currents also makes it really easy to share and collaborate on your files with others. You can control who may view, or edit on any given file with just a couple of clicks. If you share a file and then make changes, the people you share it with will automatically get the newest version. You and your collaborators can exchange comments on files right within the app. And if someone makes a mistake, or you accidentally delete something, no problem because Currents keeps previous versions.

    I hope you'll download the free Currents beta on all of the devices you work on and let us know what you think!

    - Swami Kumaresan

  • Putting the Cloud to Work for Your SMB

    by Lynnette Nolan | Jan 21, 2013

    The cloud is a valuable asset for small businesses with vast responsibilities, but minimal resources. With cloud solutions, SMBs can solve IT dilemmas that they might otherwise need to outsource, often at a high cost. This Wall Street Journal article highlights companies that have turned to the cloud and reduced their third-party IT costs by thousands of dollars!

    Cloud applications are becoming commonplace solutions for businesses, and when SMBs put the cloud to work, they can increase productivity and cut IT-related costs. Some of the more popular ways small businesses are using the cloud today include:

    • Email, like Gmail or Office 365
    • Customer Relationship Management (CRM), like Salesforce
    • Financial software, likeQuickBooks Online
    • And of course, backup – like Carbonite!

    How does your small business put the cloud to use? At Carbonite, our business is the cloud. If you’re interested in the better backup plan for yours, give us a call. You can even try us free for 30-days , with no risk or commitment.


  • The Buzz Over Big Data: Thoughts from Dave Friend

    by Lynnette Nolan | Oct 30, 2012

    I presented last week at Xconomy's BIG DATA Forum.  It wasn't until after I accepted that I realized I didn't know what the term big data actually means.  So I turned to Wikipedia to find out.  According to Wikipedia, "The term big data is a buzzword, and is frequently misused to mean any form of large-scale data or information processing."  Well, that explains why I was invited to speak.  "Large-scale data" is Carbonite in a nutshell.  I wouldn't use the term "big data" for Carbonite.  We're more like "Extremely Large Data" or "gigundous amounts of data."

    Big data is far from a new idea, of course.  Regression analysis, one of the first mathematical treatments of data sets, was described by the mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss in the early 1800s.  Back in the early 1990s, I was CEO of a company in Cambridge called Pilot Software and we did what at that time was called Data Mining.  Our flagship product was a multidimensional database that was especially good at slicing and dicing very large transactional databases looking for patterns and anomalies.  It was used by companies like McDonald's and JCPenney to uncover nuggets of useful management information in the vast quantities transactional data produced by their cash registers.  There are many other buzzwords that have come and gone as well, including business intelligence, data analytics, decision support, data dredging and so on.

    So I had to ask myself, what's makes big data different from the "data mining" I was doing more than a decade ago.  As far as I can tell, it's mostly a matter of quantity, with data now coming from all kinds of devices and places, not just cash registers.

    So, just why does big data warrant a new buzzword?  I can think of three reasons: 1) it's probably harder to raise venture capital for a data mining company these days, 2) maybe it helps IT professionals justify bigger budgets, and 3) of course, how could you organize a successful conference without a new buzzword? ;)

    Personally, I appreciate that Google can use big data to serve up an ad for something I might actually find interesting or that Netflix knows that I might prefer Steven Hawking to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  But I'd be cautious about all the hype about big data because it's is no substitute for judgment.  Judgment is actually the ultimate form of big data.  You are taking a lifetime of experiences and applying them in a very sophisticated way to predict what's going to happen in the future.  For example, with all the data that's available in the financial markets, with computers making millisecond high velocity trades, MIT-trained physicists and mathematicians laboring away in the bowels of Goldman Sachs,  there is still no way to replace a Peter Lynch or a Warren Buffet.

