Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Mike Kavis, Skytap Blog, Lori MacVittie, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Cloud Expo

Cloud Expo: Article

Carbonite Loses Cloud-Based Data, Sues Storage Vendor

The service raised $46 million in venture funding

Carbonite, the online backup vendor, says it lost data belonging to over 7,500 customers in a number of separate incidents in a suit filed in Massachusetts charging Promise Technology Inc with supplying it with $3 million worth of defective storage, according to a story in Saturday’s Boston Globe.

The catastrophe is the latest in a series of cloud failures.

Carbonite charges Promise with fraud, unfair and deceptive business practices, and breach of contract.

Carbonite is also suing system integrator Interactive Digital Systems Inc, who brought the storage in, claiming breach of warranty.

The widgetry was supposed to detect disk failures and transfer the data to a working drive. It allegedly didn’t.

The story says Promise couldn’t fix the errors and “Carbonite’s senior engineers, senior management and senior operations personnel…spent enormous amounts of time dealing with the problems.”

Carbonite claims the data losses caused “serious damage” to its business and reputation for reliability. It’s demanding unspecified damages. Promise told the Globe there was “no merit to the allegations.”

The suit was filed in Suffolk Superior Court.

Carbonite, which sells largely to consumers and small businesses and competes with EMC’s Mozy, tells its customers: “never worry about losing your files again.”


Dear Maureen,

I noticed that you covered Carbonite's lawsuit against Promise Technologies and I would like to make sure that your readers understand two points with regard to the lawsuit:

  • 1) The data loss event discussed in the lawsuit happened over a year ago. We do not say this to minimize the matter, but it's important for your readers to know that we stopped buying the servers that caused the problem a long time ago. This is not a current problem.
  • 2) The total number of Carbonite customers who were unable to retrieve their data was 54, not 7,500.

Here is what happened: The Promise servers that we were purchasing in 2006 and 2007 use RAID technology to spread data redundantly across 15 disk drives so that if any one disk drive fails, you don't lose any data. The RAID software that makes all this work is embedded as "firmware" in the storage servers.  In this case, we believe that the firmware on the servers had bugs that caused the servers to crash.  Carbonite automatically restarted all 7,500 backups and more than 99% of these were completely restored without incident.   Statistically, about 2 out of every 1,000 consumer hard drives will crash every week, so 54 of these customers had their PCs crash before their re-started backups were complete.  Since they weren't completely backed up when their PCs crashed, these customers were unable to restore all of their files from Carbonite.  Most of the 54 got some or most of their data back.  We took full responsibility for what happened and I did my best to call each of these customers personally to apologize. 

As a result of our problems with the Promise servers, a couple of years ago we switched to a popular Dell server that uses RAID6 - an improved RAID that allows for the loss of 3 of the 15 drives simultaneously before you lose any data. This configuration is in theory 36 million times more reliable than a single disk drive - the chances of 3 out of 15 drives failing at the same time are almost nil. 

So far, Promise has refused to accept responsibility for their equipment's failures, so now we are suing them to get our money back. The Dell RAID servers have been flawless and we're extremely happy with them.

We'd appreciate anything you can do to make sure that your readers understand the facts.  Please feel free to call me if you need further clarification. 

Regards,

Dave Friend

David Friend | Chairman & CEO
Carbonite, Inc. | 334 Boylston St., 3rd Floor | Boston, MA | 02116
Office: 617-587-1110 | Fax: 617-587-1101
www.carbonite.com  
Backup.  Simple.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

Comments (5) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
brettraynes 05/13/09 04:44:00 AM EDT

I agree with nschrenk about Carbonite probably relying on a single RAID volume. They don't say, so we cannot be sure.

But, they do blame RAID for the loss and claim that going to RAID6 will solve the problem.

As a minimum data needs to be replicated into separate geographically separate locations - mitigate against RIAD issues or any other single location problems.

S3 does this, but so do other professional services such as the ones we rely on (Connected, LiveVault, Attix5 and Asigra).

Suffice to say that customers should ask the question before using any service and entrusting their critical business data.

Could someone from Carbonite clarify this for us please – if a customer’s data is stored in multiple locations, then this add a ton of confidence – and would help us endorse the service as meeting best practice.

Brett Raynes
Managing Direct, Backup Direct
www.backupdirect.net
www.twitter.com/brettraynes1

nschrenk 05/12/09 10:41:00 AM EDT

I infer from this story that Carbonite stores a single copy of its customers' data on a RAID6 volume in one location. And they used to do the same thing, but with RAID5. If this isn't true, please correct me, but if it is, it sure wouldn't make me feel secure.

