Every so often I get a briefing from our
operations staff on data center statistics. Last week, I learned one
number that startled even me: as of Jan 20th, we had restored over 2
billion files for our customers. I assume that most of these files
would have been lost if they had not had Carbonite. Also, Carbonite's
restore process has been extremely reliable. You'd think with that many
files being restored that there would be some that are lost or corrupt.
While these kinds of problems occurred once in a while when we were
young, it doesn't seem to happen anymore. The RAID disk arrays that we
use to store your data are 36 million times more reliable than the hard
drive in your computer. That's one reason that online backup is far
more reliable than a cheap external hard drive.
reliability has not completely eliminated restore issues. Even though
the Carbonite service works flawlessly, data restores are still an
issue with Customer Support. There are basically three problems: First,
some programs, notably Outlook and Quicken, don't automatically find
the restored files. So it's not uncommon for us to get calls
complaining that they did a restore and they didn't get their Outlook
file back. It is in fact there on your computer, but you have to go
into Outlook to connect to it.
The second problem is that
Carbonite defaults to backing up your Documents and Settings folder,
and all subfolders. If you stick files somewhere else, such as in your
Programs folder, they won't get backed up unless you tell Carbonite to
do so. This is true of any backup you do, whether online or using an
external hard drive or flash drive. If you don't back up the file in
the first place, you won't be able to restore it when your computer
dies. That's why we put the little green dots on folders and files – it
makes it easy to see what is backed up and what is not.
third problem relates to restoring files that were backed up from an XP
computer onto a new Vista computer. Vista and XP don't have the same
folders. We came up with a very nice "wizard" that helps you decide how
you want to migrate your old XP folders to your new Vista machine. If
you have to do this kind of restore, use the wizard! Some people just
ignore it and then their folders are all over the place and they can't
find them. BTW, Carbonite is still the only backup service that has
addressed this problem.