If you’ve read here for long, then you know of my somewhat legendary issue with backups. I’ve had media die from under me from tape to CD to DvD to USB and even Firewire. I’ve had drives crash, issues with Windows correctly running ‘verify’ and advising when there’s an issue. You name it, I’ve likely experienced it. I even lost 17 years of writing at one point, which was a devastating thing indeed.
I started researching online backup services and encountered Mozy (http://www.mozy.com) . They seemed good, but I found them in the early days and the throughput wasn’t up to my liking, so I left them behind.
More recently, I found and thought I would love Carbonite (http://www.carbonite.com). It all read well and I was impressed with the ease and slickness of their UI. So I signed up and got started.
Four days later, my backup was still crawling along at a measly 128k. Seriously. At that rate, it would take roughly 49 days (!!) for my initial backup to complete. During that time, if I didn’t want to bog things down even further, I was pretty restricted on what I could do.
It was just untenable. So… I got back to research and I found LiveDrive (http://www.livedrive.com).
This morning, day 8 (!!) of my now annoying Carbonite backup, I contacted their support team for the last time and bluntly asked them to confirm for me the maximum upstream for their backup services. After a bit of hemming and hawing, they told me it’s capped at 350k.
Next, I ask if they had any means by which to remove or adjust that cap. I told them I would be more than happy to pay for the help, as this was keeping me from a number of things I count on being able to do at my home office. Nope, no alternatives. Naturally, I cancelled my account and requested a refund (we’ll see how that goes).
I signed up about 30 minutes later with LiveDrive (http://www.livedrive.com). Competitively priced, no caps on upstream, no caps on storage capacity, and in the two hours I’ve been backing up, I’ve gotten more stored with them than in the seven days of backing up with Carbonite. Sniffing the stream reveals that they’re not kidding when they say they’re not throttling the upstream. I’m impressed.
I have full remote access to my files, I can synch with other machines if/as needed, and overall, I have to say, it meets my needs better because it doesn’t assume or presume upon what they are or what I should or should not expect from their service.
A few key points that I wish Carbonite had paid more attention to in their offering:
- The average home user backup set is 120gb, not 35-40 as they seem to think.
- The power user (who is much more likely to seek this kind of service) is almost 65% more likely to exceed that average (roughly 170 – 225gb consisting of music, video, etc).
- The primary draws of an online backup service are storage capacity, speed of upload, and security.
While Carbonite offers excellent security, remote access, and storage capacity, they have really missed the mark on the upstream by throttling/capping it. They compound this issue by not offering a means by which a power user might adjust it (be that inclusive of price or not) and put a rather annoying icing on the cake by being decidedly non-transparent about this (you have to dig pretty deep on their help site to even find out about it and, apparently, their support people are instructed to talk only about average upload a day rather than actual upstream speed).
The above cost them this customer. It has also potentially cost them a number of other customers, as this customer happens to be both social media adept, talkative, and what Gartner, NPD, and Forrester would call a “heavy influencer” in her network.
Mind you, I do not think Carbonite is a “bad company” and to be sure, their offering is perfect for the very light user; the person who only uses their computer for surfing, email, and chatting. There is certainly a market for lightly enfranchised technology users and I wish them all the best in pursuing, landing, and owning that market. But it seems a bit short-sighted to deliberately exclude one of the most important elements of an offering in their segment when the power user’s market is both larger, more selective, more loyal, and more likely to refer to them.
At any rate, I am now a very satisfied and very loyal LiveDrive customer. If you’re looking for an offering that doesn’t pin you down or box you in with upstream throttling and offers all the “bells and whistles” you’ll need from being a light user all the way to being a media storage hog, you might want to check out LiveDrive before you decide. This user considers them a “High Recommend”.