    The stuff we do with computers is trivial by comparison.  This morning when I was eating breakfast, my cat leapt a good six feet from the sink to the table and landed perfectly right between my newspaper and the cereal bowl.  I thought, wow, now that's big data at work.  Think of the accumulated experience and judgment that it took to pull that off.  Think of the enormous quantity of visual data, the 3D image processing, the billions of neurons, the precise muscle control, the knowledge that if you land on the newspaper it's going to slide, and the knowledge that if you land on my cereal bowl you're going to get whacked.  That's big data and it's humbling.

    So that brought me back to what was I doing talking about big data? Is Carbonite really big data or just ‘a lot of data'?  Well, according to another definition I found on the web, "Big data involves the extraction of useful insight from volumes of data so large that traditional database tools cannot handle the workload."   Well, we would certainly qualify on to "too large for traditional database" front.  In fact, we get over 300 million new files every day.  And we add around a petabyte of storage every couple of weeks.  I doubt that very many companies in New England have more data than Carbonite. 

    But as for the "insights," well, the whole idea in backup is you have this sacred trust with your customers that you're not supposed to know anything about them. And you're certainly not supposed to be able to glean any kind of insights from the contents of their computers.   To break that sacred trust would probably spell doom in our business.  We spend tens of millions a year on advertising to create a trusted brand.  What does "trusted" brand mean?  It means your data is private. Confidential. Secure.  Nobody gets to look at it for any reason.  We bend over backwards to encrypt at every step of the process.  There are zero unencrypted customer files in our data centers.  We hire white-hat hackers to try to compromise our security.  We have PhDs on our team whose sole job is to prevent people from extracting insights from our customer's data.  So just what do we do with all that data?  We store it and give it back to our customers when they want it.  That's it.

    The one thing we may have in common with big data is that it takes very specialized technology just to deal with the volumes.  Commercial databases and file systems aren't designed to work at this scale.  I remember when we were first starting out we stored backed up files using Window's NTFS file system.  When we got to about 500 million files, things got trickier.  So we called Microsoft and they asked "How many files do you have?"  We told them "about 500 million."  There was a good 10 seconds of silence on the other end of the line.   "Uh, NTFS wasn't really designed to handle that many files."  Since then we have backed up over 200 billion files and keeping track of all of them and insuring that none of them are corrupted takes very specialized technology.  Especially when you consider that it has to be done very inexpensively because we offer unlimited backup for $59 per year.

    And all this new data comes salted with some interesting new privacy issues.  While we most definitely don't want to know anything about the data on our customers' computers, we do know some things that help us provide a better service WITHOUT violating the sacred trust between us and our users.  For example, we can suggest tips and user hints based on the type of computer or mobile devices our customers are using Carbonite with.

    But, as I think about big data on whole, one concern is that even data that is innocuous by social media or credit card company standards, tilts the playing field away from the inpidual.  For example, if I am shopping for a flight, it's easy for a travel site to figure out how badly I need to go on a certain day and price my ticket accordingly.  Think about it.  If you're on a plane with 200 other passengers, how many do you think paid the same price that you paid?  It's the same with hotel rooms, or any number of other services.   The problem is the systems know more about you than you probably want them to know, and that could put you potentially at a disadvantage.

    Something else to consider is the potential for prying.  In most countries, we assume our governments are benign, that the magazines we read, the books we take from the library, the causes we support, the purchases we make, even the places we visit, will not be used by some government to persecute us in the future.  It doesn't even have to be a government – when you apply for a home mortgage for example, and you're denied, do you really always know the whole truth about why?  It's all in your big data, but that doesn't mean the data is correct and it doesn't mean that you will ever know what's really there.

    For those of you whose businesses are based on big data, I urge you to use caution when dealing with privacy issues.  Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant."  I think that may apply to businesses as well.

