IDSbox review

Small businesses that don't trust managed backup providers for off-site storage should check out IDSbox

Dave Mitchell
27 Aug 2009
4
Price when reviewed 
894

Until now, small businesses couldn't get local workstation and server backup, replication to a remote appliance and full control of the entire process, without paying a fortune.

Comprising two small appliances with one located at the main office and the other in a remote location of your choosing, IDSbox places local and remote backup entirely in your hands. All data on the local appliance is replicated at the block level over a secure encrypted tunnel to the remote unit, thus providing off-site storage.

This sturdy desktop box runs a customised Linux kernel and backup storage is provided by a SATA drive that slots in at the front, secured by a lockable lever. An eSATA port at the rear allows more slave storage boxes to be linked to the main unit for expansion, and there's an optional USB DAT tape drive for removable media.

The whole backup and replication process is simple as you use the IDS backup software to secure data from your clients to the local box. Windows and Linux workstations are supported and there are also versions for Windows Servers plus Exchange, SQL and Oracle databases. Next, you schedule automated synchronisation on the remote box where it links to the local unit over the internet at the appointed time and transfers new and modified blocks across.

Each unit is registered with your IDSbox account, and you must use the supplied drives as their serial numbers are also registered. From the simple web interface, you add your own details, format the hard disk and you're ready to go. The backup software automatically locates the unit and then secures all selected data to it as defined by your schedule.

We secured nearly 30GB of live data, which only took just over an hour. The first replication is run manually over the local network, and this took a further two hours. On completion, we took the remote unit to its final resting place, reconfigured it to access the local one over the internet and scheduled a daily synchronisation.

To facilitate remote access to the local device we added a virtual server and port forwarding rule to our office firewall that directed the remote appliance's request to the local unit's IP address. We tightened access down further with an inbound filter rule specifically for the remote WAN IP address. We found the replication process rarely took more than 15 minutes each day, even though it included large Outlook PST files.

Data can be restored from the local unit via the backup software, which lists all files and folders and offers restore and export functions. You can also view and restore data directly from the web interface, and this applies to both local and remote units. A bare metal restore is due to come out soon.

We tested the IDSbox for more than two weeks and it worked perfectly. For off-site backup, it's more costly than online backup service providers but if you don't trust them with your data then it's one of few products that can put you in full control.

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