Carbonite and Acronis are colliding

Each backup software vendor is treading on the other’s territory as it tries to offer a complete solution.

Small server after fire. Telephone sits atop case.
photo: John from USA

The small business data backup market is getting crowded. Medium and larger size enterprises have IT staff who look after their data backup requirement. But data for a small business is just as critical, yet they can’t afford IT staff to manage their backup requirements.

IT professionals know that to truly be ready for disaster recovery, system disks, application programs, and data must be restored quickly. For years, one way to quickly recover a system disk was to have a bit-by-bit system disk image (1 in the drawing) on the shelf and restore from that. Application programs may be included on the same disk image.

Once the system disk and application programs (2 in the drawing) have been restored, one only needs to restore data from the latest backup set (3 in the drawing), and everything should play.

drawing by Russ Bellew
A Complete Disk Restore

For many years, PowerQuest’s Drive Image and Norton Ghost were leaders in disk imaging software. Unfortunately Symantec acquired both products and slowly sucked the life out of them. Acronis filled this vacuum with their Acronis True Image products. If you have a bug-free release, True Image works great, but it’s not a complete solution because the image (1 in the drawing) probably doesn’t include yesterday’s data files.

In the meantime, Carbonite grew out of nowhere in the mid-2000s, with a file-by-file backup program that stored users’ files via the Internet unto Carbonite’s servers (3 in the drawing). I like Carbonite: there’s no hardware to buy or staff to train, and it provides grandfather / father / son versioning back to 3 months, but Carbonite is not a complete solution, because it won’t recover your system disk.

About 18 months ago, Acronis introduced their file-by-file backup system for backing up files over the Internet to Acronis’ servers. I’ve tried it, and prefer Carbonite.

Now Carbonite offers their disk image program, as an extra-cost item. I’ve not tried it. They also, for more money, offer next-day courier delivery of all of your files on an external hard drive.

The small business owner will probably benefit from the competition as Carbonite and Acronis fight it out in the small business marketplace.

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© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

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