  • Confused About the Cloud? You're Not Alone [Infographic]

    by Lynnette Nolan | Jul 16, 2012

    Do you remember when you got your first computer? Chances are you purchased one to dabble in email, play games, browse the internet (when your phone line was free) and use a word processor. Today, our lives are on our computers, virtually speaking. Our entertainment, financial records, family photos and everything we need to do our jobs are made available to us by a small machine that at times can be quite temperamental. We know we should be protecting ourselves against losing data — whether by theft, hard drive failures, disasters or a simple wayward click of the mouse —but figuring out the best way to protect ourselves can be overwhelming.

    The rise of cloud computing has given us many options when it comes to storing and accessing our data, including online backup, syncing and storage. But, backup, syncing and storage are designed to meet different needs. And, as Carbonite found in a recent survey, most Americans are confused by all the cloud offerings that promise to backup, sync or store their data, and only 1/3 understand that backup is the most effective method for protecting data.  So let’s take a look at these services and cut through the cloud confusion.

    Online backup automatically makes current and continual copies of your files and stores these copies separate from your computer system in the cloud. With online backup, if anything happens to your original files, you don’t need to worry, because you can restore your content easily. Online backup providers that offer remote access (like Carbonite!) also ensure that all your files can be accessed anytime, anywhere — from a computer, mobile device or tablet.

    Storage merely provides space for users to manually select files to save in the cloud, essentially extending your computer storage versus keeping a second copy of your data. Storage providers generally lack automatic service and it can be a cumbersome process to choose each and every file you want to store a copy of. Plus, if you’re away from your computer or your hard drive crashes, you’ll only be able to access those specific files you have manually saved in the cloud.

    Syncing copies specific files or folders from your computer to the cloud and to your other devices. They usually offer a small amount of storage – say, 2GBs – for free.  If you need more than that, you may have to pay about $10-20 per month depending on the service, or you’ll likely need to manage your data limits. The files you manually select will be available on your other devices, but the files you haven’t selected– whether due to space limitations or your choice – won’t be available remotely or backed up anywhere.

    Why does it matter that consumers understand these options? Fifty-one percent of Americans have experienced a computer crash where they lost everything, and people relying on basic storage and syncing providers aren’t protected against that kind of complete data loss. Online backup is the only way to ensure all your files are backed up, accessible and easily recovered in case the worst does happen.

  • Learn How to Propel Your Reseller Business with Carbonite

    by Lynnette Nolan | Jun 28, 2012

    Carbonite’s next reseller webinar is on July 25, and will feature five ways resellers can jumpstart sales. In keeping with the number five, here are five reasons that now is the time for resellers to focus on the online backup market!

    1. Rise of the cloud – According to recent data from Gartner, by 2016, consumers will store more than a third of their digital content in the cloud – up from only 7 percent in 2011.
    2. Mobility brings new data needs – Telecommuting, flexible workplaces and a boom in internet-connected devices mean that employees don’t have to be sitting at a desk to get the job done. Online backup with remote access ensures that important files are always available.
    3. Opportunity for growth – Small businesses and consumers are an underserved market in online backup. Most services are too expensive for these users, leaving great potential for resellers.
    4. Building relationships – Providing online backup as a part of your disaster recovery services is a great way to build relationships with customers. When online backup resellers are able create an ongoing relationship where they can support their clients’ backup needs, they are in a prime position to build lasting and mutually beneficial relationships.
    5. Align with well-known brands – Partnering with a recognized company to provide online backup services can get new clients in the door and help sell additional services to existing clients.  Vendors that provide resellers with superior customer service will help ensure the highest level of satisfaction by the reseller’s clients.

    To learn more about the Carbonite Reseller Program, and for tips on how to maximize sales, join us on July 25 for a free webinar! Webinar details are below:

    Webinar: Propel Your Reseller Business with Carbonite Online Backup: Top 5 Tips to Jumpstart Sales

    Description: Our newly improved Reseller Program will take your business to new heights. In this session, the Carbonite Reseller Account Management team will provide an overview of the Carbonite Reseller Program and how it can help online backup resellers grow their businesses. Attendees will learn:

    • What benefits a reseller will receive from joining the Carbonite Reseller Program
    • An overview of the new Carbonite Reseller Dashboard and the top 5 tips and tricks to jumpstart your sales
    • How you can grow your business as a Carbonite online backup reseller

    Click here to view the full details and to register now!

