Carbonite Online Backup Review
Discussion by tansqrx with 15 Replies.
Last Update: October 23, 2011, 6:57 pm
I tried Jungle Disk (www.jungledisk.com) first because I heard about it on a podcast. Jungle Disk is a software interface to the Amazon S3 servers (http://aws.amazon.com/s3/) which is basically open storage. You can store anything on S3 (backups, web pages, and anything else you can think of) and pay for the bandwidth plus a small fee per gigabyte. My basic backup is 100+ Gb so I quickly started to run into higher than expected fees from Amazon S3. I believe if you had a smaller backup footprint (< 10Gb), S3 may be more economical than Carbonite but I am not in that category. Jungle Disk is a great frontend, it’s just that S3 became expensive.
After getting hit with 10+ dollars a month with S3, I tried Carbonite (www.carbonite.com) which I heard about on a national US radio show. The deal is unlimited storage for around 60 USD a year. I tried the free trial (no credit information needed, you just have to create an account) and ran it for about three weeks. I was happy with it and bought a year’s subscription. The downside to the trial is no music, executables, or pictures are backed up.
After purchasing the full package, I was a little leery of the install process. I don’t want to call it intrusive but you can tell a lot of device drivers were installed. Carbonite is closely coupled with the Windows desktop so I am always cautious of software that integrates that deeply with my system. The upshot to this is the client software is rock solid and I can’t remember a single crash or freeze on my system due to Carbonite. Carbonite is also fast and unobtrusive once you have it fully configured. I rarely even notice it is running.
The install process will add a mapped drive into My Computer with its own icon. Another indicator is every file marked for backup has an overlay to its icon in the form of a small circle in the lower right corner. If the icon is green then the file has been backed up, yellow means it’s in the queue. A tray icon runs all the time in the background and you have the option of disabling backup if you need the extra bandwidth.
All data written to the Web is encrypted but you have the option of managing your own encryption key. I opted for managing my own key and during the install process Carbonite had me save a small data file that contained the key. It is clearly explained that backing up the key through Carbonite is not a good idea because you will not be able to access it without the key you don’t have. In light of this I have the key backed up in multiple locations on my external USB hard drive and physical CDs.
One downside to the service is the upstream bandwidth. The website states that a typical residential upload connection is inherently limited and the backup speed and time will be dependent on this. I found this to be twisting the truth a bit because I can easily get 150 Kbit/sec, but the Carbonite upload would max out at around 25 kbit/s. It shouldn’t be surprising that an unlimited storage solution would limit you in some way so I don’t see this as a deal breaker. It took well over a month to fully backup my massive 100+ Gb cache of files. Just remember to select your most important files first and then move onto your music and movie collection.
I admittedly have limited knowledge of all the online backup services but I find it hard to believe there is something better than Carbonite. The main downside is the bandwidth but the main positive of being a solid reliable piece of software far outweighs this. I give Carbonite my recommendation and encourage others to at least try it. If you do decide to purchase you can enter the promotion code “Rush” into the order form and get an extra month free. I suppose my biggest recommendation for Carbonite is this, my one year contract is about to expire and I will not hesitate to renew my subscription.
I might try Carbonite out with the free trial.
P.S. I was listening to the TWIT podcast and Carbonite is now an advertiser there as well. Their promotional code is “twit” which will give you two free months with a paid membership. Take it or leave it but I always like a deal.
Anyone tried to combine Carbonite and Windows Live Mesh? I'm keeping my desktop and laptop syncronized with Live Mesh. I've got more data than the Mesh will allow so I primarily use it to sync and not store. I been thinking of then using Carbonite to back up the files on the desktop so that I have a third copy of my file.
Anyone see any problems with that? I suppose I could make a local external disk image. Try the combo and restore from that if there is any problem.
I really like Carbonite, but got quite frustrated recently. At some point in time, you could choose to backup "extra" file format, like "avi" and "wmv". I do take videos of my kids & other stuff, and I want them to be backed up. Since I offload my photos on a regular basis, worst case scenario the backup of the new videos takes a day.
It seems that Carbonite changes recently (last year). I had >150 GB of data back up, now I'm back <90 GB? I found that the backup of ALL my VIDEOS got LOST! I need to manually specify which files to back up... And when a new videos comes, I need to manually specify the video files. (Oh, maybe it's also related to the fact that I changed from 2x250GB Raid0 to 2x500GB Raid 0 that the backup was lost).
Anyways, for me Carbonite is no longer "set it & forget it", and I seriously consider moving away from it. I just need to find an adequate replacement - or maybe the software will be updated with all the complaints...
