N-able Backup has so far been a white box brand best known to integrators, but now it has plans to become a name recognised by enterprise customers. Its big selling point? To carry out backups file-by-file rather than take a global image, slashing backup windows by a factor of 60 and the size of backups by a factor of six.
The supplier gives the example of a 500GB server with daily incremental backups of 30GB, which amounts to a two-monthly total of 2.15TB. With N-able, daily backups come down to 500MB and only build up to 380GB at the end of two months. That gives N-able an advantage in scenarios where backups might go to a cloud target.
“In other words, if you want your backup window to last less than an hour, you must give it a bandwidth of 68Mbps to the cloud if it is 30GB, or 1.1Mbps if it is only 500MB,” said Chris Groot, general manager at N-able, during a recent presentation at the IT Press Tour.
“With N-able, backups no longer stop you from working normally,” he added.
N-able exploits the fact that the compression algorithm in incremental backups is more efficient when it works file-by-file rather than on the global disk image. In this way, files can keep track of small changes, and all changes within files are dealt with in a granular fashion. With global image backup, whenever the date or location of a file changes, the whole file is replicated in its entirety.
The other advantage of N-able’s approach is that it allows machine restores in a different form to its original configuration. You could therefore see files go from a physical server on-site to being restored to a virtual machine in the cloud, depending on the best format – with all functionality accessible from the N-able N-central console.
Backups taken by N-able are held in the supplier’s cloud. Groot said that to have its own cloud resources is a big plus compared with letting resellers furnish their own storage space, in large part because such service providers are often the target of cyber attacks.
In addition to servers and workstations – physical and virtual – N-able is also capable of protecting data on a number of Azure cloud services, including Azure virtual machines, Microsoft 365 data and documents stored on OneDrive.
N-able offers a service – Mail Assure – which brings antivirus protection to Office 365 mailboxes. N-able also offers EDR – Endpoint Detection and Response – to detect threats against protected machines.
Separated from Solarwinds
N-able claims to have supplied its service to close to 12,000 integrators, who have then sold it on via cloud backup services to a large number of enterprises, though they could not give an actual figure.
Formed at the start of the 2000s, N-able disappeared as an off-the-shelf product following a 2013 takeover by Solarwinds, which offers IT infrastructure management products.
N-able then became independent again after the huge Solarwinds hack in 2021, in which Solarwinds sold its Orion software platform for months before realising it was infected with a virus. The attack had a serious impact on its reputation and share price, as well as on integrators that used Orion.