Just think of all the types of single-machine failures that could result in data loss! What if the power supply goes bad and fries the electronics in all of the drives in the system simultaneously? What if a small fire roasts all the drives in the system? What if an administrator makes a mistake on one of the systems?

A backup service built on top of a much more robust storage system like Amazon S3 would make me feel a whole lot more secure than what Carbonite appears to offer. Keeping a copy of the data on another machine in the same data center is a minimum requirement, and keeping a copy on a machine in a different data center would be nice.

brettraynes 05/12/09 09:52:00 AM EDT

Backup Direct (www.backupdirect.net) has been supplying business-grade online backup services for seven years. We like to think we know what we are doing and have seen enough examples of the good, the bad and the ugly in this industry!

We are in the fortunate position of using other vendors' technologies – not our own – and select suppliers based on a detailed knowledge of our customers' requirements and the vendors’ capabilities.
From an outsider's point-of-view, it seems that Carbonite is blaming the hardware from Promise for the data loss; whilst Promise is saying that Carbonite did not know what they were doing (see their guarded response on their site).

Now, as Carbonite has/had been going for a few years max and Promise has/had 20-years of experience – I think one can infer (but not prove) that Carbonite should shoulder at least some of the blame for this loss. It looks a little like they are 'workmen blaming their tools'.

We have seen this happen before. It is so easy to put up a web site and some code to backup data – but to make it work in a scaled-up environment is hugely more complex. To argue that RAID6 is 36-million times more reliable to than RAID5 shows naivety in the extreme – and a lack of deep understanding of the real issues – some of which include people, processes, design...There is a very low barrier to entry in the online backup industry – which puts customer data at risk.

Connected's technology from Iron Mountain forms the core of our PC backup service. It has over three million paying users (I stress 3m pay to use it – not free). Companies having chosen it after proper due-diligence include: Intel, Hilton, Amazon, Google, Boeing, PwC, Grant Thornton, Logica...

These companies put effort into selecting vendors. But the standard small business or home user cannot do this. They are left to rely on the marketing 'hype' from certain vendors – which evidently can be weightier than the service infrastructure behind it.
Connected has been developed over 15-20 years and is proven. I have seen it have problems and suffered as these have been ironed out. I certainly know that a problem at RAID level would not have resulted in data.

Brett Raynes
Managing Director, Backup Direct
www.backupdirect.net
[email protected]
www.twitter.com/brettraynes1

vchar 04/01/09 02:54:00 PM EDT

Carbonite customers’ data loss is not Promise’s fault. For some more context on this case, see Promise's response in a letter sent to customers this week at www.promise.com/ support/ Announcements.asp

onlinebackups 03/24/09 09:29:24 AM EDT

You failed to mention this data loss happened back in 2007, and only a small handful of customers were actually affected. Once Carbonite realized the disk failure, they flagged those files to be backed up again, and were transferred from the user's PC to Carbonite's backup servers again. Carbonite is still a good backup system, although I still prefer Mozy.

