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Carbonite Problems

About 2 years ago I switched from Mozy as my preferred backup services provider to Carbonite.   This weekend I am contemplating going back to Mozy, despite their 100%+ price increase, or finding another provider.    The reason?  Carbonite customer service is deplorable and their backup solution is a detriment to productivity.

Customer Service

In the past year I’ve had reason to contact customer service three times.  All three times my question was not answered properly and customer service was basically clueless.   Not surprising since they appear to be an outsourced call center with zero clue about the actual product.  It is blatantly obvious they are following a support script, and a poorly written one at that.

In one example I wanted to set my backup to not run 9-5 M-F and keep running it on the weekend.  This was possible prior to upgrading to the latest version.   I told the agent I had looked at the “backup schedule” option in the control panel and only saw a way to pause the application for one time-slot 7-days/week.  There is no longer an obvious way to have a different schedule on the weekend.   The response?  A scripted answer on what to menu options to click to get to the “pause my backup” schedule in the admin panel.  Great, thanks “Joe” from India!  Totally useless.  My mistake was trying to follow that up with “thanks, I already knew that, what I am asking is….” and re-explaining the issue in simpler terms.   This time I received a two-line response “follow the backup scheduling instructions.  I hope I provided good customer service, please rate me.” along with a ratings link.   WTF.

Service Issue : Throttling

Another reason I am thinking of nixing Carbonite is the lame backup speed.   I am on a 50M/10M line with NO contention.  I routinely get 45M+/8M+ speed tests.    However Carbonite backup speed is ALWAYS throttling at around 128K to 512K (on a good day).   Even routine 512K would be an improvement.    As such I need to keep my system online 24×7 to ensure my 2GB VMware disk blocks are backed up.   Sadly a 4GB file is taking 16h+ to backup and thus I NEVER have a complete backup.    This is the WORST situation as my VMWare development images are the most critical item to push to backup and they are never complete.

Service Issue : VMWare Contention

The final push to make the move to another backup solution is the obvious contention with VMWare.   Disable ALL Carbonite services and everything works great.   Suspend a VMWare Workstation image and shut down the computer and you are out the door in less than 3 minutes.  Enable Carbonite and you might was well go play darts for 15 minutes or more.     Every time, without fail, suspending, terminating, or otherwise existing the VMWare workstation updates part of a 2GB disk file and Carbonite freaks-the-hell-out.    The entire system becomes non-responsive and essentially locks up.    I had this issue on my high-end Asus laptop and now it is happening on my high-end HP laptop.

Every time I disable Carbonite, including the background services, the problem is completely non-existent.   Carbonite’s response last time I brought this up was “this is a problem with VMWare, contact them”.   Really?   Didn’t happen with Mozy, EVER.  Doesn’t happen if I turn off Carbonite.

It is quite obvious Carbonite is not managing their disk changes monitoring algorithm very well.    I’m not sure what exactly is going on, but why it takes 15m+ to detect a simple file change and mark it for backup is beyond me.   The appear to be either scanning every BIT in the file for a true differential backup, I’d be SHOCKED if they are that sophisticated, or they are re-scanning the entire drive because one file change (more likely).   Either way it sucks and kills productivity and my ability to exit the office and get home to my family.


I’m tired of the lame excuses, slow backup time, and disruption to my daily routine by using a simple backup service.  I’m on the hunt once again for a viable backup service.  Mozy?   Tomahawk?   What else is out there?  What do you use?  Why?    Have some hints, share!