  • Calling All Resellers: Get Your Share of the $150B Cloud Services Market Webinar

    by Lynnette Nolan | Jun 11, 2012

    Join the Carbonite Reseller team on Wednesday, June 27th for a free, live webinar designed to educate you on how you can grow your business with cloud services.

    Webinar overview:
    According to Gartner, by the end of 2013 the cloud computing market will grow to about $150 billion! It’s time for you to start capitalizing on this opportunity with your own piece of the cloud business to grow your client base and increase your profits.

    Attendees will learn:
    - Why to put the cloud to work for you to grow your client base and make more money!
    - The top 5 benefits of cloud services that make it easy for your reseller business to succeed
    - How to jumpstart your business and get into the cloud with online backup

    Consumers and businesses are increasingly turning to resellers for their expertise in implementation and management of cloud services, and you don’t want to get left behind by your competitors – you want to grow your business and increase sales. Attend this vital session and start capitalizing on this huge opportunity now!

    Technical Requirements: Internet connection and speakers/headphones.

    Click here to register now!

  • Cloud 201

    by Lynnette Nolan | Apr 01, 2011

    In last week's post (Cloud 101) Chris shared his thoughts on what "the cloud" is today and why it’s been the subject of so much recent hype. I thought I’d continue the conversation with a few thoughts on where "the cloud" is headed and what that means to Carbonite.

    When I first started using the Internet, it was basically a telephone network for data, providing point-to-point access to data and web pages on some remote server. I remember my very first web browsing session - I pulled up pictures of sculpture at an exhibition in New Zealand. It was very exciting to be connected to a computer all the way on the other side of the world.

    Then came services like YouTube. Who knows (or cares) where all those YouTube videos are stored? They are just out there somewhere "in the cloud."

    When we started Carbonite back in 2005, we had the idea of allowing our customers to back up their files to the cloud. It probably doesn’t matter much to you whether your files are in our Boston data center, our Somerville data center, or anywhere else for that matter.

    Now that we’ve backed up close to 100 billion files to the cloud, we’re finding that there’s a lot more value there than just keeping your data safe. Our mobile apps that enable you to browse your photos, listen to your music, and read and share your documents are really taking off. Users tell us that they no longer need to bring their computers on the road because they can access all of their files on their Smartphones or iPads.

    This phenomenon highlights how “the cloud” is ultimately going to change the value of services like Carbonite. Today most people think of their data living on their PCs and the backups living in the cloud. But in the future, as people get used to accessing their data directly from the cloud, the cloud version will become the one they care about. So instead of worrying about the data on your PC, you’ll focus on your “personal cloud” where the data from all your devices comes together in one place. If you lose your PC, or Smartphone, you’ll have to replace the device, but you won’t give the data that was on it a second thought. The “real” version of the data is the version that is in the cloud – the copy that Carbonite has.

    You can already see this trend underway. Tablet computers, like the iPad, are really data access tools. And “access” is what most people are doing on the Internet. But until products like Carbonite came around, you could get to those photos from New Zealand more easily than you could get to your own files! Once your files are in the cloud, however, it’s a new ballgame.

    Our growth over the past 5 years has been driven by users’ desire to keep their files safe. Over the next 5 years, our growth will increasingly be fueled by the desire of our customers to access and share their files anytime, anywhere, on any device. We are freeing them from being tethered to their PCs. So while the backup story has been about freedom from worrying about data loss, we’re now talking about a different kind of freedom – the freedom that comes from the always-connected world of mobile computing where everything you need is in the cloud.


  • Cloud 101

    by Lynnette Nolan | Mar 28, 2011

    Unless you live under rock, you’ve probably been hearing quite a bit about “The Cloud” lately. I thought I’d cut through the hype with a simple explanation.

