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Backing up your data is idiot proof with Mirra


Backing up your data is idiot proof with Mirra

Associated Press

The computer server, workhorse of the Internet and corporate world, just got personal. And remarkably user friendly.

That's a very good thing indeed, because the chore we all loathe and too often neglect is backing up our exploding data store, which is worth so much more to us than our various computers.

Intimidating to the nongeek, the server is normally thought of as a machine that's entrusted to network managers. Nothing we can fathom without stacks of manuals and hours to burn.

The Mirra Personal Server from Mirra Inc. changes that. It offers mere mortals easy and automatic backups they can handle alone.

Anyone with a few networked computers at home or in a home office should take a serious look at the Mirra. Just hook it up to your network, select what you want to back up, and walk away.

You can also share your data over the Internet with whomever you wish. All they need is an e-mail address and a Web browser.

Leave a file at home? No problem. Fetch it from any Net-connected computer with Mirra's remote access feature. Want to share photos -- or bulky databases for that matter -- with your siblings? Simply set up a share.

This Linux operating system-based machine, at $499 for a 120-gigabyte model (and $399 for 80GB), is designed to be idiot proof. I've tried earlier such inventions, and they were frustratingly complex.

The Mirra's interface is uncluttered. And it works in the background, keeping all the folders you've marked for backup current even as you change their contents. (Mirra stores the eight most recent versions of each file.)

The initial version I tested wasn't fast -- the company admits it takes about 30 minutes to transfer a gigabyte of data, and I needed eight minutes to restore a 220MB file to a new location. But the Mirra didn't fail me in a month of testing.

And Mirra Inc. promises that version 1.1, due out Thursday, will be faster and even easier to use.

After plugging in the Mirra, you install its software on the computers you want to back up. That can include any laptops. This feature I loved, as Mirra worked fine over a Wi-Fi connection.

Other things I liked about Mirra:

? When accessing it remotely you have the option of using SSL encryption. It's slower, but offers security. Or you can go unencrypted for faster download.

? Because it runs on Linux, Mirra is not susceptible to Windows viruses.

? It works just fine with firewalls.

Mirra sells the servers on its website and says they will be available from at Best in mid-January.

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