Miralink Lowers Entry Price to Data Backup

Monday May 15th 2006 by Lauren Simonds
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The company aims to make enterprise-quality data backup and recovery easier and more affordable for small-and-medium businesses.

Last November, we told you about Miralink, a company that makes IP-based recovery solutions that save an exact copy of your business data in two physically different locations. Today, the company announced another member of this real-time disaster recovery family, the Miralink 400, that's designed especially for small- and medium-sized businesses.

Like its previous models, Miralink designed the 400 as a two-box solution. The appliance ships in pairs, one designed to reside on-site at your main business, while the other box resides off-site in a physically remote location — with no distance limits. The data you create is saved to the on-site box and then replicated to the off-site box in a continuous feed.

Miralink says that the idea of the remote location is to keep your backup data far enough away so that it isn't affected by any disasters that could compromise the on-site box. For example, a company in New Orleans might keep the second appliance in Dallas.

What's New
According to Ron McCabe, Miralink's founder and CEO, the company wanted to create a more entry-level product tailored more to the needs of the small business. "We looked at the Miralink 500 and asked how we could improve it," he said. "We refined the user experience and gave the 400 a Web-based interface. It's easier to use, easier to set up, and it's more affordable."

McCabe says it's also smaller and quieter. While the 500 was a rack-mountable design, the 400 sits on a table or desk top and looks more like a high-end audio receiver. The aluminum case helps the box run cooler so it uses fewer fans.

Perhaps the biggest difference, McCabe said, is that you can use the Miralink 400 as primary storage. Previously, you had to have your own primary storage saving to the on-site Miralink and then replicating to the off-site box.

The Miralink 400's capacity ranges from 80GB to 500GB of storage using 7,200 rpm SATA drives. Other features include:

  • Plug-and-play disaster recovery solution — no special software to load on your system
  • Non-intrusive, real-time data protection
  • Secure remote administration through SSL-encrypted interface; application agnostic. Works with any database or business productivity package
  • Enterprise-class performance

Restoring Data
Making data backup easier to manage won't help much if you can restore it easily. To that end, Miralink says its made the process as simple as possible.

"At the off-site location, the Miralink 400 looks like a read-only drive," said McCabe. "If disaster strikes, you use the Web-based interface to change the remote unit so that it's a data source, which makes it act like a regular read/write drive." He said the Miralink 400 doesn't require you to download any software, drivers or utilities to make the change.

Intended Target
McCabe lists a variety of industries as likely candidates for a Miralink 400, including small medical and legal offices, credit unions, and insurance and accounting firms. "Companies that must conform to HIPAA, Sarbanes Oxley regulations can certainly benefit," he said.

Pricing starts at $5,000 for two appliances — a 50 percent drop from the Miralink 500's $10,000 per pair cost. The company also offers three levels of scalable support — gold, silver and bronze — with pricing that ranges from a couple of hundred to several thousand dollars. E-mail support is free. McCabe likens the support team to the Maytag repairman: "We don't get many calls," he said.

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com

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