    "The cloud" is generally used in conjunction with web-based services that store content on remote servers that are accessed via the Internet. The most widely-used of these are webmail providers like Gmail, user-generated content services like YouTube and Social Networks like Facebook. The data that is stored on their servers is said to live in the cloud.

    So, if millions of people have been using the cloud for over a decade how did it become the digerati’s buzzword of the moment?

     A number of factors have converged to make the cloud a hot topic including:

    • Cheaper storage
    • Increased availability of high-speed internet connections
    • Growing popularity of lightweight devices (smartphones, iPads, netbooks, etc) with limited onboard memory

    The increased affordability of storage and bandwidth, coupled with the growing use of portable devices to access the Internet have led to the rapid adoption and expansion of cloud-based services. Then, Madison Avenue picked up on the buzzword du jour and next thing you know you’re scratching your head wondering what the "to the cloud" commercial you just watched is all about. That’s how hype happens.

    One thing is for sure though. Regardless of what you call it – or how you spin it – the cloud is here to stay.

    In the next installment of this series (Cloud 201) - CEO David Friend will share his thoughts on where the cloud is headed and what that means for Carbonite users.

  • Its Your Cloud, Do What You Wanna Do

    by Lynnette Nolan | Nov 11, 2010

    This week we released Carbonite Access for Android – our most feature-rich mobile app to date. If you’re familiar with our iPhone and Blackberry mobile apps, you may have correctly guessed that this free application provides Carbonite subscribers with the ability to quickly and easily access all of their backed up files through their Android phone.

    But that’s not all it does. It also enables Carbonite users to easily share their files via email, Facebook, Picasa and many other Android-supported applications, as well as to instantly listen to their backed up music and view their backed up photos directly on their phone.

    There are two big advances in the Android app. I think we’re the first backup application to offer thumbnail photo browsing. We take all your backed up photos and compute thumbnails on the fly so that you can browse your pictures just as you would browse locally stored photos on your phone. We pre-cache photos so that when you’re flipping from photo to photo, it’s fast. The other big advance is music playback: when you click on a tune, it starts playing right away – you don’t have to wait for the whole tune to download.

    There are many cloud-based applications these days, such as Flickr, mp3tunes.com, Google docs, Picasa, and so forth. The key difference between those services and Carbonite Access, is that your songs, photos, documents, and other files are already backed up to the Carbonite cloud – you don’t have to upload anything. And all you content is available at the touch of a finger in one place.

    You’re going to be hearing a lot more about the idea of a “personal cloud.” In a world where you’re always connected, no matter where you are, you should be able to get at any file on any of your computers. When you back up your computers with Carbonite, you are creating a “personal cloud,” and now it’s our job to ensure that you can access it anytime, anywhere.

    CEO, Carbonite

  • AppleTV Drops Local Storage in Favor of the Cloud

    by Lynnette Nolan | Oct 19, 2010

    Apple recently released a new version of their AppleTV. For those of you who aren't familiar with this device, I'll share a bit of history.

    When AppleTV launched a little over three years ago, it was essentially an iPod, the size of a book, that you could plug into your TV. You could purchase a model with a 40GB hard drive for $299, import your music, videos and photos to it and enjoy these files through your TV and home stereo. It was an innovative product, but it never really took off the way many of Apple's products have. My instinct tells me that many people were not willing to pay $299 for a glorified 40GB hard drive they could plug into their TV.

    Fast-forward three years to the current release. This version is just $99 and it now fits in the palm of your hand. How did Apple manage to deliver a more fully- featured device at 1/3 the cost just a few short years later? Easy – they dropped local storage and moved the content to the cloud.

    The new AppleTV streams music, videos and photos from any Apple computer in your home network, as well as a new streaming rental system that offers instant delivery of movies and TV shows both from Netflix and Apple's iTunes store. Not only is this device cheaper, smaller and easier to set-up, but rather than being limited to 40GB of local memory, the new AppleTV will play an unlimited amount of cloud-based content.

