Mozy to Carbonite… Oh no you don’t!

After relative bliss with Mozy the past few months, I finally decided to switch to Carbonite.  The Mozy client software is riddled with bugs and the upload throttling logic has plagued the utility of my machine while backups are in progress.  To make matters worse, their client software updates have been less than smooth with it frequently being the case I have to uninstall it completely first, reboot and reinstall. Upgrades? I think not.

I recently picked up a Windows Home Server (WHS) to replace my D-Link DNS-323 NAS due to the improvements in network performance and remote access scenario I get.  WHS is based on Windows Server 2003 and Mozy consequently assumes that I’m a business/enterprise user and doesn’t let me use their standard account.  Their client software has an explicit whitelist of platforms it can install on. 

In order to get WHS support, they want me to upgrade to their "Mozy Pro" account. Let’s compare their pricing:

  • MozyHome: $4.95 per month, all you can eat storage
  • MozyPro: $3.95 per month + $0.50 / GB per month

I have 116 GB currently backed up through Mozy which means that "upgrading" to MozyPro would cost me an additional $57 per month over what I’m paying now!  Goodbye Mozy.

Enter: Carbonite.  I’ve heard such great things about the service from friends, including Omar’s recent ramblings. I was particularly impressed that the CEO of Carbonite even took time to respond in the comments of Omar’s blog. I love it when companies close the loop with actual end-users. 

I signed up for a new Carbonite account which took all of 5 minutes. Easy schmeasy. 

As part of this switch from Mozy to Carbonite, I also wanted to run the backup software on my WHS machine, since I could then eliminate the need to even have my desktop PC turned on for backups to occur. 

I downloaded their client software and attempted to install it on my Windows Home Server through remote desktop into the administrator’s account. It successfully installed, but when their client service attempted to "register my computer" with the Carbonite cloud service, it failed. It opened IE and navigated to an error page that said:

Carbonite could not connect to the server to complete registration.

It’s possible that a firewall or other security program may be preventing Carbonite from connecting to the Internet.

If you have Norton Internet Security installed, click here for instructions to configure Norton Internet Security to work with Carbonite.

Hmm… Okay, sounds like a firewall issue.  I explicitly allowed the Carbonite client exe to bypass the firewall but that unfortunately didn’t resolve the issue.  I then turned the firewall off completely as a test, but still no dice.

I searched their online help with no luck and did a general web search for Carbonite on WHS, but no luck there either.   I resorted to emailing their customer support to describe my problem and 2 days later they responded with this:

Hello and thanks for contacting customer support:

I apologize but Carbonite doesn’t support the Windows Home Server either, as Carbonite was designed for Windows XP and Windows Vista.

Their OS support matrix on their site isn’t that easy to find, but I did find this after digging around longer than I expected:

The current version of Carbonite is designed for Windows XP and Windows Vista. Carbonite supports both the standard 32-bit and 64-bit versions of both XP and Vista. Carbonite will not support older versions of Windows (Windows 98, Windows 2000, and Windows ME). Carbonite for the Mac will be available in mid-2008.

There is no mention of explicitly not support Windows Server SKUs and since I was able to install the client without any platform warnings, I assumed that it would work.  We all know what they say about when you "assume".  Admittedly, I have to shoulder some of the blame for this since I should have explicitly checked that WHS would be supported.

Since their customer support was less than helpful, as a hail mary, I have an email to their VP of Customer Support probing into this further (they gave me his email address as part of the response they sent in case I had more questions).  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it’s an issue that can be readily solved.  My last resort is mapping a drive to the shared folders and backing up from my desktop PC.

In the meantime, if anyone has successfully gotten Carbonite working on a Windows Home Server, let me know!