IDSBox Mini review

Price when reviewed

Cloud computing has made backup for small businesses far easier but there’s always that nagging doubt that your valuable data is in someone else’s hands. If they fail to deliver it when you need it most, all you’re likely to get is an apology and a commitment to learn lessons.

If you want full control over local and remote backup then IDSbox UK may have the answer. We took a look at its standard IDSbox last year and its latest IDSbox Mini is the new entry point of its product family and aimed at the smallest of businesses.

The IDSbox Mini is a paperback-sized Linux server with a single SFF SATA hard disk, which can be partnered by a second drive attached to one of its USB expansion ports. The unit itself acts as a heatsink and being fanless is completely silent.

The IDSbox concept is simple as you have a local unit that ties in with the IDSBackup software to secure selected data from multiple workstations and servers. You put a second unit in a remote location and schedule replication jobs from the office unit, thus providing essential off-site storage.

For local management the Mini shows off a much improved web interface. You start by providing your user details and formatting the drive on the unit that will be located in the office.

IDSBox Mini

The back-up software is easy to use and for each host supports up to four profiles each with their own backup selection and schedule. Once the first backup is completed, subsequent runs will be much faster as only deltas are sent to the unit.

Next, you set up the remote unit on the same network using the same process and set it to run an immediate replication. Once completed, you take it home and reconfigure it to access the local unit over the Internet. All further synchronisations are swift as these are carried out at the block level.

You have two options for remote connection, and we created port forwarding and inbound filter rules on our lab firewall to direct the remote units’ requests to the office unit. However, IDSbox now offers a relay service that will link the two together without needing to change your firewall.

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 – this applies to both local and remote units.

IDSbox now offers optional server and desktop disk imaging and bare metal recovery. Its IDSImage software is none other than StorageCraft’s ShadowProtect also reviewed today. We found it worked well as we could run disk imaging using the Mini as a network destination.

We could mount drive images stored on the Mini to local drive letters, browse their contents and restore file using drag and drop. We also used the recovery disk to boot a dead Windows 7 system and restore the system drive from an image stored on the local Mini unit.

The IDSbox Mini is expensive compared with managed back-up services. However, it delivers all your backup, recovery and off-site storage in one small package and puts you in total control.

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