Mirra Mirra on the wall….

Mirra, company formerly known as Ispiri is yet another example of an Instant Company. Powered by a generic x86 processor, 80 gigabyte (or 120 GB) hard drive, the Mirra is a personal server that uses the free Linux operating system. It is one of the growing number of companies I write about in the latest issue of Business 2.0.

Brainchild of founder Tim Bucher (who started Mirra in May of 2002) formerly of WebTV and 3DO, Mirra has has tapped the power of commoditization and has added its own special flavor (i.e. software) to develop a device that most of us – consumers and small business owners – can use to backup data from your personal computer. Mirra is a bit more than that – it is a place to consolidate all your digital content – files, music files, photographs and even videos in one place – and share it within the house. (okay that bit I made up but I am assuming the company is working on that.)

bq. Richard Mandeberg, Ispiri’s CEO, told CRN: “We are targeting anybody who doesn’t have on-staff or local IT support, who has a small network, who has one or multiple computers and who has shared broadband. That’s 20-something million users, between homes, SOHOs and small businesses… our founding beliefs is that the value of digital content–whether you’re looking at it as a business professional or a consumer–is now more than the value of the PC that it’s on. If you have digital music, photos, documents and other content on a computer, you need those files to stay around a lot longer than you know the computer is going to be around.”

The company boasted about the ease of use with which even non-IT people could set this personal server up. I had heard this before and I did not buy into the spiel. So they sent me a beta test unit of the device. After unpacking, I followed the very clear instructions printed right on the box and within two minutes of plugging Mirra into my LinkSys Wi-Fi Router, Mirra was on my home network. I installed the software on an AMD-powered Fujitsu Lifebook. Ten minutes later, the laptop was backed-up and most of my important documents available from anywhere on the Internet.

bq. However, the true beauty of Mirra is that it goes far beyond simply backing up your data with some key features that make it great for the mobile professional. There is a free online service component that allows you to access your backed up files from any modern web browser, as well as authorize the sharing of files and directories with friends. Mirra is also designed to save multiple versions of the same file. Every time you save or create new files, the latest versions are instantly backed up. Mirra tracks all edits, additions and deletions you make, even when you’re not connected to the Mirra appliance (such as on a notebook). Up to 8 files versions are available over your local network, or remotely via web browser when you’re away from your Mirra. (MobileTrax)

There are some shortcomings to this device: for instance you can download files from the folders from a different computer, you cannot upload any documents as yet. It still does not support Wi-Fi and needs to be plugged into a router, which limits its use as a digital hub. However, these are minor quibbles when you realize that this device works only with PCs running Windows 2000 and XP. Windows 98/ME and Mac OS are still not supported. Given the ease with which Mac OS-X and Linux devices work with each other, lack of Mac support bothers me. After all Apple is the original digital lifestyle company. Mirra are you listening?