• Rumor of Google Backup 'Coming Soon'

    by Lynnette Nolan | May 27, 2008

    I read a blog post from Australia today hinting that Google may be getting into the backup business. Actually, what this article says is, "Online backup services allow people to use the internet like a hard drive." Those are their words, not ours. Carbonite thinks backup is a lot more than just disk space in the cloud.

    Think about the problem you’re trying to solve: Tomorrow you might wake up and find out that your hard drive has crashed and everything on your PC is gone. Or maybe you’re like me and you leave your laptop in a taxi in NY and watch in frustration as it disappears around the corner forever. Or maybe you’ve been working on that big presentation for the last week and at the last minute you do something dumb and erase it.

    There have been rumours about Google and Microsoft getting into the backup business for more than a year. Microsoft finally unveiled their entry called Windows Live SkyDrive. Google’s rumoured "G-drive" has yet to appear, but we’re guessing it will be similar to SkyDrive – less about automated backup and more about collaboration, file sharing, and storing a limited number of active documents in the cloud. It will not be free. Like SkyDrive, you’ll get a certain amount of space for free, and you’ll have to pay for more. Compared with Carbonite, it will be expensive for most users. It will not encrypt your data because encrypting make sharing applications nearly impossible. And it won’t automatically back up everything on your PC as we do. You’ll have to make a lot of choices and think about it each time.

    Our idea of backup is that it should be like buying car insurance – once you purchase it, you put it in the drawer until disaster strikes. The less intrusive it is, the better. The one feature of SkyDrive that I like is the ability to access a backed up file remotely in an emergency. I was recently on a business trip and forgot to bring a file that I had on my home computer. It would have been nice to get it from my home computer’s Carbonite backup. We’ve figured out a way to do this that preserves the encryption and security of Carbonite’s backup, and I am hoping we can get this feature into a release later this year.

    CEO, Carbonite

  • Security and Online Backup

    by Lynnette Nolan | May 27, 2008

    I'd like to draw your attention to an article from Heise Security that claims that some online backup services are not secure. I’m pleased that Carbonite was among the two that the writers were unable to compromise. While an article like this is not exactly good publicity for the online backup industry, if their findings are true (and I believe they are), some of these vendors deserve to be criticized for bringing weak products to market that damage the reputation of the whole industry. I agree with the sentiment expressed on Backup Review: "Online backup, like online banking and online credit card transactions, can be made to be very secure, but not everyone is going to do it right."

    CEO, Carbonite

  • Ask a Carbonista: Customer Support’s Ten Most Wanted - Part 1

    by Lynnette Nolan | May 16, 2008
    Customer Support's
    Ten Most Wanted

    Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

    In Carbonite’s Customer Support department, we answer thousands of questions each week, and many folks want to know the same things. I’ve compiled a list of the top ten questions we receive most often and the best (general) answers we can give. These answers are specific to Carbonite Version 3.5. (If you’re on an earlier version, log into your account and reinstall Carbonite to get the latest version.) Given the length of some of the answers, I have decided to turn this into a multi-part post. And so, without any further ado...

    1. What operating systems does Carbonite support, and what new ones are planned for support in the future?

    Right now, Carbonite runs on Windows XP and Windows Vista. We’re just a few months away from our Macintosh version’s release. We didn’t develop for nor test on Windows Server 2003 or Windows Small Business Server, but most folks using those operating systems run Carbonite just fine – we just recommend that you first install a trial, back some files up, and test restoring them to make sure that your Windows Server configuration is compatible with Carbonite. We’re working on a small business edition of Carbonite due for release later this year that will support some Windows Server operating systems. Carbonite doesn’t work on Windows 2000, versions of Windows prior to XP (such as Windows 98 or Windows ME), or Linux.

    2. What do the different colored dots mean?

    • A green dot on a file indicates that the file is selected for backup, and that the backup of that file is up-to-date.
    • A yellow dot on a file indicates that the file is selected for backup, but is out-of-date and awaiting backup. (Note: the yellow dots look orange on some screens.)
    • A green dot on a folder indicates that everything within that folder is selected for backup, and that the backups are up-to-date for all of the selected items within that folder.
    • A yellow dot on a folder indicates that one or more items within that folder are selected for backup, but that the backup for one or more items within that folder is out-of-date and is awaiting backup.
    • A green dot with a hole in the center (a "donut") on a folder indicates that not everything within that folder is selected for backup, but that the backups are up to date for all of the items that are selected for backup.
    • No dot on a file means that the file is not selected for backup.
    • No dot on a folder means that nothing within that folder (nor the folder itself) is selected for backup.
  • Carbonite in the News - May 1st

    by Lynnette Nolan | May 01, 2008

    Carbonite has received some excellent news coverage over the past week. I'm not going to post all the links, but there are two articles that I wanted to share with those of you who are interested.

    First off, today, on the front page of the Business section of the Boston Globe, was an article about Online Backup. In the article, "Backups are a Breeze Online", Hiawatha Bray discusses the benefits of Carbonite and Mozy. More importantly, he sings the praises of Carbonite:

    Given their nearly identical features, either Mozy or Carbonite will get the job done.

    But Mozy is beset with a relatively geeky user interface and a tendency to throw up unexpected and confusing on-screen messages. Company officials admitted that they need to make their software more user-friendly. On that score, Carbonite is just about flawless. Just install it, launch it, and forget about it.