Steve-reply by Steve B
I Agree with Ron Eberhart, Carbonite has a great idea, but falls far behind in customer service, I played email tag with multiple representatives, having to tell my story over everytime, it took about 2 weeks and 10 or so emails to get the answer I was looking for, and in the end they did NOT answer my question or apologize for the WRONG information their reps were telling me, they just enabled the remote file access feature for me, I found out by logging into my account that the feature was enabled after all my emails. YES UPLOAD is SLOOOOOOOOWWWW, rediculous slow, I can upload about 5-6 GB a day to ftp or file hosting sites, Carbonite restricts the upload speed to about 20-25 kbs, SUX!, I have uploaded 784 MB in about 12 hours so far today, If I could find a better file host I would use them I have been looking at www.Livedrive.Com anyone heard anything about this site?-reply by Paul
Agree with Paul and Ron. I've had Carbonite for a couple years, and been happy. But recently crossed the 200GB threshold. They claim my upload speed is now 100kbps. I'm seeing more like 10-15 kpbs. It's painsfully slow. Does anyone have a better option for online backup of large drives? Does mozy throttle down speeds the same way? It's crazy. I'd happily pay more for higher backup rate (just for the convenience of it all), but Carbonite won't even let you do that.
My concern is that I now have XP as my platform. If I back up files from XP and later I have to change to a new computer with Windows 7, will the backed up files on Carbonite transfer all the files to the new computer? What happens to programs that are no longer supported by Windows 7 platform?
I subscribed to Carbonite after paying 0 to recover data from the second external drive to crash on me in six months. It was a necessary evil, since years of work, photo, fonts and other resources were stored on that drive, and I kept on running into brick walls to remind me, "Oh yeah, that file was stored on my toasted drive...). So I bit the bullet and payed for the data recovery, putting all the files onto yet another external drive (for the record, NEVER by a Western Digital drive! Mine was one of many the recovery service has had to restore, and the mangled corpse of mine wound up being a "donor" of parts for somebody else's WD drive which had mechanical failure). So I finally heeded my finance's long-running, nagging advice and hooked up with Carbonite, which came highly recommended by the data recovery guys and several other tech-savvy friends. That was on June 24. The download and installation was fast and easy, as was getting it set-up and running... And running... And running... Three weeks later, my status shows that Carbonite has 28% of my files backed up (62.7 GB done, 156 GB to go). I'm relieved to see that this seems to be par for the course. But it doesn't seem to be that much of a drain on my system, and I'm more than willing to put up with a month of uploading to ward off the possibility of all losing my files again, and happy that the program is pretty much self-maintaining about backing up my new files as I go. So to sum up my short story running long: Yes, Carbonite is slow if you have many gigabytes of data to back up, but the security and ease of use is priceless. *BTW, if you live in the Sacramento area and need data recovery, the guys at Konicom are awesome: www.Konicom.Com
-reply by miaxara
After seeing Carbonite advertised on TV, I decided to give it a try tonight on my Macbook Pro. My wife and I are both looking for a quick and easy solution. iBackup is too spendy for the amount of data we need to backup. Carbonite seemed reasonable given it was unlimited and if you kept it under 200G, things moved along nicely.
I was plenty pleased with the interface. It was easy enough and seemed to work. I use MRTG to graph my bandwith here at home and am seeing about 17-25kbs upload as my backup is being sent up. At that rate, I could have backed it up to any other FTP host much quicker. When important files are being added all the time to our computers, I can't wait a week for it all to get there. I actually went Googling "carbonite slow upload" and found this site. I figured I didn't have something on the firewall configured properly or something because I can NOT explain the upload speed being slower than YELLOW snot.
After reading the above posts, I am not going to be continuing with Carbonite. If the upload speed issue was resolved, I'd love it and be happy. But hearing someone have to go through THAT degree of customer service disgrace, getting nowhere, being told "all is fine" with NO resolution...That is absolutely unacceptable in business. I will be checking back here - perhaps we can all jump on the same boat if someone finds something reasonable that simply "works".-reply by Marcus
Although Carbonite allows for virtually unlimited storage, the caveat is, they limit the speed in which you can send them data. The beauty of this is, in effect, your storage is limited merely by the fact that the upload is soooo slow.
Some will say its your Internet connection that is the weak link, perhaps thats the case if you are still using a dialup service, but odds are, its Carbonite.
I'm not saying Carbonite isn't a service some should subscribe to, I'm just not saying its the silver bullet and you might consider a multi-tiered approach.
I for one, push data to Live Mesh 2011 (you get 5GB free) and its really quick. Then in turn, I sync my other larger files above and beyond that 5GB to an external drive which I also keep on my hard drive (in this case a laptop). I then use Carbonite to back all of those sources up as I think the Carbonite subscription fee is fairly inexpensive.
Overall, what I dislike is, it just takes too long to upload my files to Carbonite so I need to leave my laptop on at night and right now I'm in an initial backup stage on a new laptop and even though I have a fiber based Internet service with speeds approaching 100MB on a sustained basis, this service seems to creep along <sigh>.
You think it's frustrating to complete your backup? Just wait until you need the backed up info. I had to restore a drive recently and found it less aggravating to restore a 6 month old disk image than wait for Carbonite to restore my files.
-reply by George
Replying to tansqrxI would have to disagree that there is nothing better than Carbonite. Www.Absorb.Com will actually send out a little box that controls all of your remote backups. Not only is that way more secure than opening up ports on your network to push updates, its another local copy of your data. That way if you have a local issue with hardware failure you can download your data locally without having to handle a huge online download for days.
-reply by Commander
|Ie And Orbit Is Gonna Crash is not recomanded to istall orbit (0)||(0) Opml Support Plugin For Firefox OPML import/export functionality|