Carbonite Puts End to Throttling Nightmare

By Doug Barney

Carbonite sounds awesome, and this MSP Today reporter has used it for years. But I have meager backup needs as I really just have documents, not gigs and gigs of media.

But those with large volumes find that Carbonite can literally take months to do an initial backup. That’s because Carbonite would only backup 3-4GB per day on average – no matter how fast your Internet connection. Do your own math to see how long your backup would take. A typical 500GB drive would take at least 4 months. Talk about a backup window!

This is what is known as throttling, but for customers it is more like choking.

Carbonite heard the howls, and also responded to competitive pressures by getting rid of throttling and boosting its own bandwidth to speed backups.

In what may be the understatement of the year, Carbonite CEO David Friend addressed the issue. “We know that our customers have a lot of data - from the files that help them run their business to family photos - and they need it backed up quickly. We agree, and are delighted to announce that the capability of our customers to achieve faster upload speeds is greatly improved,” Friend said.

The new approach is a huge leap forward. “The average small business can back up all of their business email, contacts and calendars in about 70 minutes (assuming an average 5GB Outlook .pst file), and a new Carbonite Home customer can now back up two hours of HD video in less than an hour,” the company said.

Carbonite business customers never had the same level of throttling. The change is to give home users the same backup speed as offered by Carbonite Business. Unfortunately it will take months for these higher speeds to be fully in effect.

Under the new policy, the main factor in backup speed will be bandwidth. “As we will no longer be limiting the amount of data you can upload at a time, the speed of your Internet connection is the primary limiting factor for the speed of your backup,” the Carbonite policy now reads.

Restoration Time

Once the initial backup is done, speed of the incremental backups is less of an issue. What is really important is speed of restore. Here there is no throttling and your bandwidth is critical.

“Your data can typically restore at speeds up to 10 Mbps regardless of the amount of data you are restoring. The speed at which you can restore files also depends on the same factors listed above. While Carbonite can restore data at rates up to 10 Mbps, most consumer Internet connections rarely maintain this rate consistently. If your Internet connection provides consistent download speeds of 10 Mbps and your system meets the conditions mentioned in the note above, it is possible to restore as much as 100GB per day,” the company said.

Still, it could take five days to restore a basic 500GB drive.

Our Advice

Cloud backup is great. But drives are so cheap that is you have data you really care about, backup to a disk first and keep this current until the cloud backup is fully complete. And this backup will be there when it comes time to restore, allowing you to access most of your data while you are waiting for the latest backup to come back from the cloud.

Edited by Alisen Downey

MSPToday Editor at Large

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