    As an entrepreneur, I'm always interested to learn about any new product coming out of Cupertino – they run a product development and marketing machine out there that is the envy of the tech industry. However, I find AppleTV's evolution to be of particular interest, because I see clear parallels between they way they have leveraged the cloud to optimize their product and the way Carbonite has leveraged the cloud to optimize data backup.

    Just a few years ago, when you said "backup" it implied a local external hard drive. Now, with products like Carbonite, it's all in the cloud. Like the original Apple TV, traditional backup methods are limited by storage capacity, they are complicated, expensive, and easy for the average user to mess up. Plus, consumer-grade external hard drives are failure-prone and easy to damage. Knock one off the table onto a hard floor, and all your data is gone.

    With the new AppleTV, you don't need a local drive – movies stream directly over the Internet. The same thing happens with Carbonite. If you have Carbonite, all of your files are automatically in the cloud. You don't have to do a thing – it just happens. Now that your files are in the cloud, you can get to them from anywhere. Want to show your friend at work a picture that's on your home computer? No problem – Carbonite has your picture backed up and you can access it on your smartphone using one of our mobile apps. Forgot your laptop for an important presentation? No problem – just grab the powerpoint file from your Carbonite backup using any computer. We're transitioning into a whole new world where all your data lives in your "personal cloud" and is accessible anywhere on Earth, with any device. And it all happens with no effort; no wires, no hardware, no software to learn and nothing to remember other than knowing you're backed up.

    CEO, Carbonite

  • Running a Small Business?

    by Lynnette Nolan | Aug 19, 2009

    If you run a small business, backing up your data is critical. In fact, in the UK, all businesses are legally obligated to keep certain data records for a minimum of seven years. Not doing so could lead to a hefty fine or even prison sentence if vital data cannot be provided upon request.

    I recently wrote an article for SME Web that addresses how SMEs with a limited IT budget can still protect themselves against losing critical business files.

    SME Web is an online resource for owners and managers of small and medium sized companies in the UK, offering them best-practice advice on how to run their business. If you're interested in reading the full article, click here.

    CEO, Carbonite

  • Online Backup or Local Backup? Sometimes Both.

    by Lynnette Nolan | Dec 16, 2008

    Last week, a user posted on her blog: Are there any real advantages to a Windows Home Server other than remote access and backing up multimedia?

    One respondent said it was just a "NAS with a fancy menu." Even though the blogger already has Carbonite, a NAS or some kind of local or network backup can make some sense. I don’t see Home Server as competition. I see it as complimentary.

    I was recently talking to one of our users who was concerned that his initial backup was taking too long. Turns out he had over 200GBs of TV shows that he'd recorded and he was backing them up on Carbonite. Using his DSL connection, it's probably going to take him several months to back up all that stuff and meanwhile his business documents (Word and Excel primarily) are waiting in the queue and could be lost if his computer crashed in the meantime. When I asked him how important the TV shows were, his answer was "I really don't care about the TV shows. If I lost them, it wouldn't be the end of the world."

    My suggestion: If there are REALLY BIG files that have relatively low value, back them up locally. If you have small files that are high value, back them up on Carbonite. When the important files are safe and sound, then you can back up the other stuff. Most people never bother to learn how to select what they do and don't want to back up with Carbonite. It's pretty simple (just right click on the folder with the TV shows and select Carbonite – don't back this up). Local backup, of course, is a lot faster than backing up over the Internet. But, as you can see from the post about my son's fire, local backup does have certain limitations.

    CEO, Carbonite

  • Homemade DVDs: Going, Going, Gone?

    by Lynnette Nolan | Dec 15, 2008

    Think backing up to DVDs is a good idea? Not in the opinion of David Pogue, the technology columnist for the New York Times. I hadn't thought about this, but holy smokes! Here's an excerpt from his Dec. 10th post:

    Homemade DVD’s: Going, Going, Gone?