@CloudExpo Stories
SYS-CON Media announced today that XebiaLabs launched a popular blog feed on DevOps Journal with close to 2,000 story reads in less than a day. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. DevOps Journal brings valuable information to DevOps professionals who are transforming the way enterprise IT is done.
Since 2008 and for the first time in history, more than half of humans live in urban areas, urging cities to become “smart.” Today, cities can leverage the wide availability of smartphones combined with new technologies such as Beacons or NFC to connect their urban furniture and environment to create citizen-first services that improve transportation, way-finding and information delivery. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings, will focus on successful use c...
Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, today announced availability of Cloudian HyperStore 5.1 software. HyperStore 5.1 is an enhanced Amazon S3-compliant, plug-and-play hybrid cloud software solution that now features full Apache Hadoop integration. Enterprises can now transform big data into smart data by running Hadoop analytics on HyperStore software and appliances. This in-place analytics, with no need to offload data to other systems for Hadoop analyses, en...
XebiaLabs has announced record growth and major highlights for 2014. These milestones include: Triple-digit worldwide revenue growth. Record number of new customers including 3M, Allianz, American Express, Credit Agricole, Digital Globe, Electronic Arts, EMC, Expedia, Fandango / NBC Universal, GATX, General Electric, ING, KPMG, Liberty Mutual, Natixis, Paychex, Providence Health, Societe General, Thomson Reuters TIIA-CREF and Umpqua Bank.
CodeFutures has announced Dan Lynn as its new CEO. Lynn assumes the role from Founder Cory Isaacson, who has joined RMS and will now serve as chairman of CodeFutures. Lynn brings more than 14 years of advanced technology and business success experience, and will help CodeFutures build on its industry leadership around its Agile Big Data initiatives. His technical expertise will be invaluable in advancing CodeFutures’ AgilData platform and new processes for streamlining and gaining value from gro...
Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, had reached 30,000 page views on his home page - http://RobertoMedrano.SYS-CON.com/ - on the SYS-CON family of online magazines, which includes Cloud Computing Journal, Internet of Things Journal, Big Data Journal, and SOA World Magazine. He is a recognized executive in the information technology fields of SOA, internet security, governance, and compliance. He has extensive experience with both start-ups and large companies, having been ...
“We just completed the roll out of our first public and private cloud offerings, which are a combination of public, hybrid, and private cloud,” stated Erik Levitt, CEO of Open Data Centers, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GENBAND, a leading developer of real time communications software solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's WebRTC Summit, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The GENBAND team will be on hand to demonstrate their newest product, Kandy. Kandy is a communications Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that enables companies to seamlessly integrate more human communications into their Web and mobile applicatio...
VictorOps is making on-call suck less with the only collaborative alert management platform on the market. With easy on-call scheduling management, a real-time incident timeline that gives you contextual relevance around your alerts and powerful reporting features that make post-mortems more effective, VictorOps helps your IT/DevOps team solve problems faster.
Skeuomorphism usually means retaining existing design cues in something new that doesn’t actually need them. However, the concept of skeuomorphism can be thought of as relating more broadly to applying existing patterns to new technologies that, in fact, cry out for new approaches. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gordon Haff, Senior Cloud Strategy Marketing and Evangelism Manager at Red Hat, will discuss why containers should be paired with new architectural practices such as microservices ra...
Companies today struggle to manage the types and volume of data their customers and employees generate and use every day. With billions of requests daily, operational consistency can be elusive. In his session at Big Data Expo, Dave McCrory, CTO at Basho Technologies, will explore how a distributed systems solution, such as NoSQL, can give organizations the consistency and availability necessary to succeed with on-demand data, offering high availability at massive scale.
From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, shared some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, de...
The industrial software market has treated data with the mentality of “collect everything now, worry about how to use it later.” We now find ourselves buried in data, with the pervasive connectivity of the (Industrial) Internet of Things only piling on more numbers. There’s too much data and not enough information. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Bob Gates, Global Marketing Director, GE’s Intelligent Platforms business, to discuss how realizing the power of IoT, software developers are now focu...
Security can create serious friction for DevOps processes. We've come up with an approach to alleviate the friction and provide security value to DevOps teams. In her session at DevOps Summit, Shannon Lietz, Senior Manager of DevSecOps at Intuit, will discuss how DevSecOps got started and how it has evolved. Shannon Lietz has over two decades of experience pursuing next generation security solutions. She is currently the DevSecOps Leader for Intuit where she is responsible for setting and driv...
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - is now accepting submissions to demo smart cars on the Expo Floor. Smart car sponsorship benefits include general brand exposure and increasing engagement with the developer ecosystem.
Operational Hadoop and the Lambda Architecture for Streaming Data Apache Hadoop is emerging as a distributed platform for handling large and fast incoming streams of data. Predictive maintenance, supply chain optimization, and Internet-of-Things analysis are examples where Hadoop provides the scalable storage, processing, and analytics platform to gain meaningful insights from granular data that is typically only valuable from a large-scale, aggregate view. One architecture useful for capturing...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vitria Technology, Inc. will exhibit at SYS-CON’s @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Vitria will showcase the company’s new IoT Analytics Platform through live demonstrations at booth #330. Vitria’s IoT Analytics Platform, fully integrated and powered by an operational intelligence engine, enables customers to rapidly build and operationalize advanced analytics to deliver timely business outcomes ...
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, it is now feasible to create a rich desktop and tuned mobile experience with a single codebase, without compromising performance or usability.
Thanks to Docker, it becomes very easy to leverage containers to build, ship, and run any Linux application on any kind of infrastructure. Docker is particularly helpful for microservice architectures because their successful implementation relies on a fast, efficient deployment mechanism – which is precisely one of the features of Docker. Microservice architectures are therefore becoming more popular, and are increasingly seen as an interesting option even for smaller projects, instead of bein...
SYS-CON Events announced today Arista Networks will exhibit at SYS-CON's DevOps Summit 2015 New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Arista Networks was founded to deliver software-driven cloud networking solutions for large data center and computing environments. Arista’s award-winning 10/40/100GbE switches redefine scalability, robustness, and price-performance, with over 3,000 customers and more than three million cloud networking ports depl...