N-able Backup Valuable Features

Joe Carney
Service Manager at Computer Guild

The most valuable feature by far is the Virtual Disaster Recovery. On top of that is the bare-metal recovery. The recovery options that we have are great. We have tested the Virtual Disaster Recovery and the bare-metal recovery in just about any scenario you can think of. We have even restored bare metal, a full server, to a laptop, and had full functionality. It's just insane how well it works and how simple it is. It does most of the work for you. I don't feel like I'm thinking too hard when I do this. I understand how the system works on the back-end, and what it needs to do, but I don't want to concentrate on that when I've got so many other things going on. This really does just so much of the legwork for me.

In terms of other types of recovery scenarios, it covers something as simple as somebody who has access to a shared folder and they delete a file on it because they weren't thinking about the fact that it's for everybody, not just for them. That's the scenario where, if it's within 30 days — because this has a 30-day history for backup — they call me and tell me that they deleted the file. I just ask them for either the file name or location or as much stuff as they can remember. I log in to the backup system from my console, get into the recovery part remotely — I don't even have to log in to the workstation hosts or the server host — I find yesterday's file and folder lists from a nice calendar view, and then I find the file that was there. I click it and restore it to the machine. I can restore it to a different spot if I want, but I usually just choose to restore it in place. I call them and confirm it's there. I've never had to take more than five minutes. It's quite nice for doing basic stuff like that.

A more extreme case was when we had somebody's entire system go down and we were able to virtually restore it, no issues whatsoever, getting it running offsite. We were able to link them up on a VPN until we got a temporary server there and fixed things, because they had a catastrophic failure. Luckily it was a simple server, so it wasn't too much work, but it was nice to keep them up, with their domain, in the meantime.

The most complicated recovery scenario is a host machine running multiple VMs, where we only have the host machine, itself, backed up. This is somebody who doesn't want to pay for the second server onsite, so our company has temporary servers. We're very physically close, meaning we can do a bare metal restore or a virtual disaster recovery and get everything they have up and running within about an hour after the failure. That is one where we have the file folder system state and VSS backup recovery running and, no matter what fails on their system, we can get it back out. Even if it's not full system failure, we can restore most things remotely. If it is full system failure, even if we have to bring it to a different site, we can get the data down within about an hour and then get it to wherever they need.

SolarWinds is very flexible and lets us do things the way we want to and we can do them quickly. For the clients that don't want to pay for that extra stuff to get it done quickly, we can explain to them that it's going to set things back this much. We really let our clients choose how they want to do things like this. So if they want a backup and recovery system, this one is very easy, because it's paid month-to-month and has very specific data caps and overage charges for those caps. It's super-easy to lay it out for any level of client, be it a one-person operation or a business that has 300 users and allows "bring your own computer."

Depending on what they have, we can give them an easy projection of what their investment in a system like that would be. There won't be any surprises such as, "Oh, we went over 1 terabyte, we now have to get to the 5 terabyte cap," which is something I had to deal with when I used Carbonite. Instead, if I go a gigabyte over the standard cap for a server or workstation, I pay a set amount of money that doesn't scale up or down. I know exactly what I can do with this solution for any client. I know exactly how much I can charge them and it's done monthly. It's easy for them to drop in and drop out on a monthly basis if they're nervous, because they're not dealing with that annual commitment that a lot of solutions shove at you, even if you get to pay monthly. That's a really big advantage in terms of peace of mind after it gets running.

And all of that is aside from the fact that they give you free archiving, which is really nice. Not many other solutions do that, cost-wise. I get to do as many archives of a system as I want and it doesn't count against the data for that user or customer.

It also gives me a single dashboard for all types of different sources it's backing up, such as databases, files and folders, system state, etc. It gives you your entire client list. It gives you a daily update of green, yellow, or red. Yellow means something kind of went wrong and maybe you should look at it, but wait. Red means something definitely went wrong and you need to take some sort of action to adjust. Green means every single thing worked properly, nothing had any errors.

I get a daily email that I'm able to integrate into my ticket system. The tickets come in only if anything fails. If something fails, my technicians get details of exactly what failed with an error code. And if I go into the console and look at the error itself, it gives me details and a resource center, from SolarWinds, where I can look it up. I can Google from there and figure it out.

That kind of information has made our backup operations much smoother, especially because the few times the Help articles haven't answered something for us, support has eventually gotten it to work, even if it seemed like a niche situation where we've got five other clients deployed like this yet one of them is having this really odd issue. SolarWinds support has been able to dig down. I have sent them logs and they've looked through them — hundreds of lines. They highlighted one, showed me what was wrong, told me what to fix, and it worked after that.

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The biggest thing from our point of view is its reliability. It gives us very few problems compared to other solutions that we have trialed. 

You can maintain multiple copies of the hot standbys, which is a huge benefit to the protection of customers.

It is adaptable.

The efficiency of the solution’s resource and bandwidth use when it comes to both backup and recovery is extremely good. Most of the time, I'll arrive in the morning, grab my morning coffee, fire up the console, and it's all green ticks, then the job is done and we send the customer their invoice. It's difficult to think of any way that the efficiency could be improved because it all just sort of works in a sensible time.

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Dirk Wittkowski
President at Tech Help Group, Inc.

The most valuable feature is that it's hands-off. I log in every morning and there are pre-canned filters that I've created to make my life easier. I have something called server status color bars, and that gives me all the servers and, in a nutshell, I can see

  • if any errors are being reported
  • when the last backup was
  • if one is not working, should there be one, and it literally jumps off the page.

You know right away that there's a problem, and that's accomplished through the filtering capabilities, because you can save a filter. Once it's set, you can even duplicate it and then change the parameters and create another filter. It's almost like using tags, but it's allowing you to see the information you want on the screen.

