back to article Cloud backup drama: Mozy kicks Carbonite after ASA's had a go

Cloud backup service vendor Carbonite recently had its knuckles rapped by the UK's Advertising Standards Authority for misleading punters by saying its cloud backup service is "unlimited". Now EMC-backed Mozy, a Carbonite competitor which doesn't offer unlimited backup data amounts, has waded in to the fray. The ASA quoted a …

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Anonymous Coward

More unlimited than many people's ADSL lines.

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Meh

They should

They should say it as it is

And Not

Say what they want us to hear

Then there would be no confusion.

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ASA is right

Can't believe anyone is trying to claim that throttling bandwidth (to some apparently undefined degree) isn't a limited service.

An all you can eat deal where after the first plate they take away your cutlery and give you a single chopstick is still an all you can eat deal - bullshit.

Having browsed their site and back to how shit the 'cloud' is I see the proud claim "To further protect our customer’s data, encryption keys are never stored with customer data.". For a system claiming any kind of security *they* wouldn't have encryption keys to store anywhere in the first place.

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Good nutshell

Well done. 'Unlimited' means 'we don't impose limits. It covers the whole service. Imagine a physical storage facility: "Unlimited storage but anything over 1,000Kg you get delivered by a one-eyed-crippled-hunchback instead of a truck."

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Anonymous Coward

Can't be unlimited

The universe is finite.

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Windows

ASA is NOT Right JP19!

Throttling bandwitdh is significantly different than capping the size of the backup file. What Carbonite are saying is that they do not limit the total size of the backup file(s) only the bandwidth of the connection during the backup process. The backup will take longer initially but it will not stop backing up files at 200 Gigabytes or some other predetermined number. All the bandwidth limiting does is save money for Carbonite and put evereyone on an even playing field.

Most companies will use faster bandwidth for downloading small files but throttle larger ones (see MS Update connection speeds, other companies driver or program download speeds)

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Re: ASA is NOT Right JP19!

At first I agreed with you; then I looked into what the limits are. If you've uploaded over 200GB then you're capped to 100kbps after that (kiloBITS). 200GB isn't that much these days - let's say you've got a few years of digital video and photos, plus a music collection, that could easily be 200GB. Now let's say you've been to the Olympics, filled a couple of 4GB cards with more photos, and want to get them backed up - you're looking at about a week to back up 8GB. Unthrottled, it'd be in the region of maybe an hour (on an Infinity line, obvs).

If you're a keen photographer, or you're backing up stuff from a few cameras, you could easily be looking at a month or more to back up your data, and all that time you're going to be accumulating new data to back up - it could conceivably never finish; what's the point of a backup service if it never actually backs up your data?

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Re: ASA is NOT Right JP19!

100kb/s - are you shitting me?

Backing up a full 2TB drive would take around 5 years assuming the drive manages to survive that long.

It seems my all you can eat using a single chopstick analogy was being generous.

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Pint

Re: ASA is NOT Right JP19!

This is a very valid point.. I use this service and have 10years worth of photos that I back up. The initial backup will take an eternity once it hits 200GB. But once I get there and only incrementally adding data to it GB per week, this data will never be uploaded in time - unless I leave my PC on 24/7 which isn't great for the environment is it. At the moment, I am paying for a service that I cannon use!

A better and more suitable business model is to impose a monthly cap of say 10GB per month, and once this is achieved, then you will get throttled. This way the light users who have over 200GB on initial data don't get penalized.

ASA are completely in the right on this one.

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Megaphone

Candid photography?

People, you're whining, er, arguing about something that costs $5 a month. 100kbps is 800MB a day. For heavyweight applications, you will have to pay actual money. Even then, cloud backup is secondary backup.

If you're worried about leaving your machine on, then have it do something useful - worldcommunitygrid.org.

Remember most Carbonite users are on ADSL, or cable with crippled upload. That is not a viable way to back up video. Carbonite will do it, but not by default.

No, I don't work for them. They work for me.

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Boffin

Re: ASA is NOT Right JP19!

Carbonite offers a full backup service. I paid for a year even ahead of time it sounded so good (luckily they honored their money-back guarantee.) I had 400 GB to backup. The initial backup, at the throttle rate, would have taken about sixty days to upload (this was after two days at the full speed my enhanced ISP account offers.)

