Carbonite Sues Storage Vendor, Storage VAR

Boston-based Carbonite alleges in a lawsuit that the Promise VTrak Raid hardware it purchased from Promise Technology, Milpitas, Calif., did not perform as specified, causing significant data loss due to physical drive errors and array errors.

Because of the hardware problems, Carbonite said in the lawsuit that it lost the backups of more than 7,500 customers in multiple separate incidents. That caused serious damage to Carbonite's business, the company said in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed in the Suffolk County, Massachusetts, Superior Court. A copy of the lawsuit was examined by ChannelWeb.

Carbonite said in the lawsuit that it purchased more than $3 million worth of the Promise hardware from Interactive Digital Systems, a Norwell, Mass.-based solution provider.

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As a result, Carbonite is suing Promise for breach of express warranty for failing to repair or replace the Promise hardware it alleges to be defective. It is also suing Promise for fraud, alleging that Promise knew or should have known that the specifications for its hardware were false. Promise is also being sued for unfair and deceptive acts and practices.

Carbonite is suing Interactive Digital Systems for breach of contract for selling the allegedly defective Promise hardware to Carbonite and then refusing to compensate Carbonite for the problems.

Promise declined to talk to ChannelWeb about the lawsuit. However, Keith Parker, senior marketing manager for the company, said in an e-mailed statement that his company believes Carbonite's allegations have no merit because an investigation by Promise found that its "products were neither implemented nor managed using industry best practices."

Parker wrote that Promise has more than 20 years of experience working with customers "from individual users up to large, multi-petabyte data center installations who are successfully using our products."

Interactive Digital Systems referred questions to Joe Messina, a partner with Mintz Levin, a Boston-based law firm representing the company.

Messina said that as of early this week the solution provider had not yet received a copy of the lawsuit and so has no response.

"Carbonite initiated this lawsuit, and a PR campaign of some sort," Messina said. "They filed a complaint at court, but didn't file against us. So we're in the dark about this. What we know is from reading the papers."

Carbonite also declined to talk to ChannelWeb about the lawsuit.

However, in an e-mailed statement, CEO David Friend said that the incident involved occurred nearly two years ago.

Friend wrote that reports that Carbonite "lost the backups of over 7,500 customers" could give the impression that 7,500 customers were unable to restore their files, but that was not the case.

Instead, Friend wrote, those customers had their backups re-started immediately and automatically. "A small number of these customers had their PCs crash before their restarted backups were complete. These customers were unable to restore all of their files from Carbonite. We took full responsibility for what happened, and I did my best to apologize personally to each of these customers," he wrote.

Since the incident, Carbonite has not encountered further problems, Friend wrote.