Carbonite Launches 'Personal Cloud' for SMB, Consumer Markets

Carbonite's new HomePlus and HomePremier services provide such features as file mirroring, folder restoring and full-system snapshots -- much like modern enterprise storage networks.

Carbonite, a relatively high-visibility cloud storage provider due to its strategy of buying lots of television and radio commercial time, has advanced way beyond offering simple file backup in the cloud.

The Boston-based company has introduced a new suite of cloud-based services that add up to what might be considered a personal cloud service for consumers and home-based businesses.

Carbonite's new HomePlus and HomePremier services, which went live Nov. 1, provide such features as file mirroring, folder restoring and full-system snapshots-much like modern enterprise storage networks.

"We've found through our own research that about 30 percent of all computer users do not have any sort of data backup system, largely because it's just a hassle," Carbonite Vice President of Marketing Tom Murray told eWEEK. "Furthermore, the notion of restoring their operating system and applications is even more daunting to them. Most people don't know how to do it, and if they do, it's extremely time-consuming and inconvenient.

"We've worked hard to bring this mirroring functionality to the masses and make it easy to use. We made it so that it only takes a few clicks to completely restore a system from a snapshot."

Resembles an Enterprise Storage System

This is revolutionary for the consumer and SMB markets; a lot of enterprise-grade system-restore software packages can't do it that easily. Carbonite's MirrorImage now enables "bare-metal"-type snapshots of a computer's entire system to be taken every 24 hours and copied to a second hard drive or to one in the cloud; this includes all the data files.

"This creates a complete copy of everything on a user's PC, so if their hard drive crashes or has to be reformatted, the PC can easily be restored to exactly the way it was before," Murray said. "Bare-metal backup used to require advanced computer skills, but now our users only need to plug in an external hard drive and let the software do the rest."

The restoral process is simple indeed. eWEEK viewed a demonstration of a PC restoral operation, which required only three or four clicks to get the PC back up and running.

The new Carbonite Home suite also includes External Hard Drive Backup, which enables HomePlus and HomePremier users to add files and folders saved on an external drive to their online backup, and Courier Recovery.

Finally, the premium HomePremier plan comes with the option to have a backup recovery drive shipped to a user, in case of a PC data-loss disaster. For users with large backups, the Courier Recovery option could be the fastest way to get files back should they need to recover all their data or do not have Internet connectivity to perform a standard recovery, Murray said.

The new suite of Carbonite Home solutions became available Nov. 1. Annual pricing runs $59 (for Carbonite Home, the basic storage service), $99 for HomePlus and $149 for HomePremier. Discounted multiyear subscriptions are also available, Murray said.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...