Review of Carbonite Online Backup Solution

Company background
Carbonite can be found in Boston, MA and they initially offered their online backup program in the middle of 2006. They backup and protect in excess of 2 billion files for customers in over 100 countries. They were founded in 2005 by David Friend and Jeff Flowers.

Carbonite is a simple, reliable online backup solution for unfussy home pc users, students, home office users, business travelers, etc. For less than five dollars a month, Carbonite backs up all your precious data on your desktop (digital pics, tunes, office documents and other important files) whenever your MAC is linked to the Internet.

Carbonite is very painless to install and use, requiring very little ongoing user fiddling. There online backup service is configured to instantly archive changed information from your computer whenever it is connected to the internet.

Carbonite security is satisfyingly strong. information back and forth your PC and their storage area is encoded with triple DES – which is highly secure – and once on their servers your files is protected with Blowfish 448bit encryption – which is the best protection available.

The Storage for your information is held on 2 up-to-date facilities in Massachusetts that provide carefully temperature-controlled rooms, backup power generators, restricted personnel access, and loads of other functions to protect the security and integrity of your files.

Backup Features
At first Carbonite will backup the 'My Documents and Settings' folders but this can easily be altered via the desktop software. There is no maximum to the amount of information that can be saved, therefore you can pick as many or as few items as you want.

Archiving will start when your desktop is not being used, eliminating drain on resources or bandwidth. Alternatively, you can set the backup scheduler to backup at specific times of your choosing.

Carbonite does not support backup of network or external drives.

During our tests it needed 37 minutes to upload 2,000 megabytes of information using a normal 8mbps internet line whilst sending and recieving other traffic on the internet.

Carbonite offers a continuous backup facility which means that information is archived as they are altered. This means you don't need to depend on scheduling backups and making sure your desktop is turned on when the scheduled time arrives. But, if scheduling is what you want, the PC client does have that option as well.

The backup progress can be monitored by an including progress bar. You can also add files and folders to the backup set by right-clicking.

The Carbonite program creates a 'virtual drive letter' where you can see which files have been archived and which are currently waiting for archive. The client also adds colored dots on files to show if they are archived, awaiting archive or not included in the backup set.

The PC client permits unlimited 'file versioning' for 3 months. There are as well no restrictions on the size of individual files or the amount of files that you can backup. Yet, it is important to remember that the initial backup time required is a lot more than that needed after you are up and running and your first backup is complete.

Restore Features
Information recovery can be started from either the client or the web portal and can be restored to either their original location or an alternaive location on the computer they were originally backup up on or to the web site. On the PC client, restores can also be initiated by right-clicking a file or folder. There is also a search option so you can locate files to restore that match a specific filename or filename pattern.

Control and Analysis
The web portal provides central admin for all clients being backed up. The speed and upload/download usage can be throttled between high and low.
Reports are generated to verify what is backed up.

To use Carbonite you will need to use the Carbonite Client Software on every device that is to be archived. However, when installed, all backups can be managed from a central admin portal.

Lots of computers can be handled from a single account, however, multi-account control is not supported. When the software is installed, it allows access to a logical drive letter that can be designed to view the status of archived folders and to restore folders. The system tray icon starts off yellow – this indicates that the initial backup is being performed. When the initial backup is completed, the tray icon turns green.

The client software is uncluttered and easy to use. The web portal is also uncluttered. The program is designed to be set-and-forget so the options are not filled with lots of options but rather are setup to allow you to pick what and when you want to archive and then allow the client to get on with it.

Device Support
There is support for PC and MAC. There is an iPhone, iTouch, iPad and Blackberry apps yet these only allow you to observe backed up information, not actually archive your device. You can attach files from the backup set in emails.
Any amount of machines – MAC or PC – can be backed up.

Network drives and removable media cannot be backed up
There is no block level incremental backup ability
Carbonite is a user backup utility, so it does not backup server databases such as SQL server, Exchange server.
Open or locked files cannot be backed up until they are no longer being used.
Whole machine backup is not supported.
No proxy server support.

File Sharing and Collaboration
Files and folders may be shared privately via the web portal and different access rights can be set on individual files and folders.
Carbonite does not support public file sharing or file collaboration.

Loads of MACs can be synced with each other and with the central web portal.

Web 2.0 Integration

Customer Support
Phone support is available for an additional cost of $19.99 a year. Support is via:
- Live Chat
- Email Support / Email web form
- Online Documentation, FAQs and knowledge-base
- Blog

There is also a free 15 day trial available.

Ease Of Use
Carbonite is woderfully uncomplicated to configure and run, simply download the client installer and run it. There is audio tutorials that explains the whole process and you can be backing up your folders in no time at all. The fifteen day - no credit card required - trial means zero risk in trying Carbonite out. When configured all that is required is right-click on a file or folder to add it to your archive.

Initial setup Cost - Free 15 day trial
Monthly charge - Not applicable
Annual Charge - $54.99
Initial allowed storage amount - unlimited
Cost of additional storage - no charge
Cost of additional devices / PCs / users - Unlimited device but one account per user
Referral Program - 3 months free subscription for each referral that signs up after their free trial
E-billing facility - yes

There are no large scale service plans available, however, there is a pro edition of Carbonite available at which is designed for corporate use.

Hidden cost: Telephone support costs $19.99 per annum.

Carbonite offers a easy secure ability to archive your files from either PCs or MACs. The unlimited storage for a set fee allows for money management and removes the need to always manage how much information you are backing up. The Carbonite Online Backup solution is very secure and the support is strong. If you need a easy to use backup solution then this is a really good choice. The lack of file sharing, synchronization and collaboration is a definite gap in the product but if you do not need these features then this is a really excellent product.

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Posted on 2010-08-07, By: *

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