It literally takes me two seconds to understand, without even looking at alerts that have been generated, and to instantaneously have peace of mind that everything was backed up.

And If there's a problem, it's very quick to resolve.

It's also one of the easiest solutions I've used. In fact, out of the entire SolarWinds stack—next to the RMM solution, which is a very mature enterprise-ready solution—SolarWinds MSP Backup & Recovery is in its own class. It just works.

In addition, the solution provides a single dashboard for all types of data protection. And the single pane of glass gives you status.

It also reports and sends out email alerts, functions that are pretty simple to set up.

When we need to restore a file, we don't even have to remote in to our client's system. We just log in to the system management, connect to that machine's Backup Manager remotely, and choose the file. If you know the exact file name you do a search and you can see all the files that have been backed up and when they were last backed up. We choose the most recent one, restore, and then say, "Okay, check to see if the file opens." It works that quickly.

In terms of the efficiency of the solution’s resource and bandwidth use, when you first load the client onto a server, you have the option of seeding the backup onto a local drive and then sending that drive to them for them to seed the backup, and then continue the backup. We don't do it that way. Most of our clients have modern internet bandwidth upload speeds that are very high. We've never had limitations in terms of upload speeds with SolarWinds. So we just kick off the backup and we don't limit bandwidth. It has really been very quick. With most of the server systems that we deal with, the upload is very quick.

The cloud storage, wherever it's backing up to, is happening behind the scenes and you really don't realize it. It basically just starts backing up to the cloud until it's done.

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Learn what your peers think about N-able Backup. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: May 2021.
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Systems Analyst at a tech services company with 1-10 employees

The fact that I have a single pane of glass that I can look at in the morning and I can look at 80 plus instances in, probably more than 80 now, in under five minutes, I can verify that everything's current, that's a great advantage. If it isn't current, I can understand in a second why it's not current and dispatch out, either tickets to my guys to fix something or an email to a customer to please give us access to a couple of servers that we don't have access to.

There is a very, very small learning curve. It's kind of like getting a new car. Once you get the muscle memory going, its piece of cake. It was just a couple of things that switching over from our in-house product to their product took a little bit of getting used to, however, it was pretty simple. I asked a bunch of questions like, Hey, what do I do for this? How do I find this out or that out? And then, we were good to go.

It's their cloud, it's their storage. I don't have to buy a space on Amazon or Google's cloud and then use their software to push it. That works well for me. This way, I don't have to worry about another option or the opportunity that there might be a credential leak.

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Jim Christopher
Sr. Network/System Administrator Support at S&L Computer Services

I've been in IT for over 40 years, and I've tested and tried about every backup solution out there. The thing about SolarWinds backup, is that if they say it backed it up successfully, I know confidently that the data is safe and will be able to be restored if needed. The reliability and the confidence that we have in this product is extremely high. We've had customers have ransomware, data corruption, employees destroy their data, and as long as it's been backed up, I know that we can get it restored back and I know we have nothing to worry about.  

I would rate their ease of use a nine and a half out of ten. It's super easy, very intuitive, and it's very well done. They have a great product.

The standalone and the RMM are priced differently and each have their own dashboard. Once you load from either dashboard into the software, the software itself is the same. This makes backup operations great. It's so easy to manage and you can do it all from within each dashboard. The difference between the 2 models is one is priced per MB and one is per device.

The speed of the restore is dependent on the configuration. With their solution, you can just store it in the Cloud or you can store it in the Cloud and have a local speed vault. The local speed vault is a NAS, SAN, or mapped network storage on the local network. If you have a local speed vault, your restore is going to be as fast as your network is, or as good as your internet connection if you're restoring from the Cloud. They push it up and down as fast as you have a pipe for. There is really no latency in terms of software, and any slowness is going to be from your hardware or your internet connection.

Cloud storage is nice because a lot of places have local backup. Cloud backup also gives you an offsite location that if something happens to your physical site, someone forgets to put a tape in, or your place burns down, you lose all your stuff. The Cloud gives you a secondary place to backup to.

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Chris Soutar
Vice President of Managed Services at Entré Computer Solutions

The most valuable feature is the recovery piece itself. Our ability to recover full systems correctly and properly the first time is what makes SolarWinds our most important piece.

The overall ease of use is fantastic. We have people who have very little knowledge who we've been able to teach how to do recoveries. Making things work has been very easy for us.

It provides a single dashboard for all types of data protection, we monitor everything through a single dashboard. It simplifies everything overall. It allows us to see everything, whether passing or failing any issues, any problems through a single pane of glass that we don't have to click through or adjust as we go forward.

We've noticed no difference between managing a simple or a complex backup or recovery, which is another reason why we liked the product so much. There have been no problems or changes as far as speed goes. We think that it's definitely an adequate or amount of time to recover those situations.

The efficiency of the resource and bandwidth use when it comes to both backup and recovery has been excellent at this point. We have not noticed any problems, issues, or changes within bandwidth and our ability to manipulate the amount of bandwidth that's taken at any point in time is another great feature.

The cloud storage feature has made us much more efficient, as well as profitable because of the ways that the software changes and deduplicates the amount of storage that is used at any point in time.

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Director/Principal Consultant at a tech services company with 51-200 employees

The most valuable feature is the automation.

The monitoring makes it very easy to check whether a backup has gone bad.

The performance has been pretty good.

The recoverability seems to be fairly good.

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Jim Timberman
Managing Director at Moser Consulting

The most valuables feature is the alerts and monitoring that catches the failed backups.

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Learn what your peers think about N-able Backup. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: May 2021.
510,534 professionals have used our research since 2012.