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Carbonite goes after SMBs with cloud backup appliance

Carbonite, a cloud backup pioneer going back to the days when it was something done only by consumers, is moving deeper into the SMB market.  Carbonite is also changing its delivery method from software that customers download off its web site to appliances sold by channel partners.

Carbonite launched its first appliance this week. The Carbonite Appliance HT10 includes Carbonite software and 1 TB of local storage with the ability to move 500 GB into the Amazon cloud.

Dave Maffei, Carbonite’s VP of Global Channels, said the appliance is designed for SMBs with up to 500 employees. Customers will pay a monthly fee for the appliance and Amazon capacity. He said channel partners will set the pricing, but Carbonite CEO David Friend said the appliance would cost $99 per month during the vendor’s latest earnings call in April.

Maffei said the software on the appliance is different than what Carbonite sells to consumer. The appliance software likely includes technology that Carbonite acquired when it bought SMB cloud vendor Zmanda in 2012. HT10 connects to servers via Ethernet, takes local bare metal images of the servers and replicates them to the cloud.

The software for businesses must be more reliable than that for consumers. “A couple of days without data is potentially the end of the road for a business,” Maffei said. “It’s different than losing pictures of the kids.”

The Carbonite sells its Zmanda software as Carbonite Server for SMBs, but the majority of its revenue still comes from consumers.  In the first quarter of this year, consumers accounted for $23.3 million in revenue compared to $9.2 million from SMBs. The appliance should close that gap.

Carbonite’s appliance and new SMB focus also shows how cloud backup is gaining acceptance. Carbonite, Mozy and the other early cloud backup vendors focused on consumers at the start because businesses wouldn’t think of trusting data protection to the cloud. Now Mozy is part of EMC, and even the largest corporations are backing up to the cloud. That means you can expect larger appliances from Carbonite in the not-so-distant future.