Mirra Personal Server 80GB
When we took our first look at Mirra, a so-called personal server aimed at making backups and file sharing as simple as plug and play--and even doing it remotely--we were unimpressed. Since then, the company has updated its software to version 2.0 and added a 250GB product to its lineup. The update adds remote access and sharing features to the Mirra, so you can invite friends to access your Mirra via the Internet, but the improvement isn't enough for us to recommend Mirra over less expensive and more capable network-storage solutions, such as the Buffalo LinkStation.
The Mirra personal server is available in 80GB ($400), 120GB ($500), and 250GB ($700) models. Unfortunately, the Mirra is not designed to accept hardware upgrades, so if you find yourself running out of space in the future, plan on shelling out all over again for a separate, pricey Mirra. In contrast, the Linksys EFG120 has an extra drive bay that lets you expand its storage capacity, not to mention a print server and other features that you won't find in the Mirra.
With the help of clear directions from the Mirra's concise quick-start guide and a "30-minute" user guide, we had the hardware connected, the software installed, and our two PCs backed up in less than two hours. The software automatically configured itself for our test home network and found the Mirra personal server connected to our four-port wireless router. Once the unit is up and running, you simply select the folders on each PC to archive. According to Mirra, the personal server will automatically and continuously synchronize two to five PCs comfortably, tracking and logging up to eight versions of any single file on any of your PCs, conveniently performing all this in the background. Not all backup solutions let you archive multiple versions of a file, so this will be a plus for some. For others, it will simply be a waste of disk space. Though the device itself uses Linux, it works only with PCs running Windows XP or 2000, and it requires a broadband connection and a router with an available Ethernet port.