Carbonite Gets Physical with New Hardware Backup Appliance

Carbonite, the cloud-based backup services provider, is expanding into hardware. The company today took the wraps off Carbonite Appliance HT10, a hybrid system that blends the disaster recovery capabilities of the cloud with the speed of local physical storage.

“It’s a game-changer for us,” Dave Maffei, Carbonite’s vice president of global channel sales, told Small Business Computing. He described the HT10 as his company’s “single largest announcement and launch in the history of the company,” including the debut of the company itself, he said.

Having scored early successes in the consumer space with its Personal plans, the company branched out to the businesses backup market with Pro and Server plans. Carbonite had all of its bases covered, or so it seemed.

Then a realization struck the company. Small businesses needed better data protection than online backups alone could provide. Not only was it a pivotal shift in Carbonite’s growth strategy amid a fiercely competitive landscape, but also in its approach to cloud storage.

Business Continuity Is the New Priority

“It’s not a backup conversation anymore, it’s a business continuity conversation,” said Maffei. When PCs are overrun with malware or servers fail, time is of the essence, he argued. “I need my business to keep moving right away.”

Carbonite Appliance HT10

Carbonite’s HT10 hybrid hardware appliance combines both cloud-based and land-based data storage.

Despite its many benefits, one of the cloud’s most glaring weaknesses is that recovering data can be a slow process. Downloading and restoring gigabytes (GB) worth of data, or more, over public Internet connection can take hours—time that’s better spent earning revenue instead of watching the clock waiting for servers and PCs to come back online.

Carbonite Appliance HT10 eliminates that uncertainty with a new hybrid approach, said Maffei. With the new hardware, the focus changes from whether his company can get a business up and running, to “how quickly we got you back and running.”

Local Backups, Cloud-Based Disaster Recovery

Available exclusively through Carbonite’s channel partners—no direct sales, said Maffei—the HT10 blends local, networked physical hard drive capacity with Carbonite’s cloud storage, the latter of which can be considered an off-site, disaster recovery safety net, said Maffei. The system ships with a terabyte (TB) of local storage that is augmented by 500 GB of cloud storage.

This setup allows small businesses to recover files “exponentially faster than the cloud,” said Maffei. “That speed equates to revenue and dollars.” The HT10 also supports bare metal recovery, in which a complete system image (operating systems, applications, databases and files) can be restored to existing, new and even dissimilar PCs and servers using a USB key.

The process works just as well in reverse, letting businesses quickly safeguard their data locally via client software that points to the HT10. The device, in turn, can be configured to transfer backups to the cloud on a schedule. The HT10 supports only Microsoft Windows, and while Maffei couldn’t discuss specific plans for expanding OS support, he did hint at the possibility.

On the cloud storage side of the fence, all data transferred to Carbonite’s data centers is protected by SSL encryption and then stored with AES-256 server-side encryption. At no point is raw data left unprotected as it wends its way across private and public networks.

Should disaster strike and wipe out the HT10, Carbonite’s “cloud mirror image [acts] as the security blanket,” said Maffei. Working with the company’s channel and IT services partners, customers can be up and running as soon as the next day with a new HT10.

Like its cloud backup plans, Carbonite makes its HT10 system available on a subscription basis. “There are no hardware costs with the unit,” said Maffei. Customers can “backup to the storage quota for a low monthly cost,” and add additional storage as their requirements grow.

The HT10 benefits Carbonite by helping the company grow its solution ecosystem. “This is the first channel-only product that we have ever released,” said Maffei. Five thousand channel partners stand ready to resell or provide small business backup services based on the HT10.

And it’s just the first of many to come, teased Maffei. “The HT10 model is our first toe in the water,” he said, adding that his company has “an entire lineup of appliances” in the works. Also expect broader set of software integrations, including “virtual machine capabilities” to make an appearance in the coming months.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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