If it's a backup service, and it throttles, and it says it's unlimited... it's not. 400 GB isn't a lot these days with 1TB + drives being sold to consumers.

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I wasted many hours trying to use an online backup service. They took my money even though it was supposed to be a free trial. My computer spent five days uploading data with no end in sight. File names were visible over the web - but when I went to open them - it claimed they hadn't actually been uploaded yet . Got my money back but I would like an honest description of what is on offer.

I'm happy to see ASA keep them honest - and yes I agree with Mozy its bad for the rest of them - once bitten twice shy. I'm not going to waste my time again in a hurry.

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S3Sync. Cron. An Amazon account.

Done. Who do you think backs these guys up anyway ?

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Unhappy

ASA are never right

The ASA are never right. They tend to ban adverts which will never be shown again anyway, or ban adverts on picky technical details were one person in ten million complains. The ASA should not exist, it has no teeth anyway.

The existence of the ASA removes the thinking process from people's brains. They will look at any advert and will think "the ASA only allows proper adverts so what ever I'm looking at must be true" when what they really should be doing is look at all adverts with a sceptical mind.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ASA are never right

Advertising is for the most part an attempt to circumvent the thinking process.

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The bandwidth cap on carbonite's service makes it effectively useless if you have a lot of data. A bit like all you can eat with a gastric band.

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Joke

I'm making a complaint to the ASA...

...about the 90s Dutch Eurodance band 2Unlimited - if you ask me they are both very limited in terms of talent and in terms of what constitutes an actual band of musicians! I'm expecting it to be fully upheld!

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Boffin

You could just use CrashPlan w/unlimited backup

CrashPlan has unlimited backup, no bandwidth restrictions.

No interest, just a satisfied customer (w/ about 150gig backed up).

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FAIL

Not a lot...

I have a 1Tb HD which is about 3/4 full. I'm glad I didn't choose this service as a backup.

If it was throttling after 200Tb it might have a case but 200Gb? Are we still in the 1990s?

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Stop

Too much unlimited

We have unlimited texts (likely 3000-5000), unlimited broadband (capped to a few GB), why is the ASA suddenly concerned about another unlimited.

Crack down on them all, or none. Be consistent!

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Paris Hilton

Well, you can forget your troubles with those Imperial slugs. I told you I'd outrun 'em.

That is a weak ASA decision. Carbonite works, though not perfectly, and whatever limits it has are immaterial in practice. I use it because it is cheap. I have around 150MB sitting in Boston, which is probably typical. I throttle my own Carbonite uploads - it is more than fast enough for the retail and small business applications it is designed for.

Why not perfectly? The Windows client is a bit clunky and annoying for power users. You can't throttle its CPU use during scans. It's file based, not block based (a bit of a non-problem in this market). Migrations can be patchy.

Claire Galbois-Alcaix underestimates her customers, to put it politely. This is normally fatal in the long term.

Paris - you know why.

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Coat

Re: Well, you can forget your troubles with those Imperial slugs. I told you I'd outrun 'em.

That would be 150GB, not MB, over, I think, six years, making that 396 bytes/sec. I'll stop now.

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Bigger problems

Personally, I quit Carbonite for Crashplan a while ago - not because of the performance, more because when I moved offices and computers, I thought 'ah, I'll just install Carbonite here and restore my backup to the new machine' ... a few days later, it had given up on a bunch of files. It didn't actually say WHICH files, just that "some" files had failed to restore properly. Once I worked out which were missing, I tried restoring just those files ... long wait, same error. Customer support: "hm, looks like we can't get those files back, would you like a cookie instead?" (Actually, a free service extension. As if I'm going to keep using a backup service which has already given up on protecting my data!)

A backup service that can't restore the data again? Even free it's overpriced.

I had other backups of course, so nothing was actually lost, except confidence in Carbonite. Since that, I've backed up and restored plenty with Crashplan, without the slightest hitch - and the local backup is a big help (I back all my machines up over the LAN to a big external drive, as well as their servers, so I get nice fast restore times there.)

A 100kbit/sec throttle really is taking the mickey. I was about to compare it to my local Indian buffet having a policy of "after the 1st plate, you have to eat through a straw", then thought that bit could be misinterpreted - but when they are capping you to literally dialup speeds - slower than bonded ISDN, slower than my very first half-megabit cable modem from over a decade ago - it really is that extreme.

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