Western Digital has introduced a new dual-drive shared network storage product for small business.

The My Book World Edition II can have 1TB of data or 500 GB of mirrored storage. The device can run independently of a host PC and has a browser-based link to the Internet. Part of its software makes the device a target in Windows 'Save As' and 'Open' operations whenever the user is connected to the Internet. That means users can have the device attached to their base office PC and access it over the Internet when hundreds or thousands of miles away. They can also backup new data on their laptop back to their office using the same software.

Small workgroups can share documents and other files over the Internet or within a local network without the need for separate FTP server or network-attached storsage (NAS) functionality.

WD's branded products group vice president Jim Welsh said: "Using this appliance is like carrying as much as a Terabyte of content with you wherever you go and knowing that your personal content is safe at home. This new concept in storage enables virtually limitless accessibility to ... associates for sharing and backup."

This shared network storage isn't NAS or a storage area network (SAN) and nor does it use Application-over-Ethernet (AoE) protocol. Instead, quasi-VPN tunnels are set up between the device and valid accessing PC users across Internet links. It uses Mionet software. Accessing users are validated via a Mionet facility and can then read and write files on the device securely. Transmitted data is encrypted. (Read the Mionet FAQ here.)

The My Book World Edition II comes with wired or wireless access to a host PC and in 500GB or 1TB capacities. It is user-serviceable, allowing users to open the enclosure to replace one or both of the hard drives by following the detailed instructions, without voiding the system's three-year limited warranty.

A base version - Edition I - comes with 500 Gbyteof capacity and retails for $279. The twin drive Edition II costs $499 (about £270 at today's exchange rates).