Few Carbonite Customers Lost Data in Drive Failure, CEO Says
Saturday’s Boston Globe contained news of a lawsuit filed by Boston-based online backup company Carbonite against two companies that supplied allegedly defective disk drive arrays. Carbonite CEO David Friend confirmed today that that a suit has been filed, but he says he’s concerned that the Globe story—which has been widely re-reported in outlets such as TechCrunch—created the incorrect impression that thousands of Carbonite customers lost their data in the incident.
“It would be easy to come away from the Globe coverage with the impression that 7,500 users lost their data, which is not at all the case,” Friend says. “Nearly all of the affected 7,500 customers were immediately and successfully backed up again and did not lose any data.”
The lead paragraph of the Globe story stated that Carbonite “is alleging that two other companies sold it more than $3 million worth of defective hardware, resulting in thousands of customers losing data.” The article included the following direct quotation from the complaint, which was filed last week in Suffolk Superior Court: “Carbonite lost the backups of over 7,500 customers in a number of separate incidents, causing serious damage to Carbonite’s business and to its reputation as a reliable source for backup data service.”
The Globe article’s lead would appear to be borne out by the quotation. But Friend says little data was actually lost in the episodes, which took place in 2007, because the company immediately grabbed new copies of the lost data from most of the affected users’ PCs. The equipment that allegedly proved unreliable had been supplied to Carbonite by Milpitas, CA-based Promise Technology via Norwell, MA-based system integrator Interactive Digital Systems. It was later replaced with hardware from a different vendor. “Since switching to Dell RAID servers a couple of years ago, there have been no further problems,” Friend says.
Carbonite’s complaint, according to the Globe, seeks unspecified damages from both Promise and Interactive Digital Systems. It charges Promise Technology with breach of contract, fraud, and unfair and deceptive acts and practices, and charges Interactive Digital Systems with breach of warranty. “All we are seeking in the lawsuit is for Promise to refund our money,” says Friend.
Update: TechCrunch has updated its story with a response from Friend and from a Carbonite customer who claims some data was lost.