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By | Chris Mellor 23rd March 2009 10:33

Carbonite tells Promise: You're toast

RAID supplier sued

Update Online backup service supplier Carbonite is suing Promise Technology, a supplier of disk drive array technology, for failing to protect data as it promised it would.

Carbonite filed its suit for breach of contract in Suffolk Superior Court, Massachusetts, and says it bought more than $3m of RAID array hardware from Promise via reseller Interactive Digital Systems Inc. The array product was warranted for three years to detect failing drives and copy the data on them to functioning drives. Carbonite alleges that it did not, and resulted in Carbonite losing customers' data.

As an online backup service supplier, customer trust in Carbonite's ability to securely hold data is fundamental. When the Promise products failed, Carbonite says, more than 7,500 of its customers lost data. You can image the damage to Carbonite's reputation, with customers angry about their lost data, and it is seeking unspecified damages.

The pain it and its customers are feeling will be increased by a previous Carbonite practise of hyping its own product in supposedly independent user reviews.

Promise denies the claims, which mention fraud and deceptive business practices, and will defend its products. The reseller, sued for breach of contact, is keeping mum.

There will be a damage to Carbonite's reputation from merely going to court and admitting its systems screwed up and let down so many customers. It will be very interesting to understand the basis of Promise's rejection of responsibility which would infer incompetent data storage practices by Carbonite's systems and people.

Carbonite recently announced a deal with LaCie whereby buyers of LaCie's external drives can backup data on them to the Carbonite service. Promise is a VTrak RAID supplier for Apple SAN, server and workstation customers.

Update

There's a note from Carbonite about the original story here which reads: "On March 21, The Boston Globe reported that Carbonite is suing one of its vendors for defective hardware that was purchased in 2007. This lawsuit stems from an incident that occurred nearly two years ago. The article (and subsequent coverage by other outlets) references court documents which say that Carbonite “lost the backups of over 7,500 customers.” It is possible that readers will walk away from this with the impression that 7,500 customers were unable to restore their files from Carbonite. This is not the case. Let me explain."

"All of the affected customers had their backups re-started immediately and automatically. A small number of these customers had their PCs crash before their re-started backups were complete. These customers were unable to restore all off their files from Carbonite. We took full responsibility for what happened, and I did my best to apologize personally to each of these customers."

"We addressed the technical issues that caused the above problems, and in the nearly two years since the incident, we have not encountered further problems. That said, our lawsuit seeks a refund for the defective products we were sold." ®

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