    Earlier in the week (Monday, April 28th), Fort Myers News-Press tech columnist Al Winchell wrote about Carbonite, saying:

    Carbonite not the least of which is I can personally attest to the fact that when I was ready to download my XP data from Carbonite to my new Vista hard drive, it performs flawlessly. I simply moved the Carbonite utility to my new Vista hard drive, selected the data I wanted to download (had I wanted to, I could have downloaded all 85 gigabytes of data) from Carbonite's Backup Drive presentation on my computer's list of drives, right-clicked on the data and selected 'Restore To.' That's all there was to it.

    We are always happy to see the Carbonite message getting out there, because so few people realize that online backup is an easy and secure solution to preventing data loss. I'll be sure to keep you posted with more coverage.

    Until then,


  • Earth (Day) Week

    by Lynnette Nolan | Apr 23, 2008

    Yesterday was Earth Day, but on the radio someone said  that it’s actually Earth Week.

    Our question is: since when does being environmentally friendly need to be confined to a set time period? Shouldn’t this time of heightened awareness for our planet last for more than one week? Shouldn’t we keep the future of our earth at the top of mind all the time and not just for one designated week?

    But a week (or day) is better than nothing, and hearing that made us think of simple things we can all do to help save the planet. Like backing up, which this NextAdvisor.com post suggests as way to help us go green. With online backup, you don’t have to save hard copies of documents and you don’t have to store stacks of plastic disks or CDs with all your backups on them. And, online backup cuts down on home storage devices that have to be produced and shipped around the globe.

    So, if you don’t use online backup for any other reason… do it for the planet. After all, it is “Earth Week.”

  • Where Did the Name “Carbonite” Come From?

    by Lynnette Nolan | Apr 16, 2008

    This is a picture of Han Solo encased in carbonite from Star Wars. If you haven’t seen the Star Wars movies, check out Return of the Jedi and The Empire Strikes Back. Carbonite (as in the photo) is featured in both of them.

    So why the name Carbonite? First, Jeff Flowers and I are Star Wars fans. All our servers have Star Wars names, like Yoda, R2D2, Luke, etc. Secondly, carbonite is a hard material, harder than steel, and connotes the strength and safety of our data center. And finally, there’s the oblique reference to "carbon copy”, as in “Carbonite keeps a carbon copy of your data...", a phrase we use frequently in our radio advertising.

    There are a couple of other reasons we went with this name. A very important one was that the URL was available, www.carbonite.com. Second, when you hear the word “carbonite,” you can probably spell it. If you’re going to be advertising on the radio, like we do, you want people to be able to spell the company’s name when they hear it. Otherwise nobody’s going to find your web site. That’s my number one rule for company names. And finally, when you’re spending millions of dollars building a brand name, you want something short, snappy, and memorable.

    Anyway, that the science of picking a company name!

    CEO, Carbonite

  • Carbonite in the News

    by Lynnette Nolan | Apr 07, 2008

    We're so excited that the Carbonite blog is up and running. There's been some great coverage on Carbonite recently and we wanted to share some links with you.

    USA Today: Carbonite gets personal about backing up PC files

    USA Today: Talking Tech Spotlight Video

    Bootcamp Technology Show on Bloomberg Radio: Listen to an interview with David Friend

    Spokesman Review: When hard drives fail: My experience shows you need to have a plan

    We'll keep you posted as more coverage comes in!

  • Welcome to the Carbonite Blog!

    by Lynnette Nolan | Apr 05, 2008

    I’m David Friend, Carbonite’s co-founder and CEO. I’ve been asked to launch our new blog with a few words about the company, how we got started and what we are trying to achieve. I’m looking forward to being an active participant on this blog and hope you will take the time to do the same.

    Jeff Flowers and I founded Carbonite in 2005. We got the idea because Jeff’s wife had her laptop stolen (it wasn’t backed up) and my daughter had a hard drive crash (she lost half a semester’s work). We couldn’t find a good solution for them, so we decided to build one ourselves.

    In general, our design philosophy is “simple is better.” We prefer products like the iPod over things with tons of features but are hard to use. The problem we’re trying to solve with Carbonite is a simple one: any day we could lose everything on our computers. And we think this problem demands a simple solution. That’s why we created the first unlimited pricing plan in the backup industry – you don’t have to make any choices, and you never outgrow it. That’s why we made our backup continuous – most people want to backup as they go and not have to worry about leaving their computer on all night for some old-fashioned batch job to run. And most people want to know that their data is really safe, so we use the strongest commercial encryption available and we store our customers’ data on redundant disk arrays that are 36 million times more reliable than the hard drive in your computer. Our idea of a great product advance is figuring out how to eliminate an unnecessary feature (which adds needless complexity) by making it automatic so you don’t have to think about it.

    Are we perfect? No. We have a long list of great ideas for ways to improve the service and we’re implementing them with each new release. Most of these ideas we get from our users (even more of an incentive for you to leave comments). Mostly we want things to be simpler, cleaner, more self-explanatory. Nobody we know really wants to “use” a backup system – they just want their data to be completely safe. So the easier the better.

    In future blog posts, I’ll tell you about some of our challenges. Meanwhile, I’d like to hear from you: do you have thoughts or questions about the product, our service (I know, sometimes you have to wait to talk to a customer support rep – we’re working on it), or the people who make up our company?

    CEO, Carbonite