N-able Rolls Out Subtle Name Change, Major Update to RMM

A major remote monitoring and management vendor in the managed service provider (MSP) industry unveiled a new name and a new version of its flagship product on Wednesday.

Known as "N-able by SolarWinds" since the May 2013 acquisition of N-able Technologies by enterprise IT management vendor SolarWinds, the unit will now do business as "SolarWinds N-able." The company is also shipping the first major platform release of N-central since the SolarWinds acquisition.

A new logo and business unit name shift the emphasis from the legacy N-able brand to the SolarWinds parent brand. (Image source: SolarWinds N-able.)

Two years ago, said vice president of marketing and business development Derik Belair, "We really wanted to make sure that people understood that while we were being acquired by SolarWinds, our focus on the MSP space and our focus on managed services was going to remain."

With two years of proof of its ongoing commitment to the MSP market behind it, the unit is now rebranding slightly to ride the coattails of the SolarWinds name, Belair said. "It does open a lot of doors for us, both in North America and especially in the international marketplace. SolarWinds in the IT space, MSP included, definitely stands for great products, a great interface and a great company to do business with. Our ability to leverage [the SolarWinds brand] is something that is very positive for [the N-able side]."

Of more interest to SolarWinds N-able's 3,600 MSP customers than the company's branding change is the platform overhaul available with the new N-central 10.

JP Jauvin, general manager of SolarWinds N-able, said one of the first things that MSPs will notice with version 10 is a new polish to the user interface and user experience. "It's really  the first release that we've done in cooperation with SolarWinds. SolarWinds has a very good reputation in the marketplace as having products that are intuitive, easy to use, easy to deploy and easy to navigate. So we really leveraged their user experience best practices," Jauvin said.

[Click on image for larger view.] The new N-central interface owes its look to some of SolarWinds' UI best practices. (Image source: SolarWinds N-able.)

Within the new interface, one of the key new features is called Direct Support. "For years [our customers have] been asking for more of a complementary toolset that will allow them to manage reactive help desk-type of situations," Jauvin said. Direct Support provides technicians with the ability to go from viewing a problem to diagnosing it to troubleshooting it and remediating it from a single interface.

Many of the new capabilities relate to Active Directory user management. "From a remote location they can essentially tap into their customer's AD environment and perform all of the Active Directory user management tasks that they need to, making them more productive without having to remote control into the domain controller or VPN," he said. N-central 10 also includes a new "device overview" option for drilling into the details of client devices from history to tickets to properties, and that dashboard also hooks into the Direct Support capabilities.

In the same vein of enabling more tasks from the single console, SolarWinds N-able tightened the integrations with the Autotask and ConnectWise professional services automation tools in version 10. "In the past, technicians would have to oscillate between the PSA and the RMM [remote monitoring and management] or the RMM and the PSA to open tickets, to update tickets, to update the billing, to update comments and to close tickets. Now we allow them to do that from one single interface in N-central," Jauvin said.

Patrick Leonard, vice president at My IT LLC, a New Orleans-area MSP, agrees the version 10 UI is better-looking, but he is most interested in the efficiencies built into the product and the smoother remote support experience for the technical staff.

My IT, part of SolarWinds N-able's MSP Super Elite partner community, has been using N-central for two years and found it efficient already. Yet Leonard expects his company will wring efficiency gains out of many of the new features, such as the domain management tool.

"That will allow our Level 1 triage technicians to reset passwords without having to remote into domain controllers. Probably 5 percent to 10 percent of our requests per week are password-reset issues. A toolset like that takes that process from maybe a three- to five-minute expedition to about a 15- to 30-second request," Leonard said. He says that about 60 percent of My IT's support requests are handled by Level 1 support, and many of the Direct Support Interface improvements he's looked at will make those tasks more efficient for that team and improve service delivery for their clients.

"I'm expecting at least another 10 percent in terms of efficiency to our overall client base," Leonard said. "For us, that allows us to add more revenue without necessarily adding another technician."

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.