N-able’s latest version of its flagship N-central RMM tool, version 8.2, has gone live, promising improved backup, better remote control, and more community documentation.
The biggest addition to the software is the full integration of CA Technologies’ ARCserve D2D for backup and recovery, rebranded in N-central as Backup Manager. JP Jauvin, COO of Ottawa-based N-able, said that means “a single pane of glass to allow an engineer to deploy, configure, manage and report on all the backup drops throughout their customers.”
While many MSPs offer managed backup, recovery and BDR capabilities, either on their own or through a variety of third-party partners, Jauvin said the company is counting on heavy uptake of the new backup features.
“The depth of the integration means everything – the ability for the technician to seamlessly deploy and manage across their customers,” he said. “Technology will come and go, but we can leapfrog that, providing that deep integration that is critical to the MSP.”
The second big addition to 8.2 is also a partnership – as the company has partnered with Spain-based NTRglobal to use its remote access software in N-central in place of the aging VNC software that was previously included. According to Jauvin, that means greater reliability of connectivity, much better performance and an overall better end-user experience. Opting for the NTRglobal solution in its Direct Connect module also means easier file transfers, among other benefits.
“This is the first phase of our partnership with NTR,” Jauvin said. “There are other technologies and features we’ll be adding along the way in the very near future.”
The third big feature added to 8.2 is the debut of the MSP Technician Runbook, a series of best practices on how to deliver remote IT services for MSPs. Last year, the company debuted an MSP Business Runbook, and the Technician’s Runbook adds to that with more specifics. Jauvin said the runbook was developed because a lot of smaller and newer MSPs didn’t have a lot of their processes documented.
“We’re finding a lot of new MSPs are struggling in terms of their roadmap,” Jauvin said. “We’re trying to create a standards-based approach to their MSP service delivery.”
That said, the debut of the runbook is just the beginning for how he sees the knowledge base being used. Jauvin said he envisions newer MSPs “benefiting from the 10 or 15 years of MSP experience before them” and just working with Runbook as-is, while more veteran MSPs are likely to create revised versions of the Runbook that takes into account the 10-20 per cent of processes they do differently, their “secret sauce.” A third emerging model Jauvin envisions is the runbook developing a “real sense of community spirit” around it and making it full living document or wiki.
Aside from the big features, Jauvin said 8.2 benefits from its “50 new features in 50 weeks” campaign to improve the usability.
“If we make it more user-friendly, more intuitive, that links directly to increased profit [for N-able MSPs],” he said. “It’s usability as a feature.”
N-able is on a quarterly release schedule for N-central, with the next version, N-central 9.0, due in late June or early July. So what’s on tap for the milestone version 9?
“Automation, automation, automation,” said Jauvin with a laugh of the three biggest themes to expect in version 9, before adding that mobile will also be a top priority.