    Jeez Louise. A conference organizer asked if I could put together a DVD loop of my funniest Web videos, to play in the registration area while attendees stand in line. No problem, I thought: I've got all of the original iMovie projects backed up on DVD, in clear cases, neatly arrayed in a drawer next to my desk. (My hard drive wasn't big enough to hold those 50 videos a year.) Guess what? On the Mac I use for video editing, most of the DVD's were unreadable. They're less than four years old! … I know, of course, that home-burned DVD's, which rely on organic dye that deteriorates with time, are nowhere near as long-lived as commercially pressed discs. But man. Four years? Scared the bejeezus out of me. I've been told by experts that the gold DVD blanks can indeed last 100 years. Guess I'll be trying that next!

    So even if you can find the DVDs (would surely be a problem in my messy office) and they don't get scratched or destroyed, they may just be completely unreadable. Another reason to back up online.

    CEO, Carbonite

  • Where Have All the Files Gone?

    by Lynnette Nolan | Sep 17, 2008

    I thought you all might be interested to see where all your files live when you back up with Carbonite. This is one aisle of disk drives from our Boston data center. What you're looking at are arrays of 16 1TB data-center grade drives in a RAID-6 array. 3 of the 16 drives would have to fail simultaneously before we would lose any data. This RAID configuration is 36 million times more reliable than a single disk drive. Generally we don't even wait for a drive to fail — we have software that can tell when a drive is starting to get flakey and an alarm goes off on our operations console. A technician pulls the disk and puts in a new one. Within an hour, the new disk is automatically rebuilt and the full redundancy is restored. Every day we back up almost 60 million new files. We have backed up over 11 billion files since we turned our data center on in May 2006. The data center has over 9 petabytes of storage (a petabyte is a million gigabytes). All of this data flows in and out of our data center on two little fiber optic cables the size of a lamp cord. Truly amazing.

    CEO, Carbonite

  • Carbonite Data Center: Security, Encryption and Redundancy

    by Lynnette Nolan | Jun 05, 2008

    Several people have asked me to post a description of our infrastructure. As I mentioned in my previous post about HP’s infrastructure difficulties, "HP Upline and the challenge of large scale backup," keeping billions of files safe is no small task.

    The first thing you should know about our architecture is that we never handle unencrypted data. Carbonite encrypts all files before they leave your PC. We use 128-bit Blowfish encryption. I’ve been told that Blowfish has never been cracked. It is the strongest commercial encryption on the market.

    Carbonite employs the most sophisticated firewalls and intrusion detection systems available. We pay a professional hacker firm to attack the data center constantly, looking for security holes. I think our defenses are as good as most banks. Heise Security recently wrote about how they hacked into many of our competitors’ backup systems but were unable to hack into Carbonite Their so-called “Man-In-The-Middle” test attack is something we designed against from the beginning. Frankly, I was amazed that most of the other vendors were so easily hacked by these guys and backed up files either compromised or deleted.

    At our secure data center, your data is stored on arrays of 1-terabyte enterprise-grade drives. Carbonite uses RAID-6 redundant arrays which spread copies of the data across multiple hard drives. Each array has 16 drives. Three of the 16 would have to fail simultaneously and the user’s PC would have to crash at the same time before any data would be lost. These RAID-6 arrays are 36,000,000 times more reliable than the hard drive in your computer. We have redundant power, redundant Internet connections, redundant Web servers and so forth. The data center is guarded 24 hours a day, seven days a week; and admission is controlled by fingerprint ID locks.

    As you can imagine, we use a lot of bandwidth. We currently back up over 40 million new files every day and we have over 7 billion already backed up. Given the amount of bandwidth we use, it’s best to be located in a major telecoms center where multiple carriers converge. Therefore, we chose to build our data center in one of those so-called “bomb-proof” buildings with all the major Boston financial institutions and telcos.

    CEO, Carbonite