Copy That: Data Backup at Any Distance

As a small business owner, one of the most sensible choices you can make to safeguard your company’s critical data is to keep an exact copy at a remote location. That way, should the unthinkable happen and your building burns or floods or your server simply crashes (like that’s ever simple, right?), you can restore your data from the offsite location without ever missing a beat.

MiraLink, a Portland, Oregon-based company of 25 employees recently announced its family of data mirroring appliances, which it says is the first IP-based recovery solution designed to let small businesses create an exact copy of their vital data anywhere in the world using a standard IP connection.

Two of the appliances in this family of four are aimed squarely at small business: the MiraLink 500 and the MiraLink 1000. The boxes plug into any network and, according to Ron McCabe, MiraLink’s CEO, “they ship in pairs, like shoes.” The idea is that you install one box in your primary location and the second box in a remote location, preferably far enough way so that it’s not affected by any disaster that could affect your primary place of business.

The MiraLink appliance is designed to work transparently, i.e., you’re not supposed to notice it working. “The appliance backs up your data to the offsite location in a continuous feed,” said McCabe. “This is an elegant solution that anyone can manage. Your server recognizes the MiraLink as just another hard drive. Anyone who can manage a hard drive can manage the MiraLink,” he said.

McCabe said the MiraLink is designed to give small businesses a reliable and affordable way to prevent data disasters. This may be true, but this product line isn’t priced for every small business. The entry-level MiraLink 500 — which provides up to 600GB capacity — starts at $10,000 for the pair. That may be a huge amount of money to some small businesses, but it really depends on the kind of business that you’re in. If the data you work with is critical to running your day-to-day operations, and you can’t afford to lose anything for any amount of time, then 10 grand might strike you as very affordable.

Another advantage of keeping an exact copy of your data in a remote location is that it can help you meet various state and federal regulatory requirements for Sarbanes-Oxley, SEC 17a-4 and HIPPA. McCabe said that small businesses working in the healthcare, finance, insurance, legal, architecture and entertainment industries could benefit from MiraLink’s near-instantaneous data recovery.

A Few Technical Details
While the MiraLink 500 features up to 600GB using SATA drives, the 1000 offers the same capacity but relies on faster SCSI drives. Other MiraLink features include:

  • Patented data mirroring engine
  • Self-contained appliance requires no additional software or hardware
  • Creates an exact copy of the data at the remote site
  • Maintains data integrity and database consistency
  • Compatible with all major operating systems
  • Works with any database or business productivity package
  • Low bandwidth TCP/IP connections. Uses existing Internet or private networking connections
  • Technology automatically manage interrupted transmissions
  • No distance limitations
  • No performance degradation at the primary site
  • Near-instantaneous recovery

You’ll find much more detailed information here.

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of

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