Please share with the community what you think needs improvement with N-able Backup.
What are its weaknesses? What would you like to see changed in a future version?
I know on the backup side it runs extremely well. The recovery side, the restore side, could be a little more optimized, however, the amount of time that we spend in restore mode is maybe a couple of weeks out of five years. On the other hand, backups happen every night. They happen all the time. We get a new customer, we have to onboard them, and they give us a couple of options for onboarding and all of them are excellent. That said, in most cases, we're not onboarding a terabyte right out of the get-go. Currently you can't dump the files that were backed up. You have to use the web interface and you can only see 30 files at a crack. If I'm looking for a particular file, it would be easier for me just to dump down the catalogs and suck them into a spreadsheet and do my cut and slice in that way. I'd be able to figure out "Oh, this file changed on this day. Therefore, I want this version." This is critical, as the customer is not only telling me, they're going to tell me Mary Sue left on the 12th and the last day was the day she broke it, or Mary Sue was working on that before she left and I'm not sure when she last made the change. I can't pin it to any particular day which means I either have to sift through it from the web interface or I have to reload. That means I will have to download one or more files manually and then compare them that way. If I could get the catalogs dropped to me in a CSV format, that would be very, very helpful. As it is now, it's not only cumbersome, it's also a slow drawn-out process.
Commercially, they offer the product in two different formats. There is the full imaging backup, and there is also an alternative. You can pay for simple data backups and pay by the gigabyte that is consumed. Unfortunately, you cannot have those two products in the same dashboard. So, I have to switch between dashboards to look at: * All the servers being imaged. * All the private laptops who have their "My Documents" folders backed up. That is a bit of a hassle, but it is not a deal breaker. It would be very nice if it was all on the same dashboard. I check our clients for the imaging product (the expensive one) every morning. I check the people who are paying us for data-only backup once a week. Therefore, once a week, I have to log out of portal A and log onto portal B to check if it's all good, then I log back onto portal A. It would be nice if I didn't have to do that, but it's certainly not something that keeps me awake at night. We don't use the solution’s automated recovery testing because SolarWinds made me cross. When they released it, I went, "Oh, well, that's quite good." Because if you use the system, then it supposedly spins up, and on the portal, it gives you a screenshot of the booted device. So, I phoned up, and I said, "Oh, that's really quite cool. How much is that?" They said, "No, no, no. It's all included in your license." I went, "Okay then," and went and deployed it on about half the fleet. One of the options that our customers have is they can pay us a small amount every month for us to test the recovery just to prove that it's viable, and I thought, "Well, this will do that for us. Nice." Then, in the next invoice, we got a charge for it. While It was not a huge amount, I took offense at the fact that we were told that it would be a no extra cost option that was part of our license, but it turns out that it's chargeable. Therefore, we haven't used it since.
An area for improvement that would really work out well would be if there were a little bit more of an elegant handshake relationship between SolarWinds RMM and the PCs that are being backed up, to advise regarding "up" status. We all expect servers to be on all the time; we never have a problem with servers. But when I look at my desktop status, using the color bars filter, I can see a dozen systems that haven't backed up in a while. Because of COVID, some of these systems may be off. It would be awesome if there was some sort of indication that the system is on, some sort of a "heartbeat" functionality, to see if the system is on. If the system hasn't reported in, that might be tied in with the heartbeat. But if it's tied in with the RMM, and the RMM is reporting that it's online and it's showing that it's failing, it should tell us online. Then we would see that it's failing and that it may need attention. And that would be more "glue" for sticking with SolarWinds or moving to SolarWinds, to have exactly that functionality. Currently, what we have to do is swipe the name, copy it, put it into the RMM, do a quick search, and then I know it's offline. I have to do that with each one of them. That's the most time-consuming part of the solution. If they could improve that and provide a heartbeat, it would be an amazing, 100 percent solution. Since RMM is an agent that feeds back that a machine is alive and on, I don't see any reason why they can't either tap into that one feature or build the same exact polling within the backup agent, to update right away and say the system is online or offline.
The reporting feature and functionality need improvement. We would like to see a little bit more detailed reporting that offers more CEO or C-level focused reporting options.
We've never even had to consider anything else for any situation for our customers. It restores well. It's hard to say anything about improvement because we're just so happy with it. Their support people are second to none. The one thing that could use some improvement is their Linux backup. Their Linux backup us a files/folders backup and you are not able to to a system restore. I have another product that I use for our Linux servers, but it would be nice if they had that flexibility on the Linux side.
A better default view on my dashboard would be great. There is a lot of useless information there that it pulls up. They could present the dashboard slightly better, in terms of the extra information after the first five columns. The first five columns are awesome. After that, I don't care about the rest, and there are another seven things after that. You can customize it, and I do have my own customized dashboard, but it doesn't give me any option to make that the default view. They could work a little bit on how they present you with your landing page. The first time I log in to this from any login window, I want a page that's a little bit more useful. This one gives me great info as to if my backup is good, up and running, or if it's had a certain number of errors. But after that, it tells me stuff like my product, which I do all-in for all our customers, so I don't care. It tells me my profile and I usually do a manual setup for most customers that's documented on my documentation system, which is also with SolarWinds. So I don't care about my profile version. All that stuff which is extra, that I really don't care about, is on this default view, and they don't let me save my custom view as my landing page. I have to go and find it again. It's deep down inside a menu at the very bottom and I can't make it go anywhere else. Another point to be aware of is that the initial cloud backup, if you've got more than a terabyte of data, can take quite some time, because it's completely dependent on the customer's internet speed. That is one thing that we have run into. When I asked SolarWinds about that they noted they already have a solution for that.
Integration with a hybrid cloud is something that I found complicated. Ultimately, we backed away from this approach because of the difficulty that we were having. It may have been related to the firewall setting or other things, but we did not figure it out because it was too complicated for the amount of time that we had budgeted to work on it. There have been a couple of times when we noticed that it is consuming too much CPU time, although we have been able to mitigate that.
We would like to have better reporting.
We all know it's really hard to get good pricing and cost information.
Please share what you can so you can help your peers.
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