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Online backup service provider Carbonite is suing Promise Technology, claiming that the storage vendor’s arrays did not perform to specifications and prevented Carbonite users from restoring their files.
The lawsuit, as reported by the Boston Globe, was filed in Suffolk Superior Court last week and alleges that Carbonite “suffered “substantial damage” to its business and reputation from products manufactured by Promise Technology Inc. and marketed to Carbonite by Interactive Digital Systems Inc,” which is also named in the suit.
According to the Globe story and other reports over the last several days, Carbonite alleged that it lost 7500 customers’ data in several separate incidents because of the problem with Promise, but Carbonite’s CEO has since released a statement saying that number is misleading:
On March 21, The Boston Globe reported that Carbonite is suing one of its vendors for defective hardware that was purchased in 2007. This lawsuit stems from an incident that occurred nearly two years ago. The article (and subsequent coverage by other outlets) references court documents which say that Carbonite “lost the backups of over 7,500 customers.” It is possible that readers will walk away from this with the impression that 7,500 customers were unable to restore their files from Carbonite. This is not the case. Let me explain.
All of the affected customers had their backups re-started immediately and automatically. A small number of these customers had their PCs crash before their re-started backups were complete. These customers were unable to restore all off their files from Carbonite. We took full responsibility for what happened, and I did my best to apologize personally to each of these customers.
We addressed the technical issues that caused the above problems, and in the nearly two years since the incident, we have not encountered further problems. That said, our lawsuit seeks a refund for the defective products we were sold.
The obvious question becomes, why is Carbonite suing two years later if there have been no further problems? If there have been no further problems, how can Carbonite prove damage to its business and reputation? It sounds like PR-wise, Carbonite is trying to do two different things at once: present a dramatic story to the court in the hopes of winning the lawsuit, while minimizing the drama to its potential customers who may be reading in the press. They probably can’t have it both ways.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson from Promise sent the following statement to Storage Soup this afternoon:
We have looked into Carbonite’s allegations and believe that they have no merit. Our investigation indicates that our products were neither implemented nor managed using industry best practices. … We look forward to a successful conclusion to this matter that demonstrates the quality of our products and our overall commitment to the customer.
I will give Carbonite points for chutzpah, though. Imagine if every enterprise storage user sued their vendor over problems like this. It’s a pretty good indication that storage for cloud services will be under high scrutiny, even as every storage vendor tries to climb aboard the cloud bandwagon.