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N-able Backup OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

N-able Backup is the #12 ranked solution in our list of top Cloud Backup tools. It is most often compared to Acronis Backup: N-able Backup vs Acronis Backup

What is N-able Backup?

N-able Backup is a cloud-first data protection service designed to help managed IT service providers and in-house IT pros back up and recover physical and virtual servers, workstations, business documents, and Microsoft 365 data. Cloud storage is included, with 30 data centers around the world, and archiving is included at no extra cost. N-able Backup's efficient architecture allows for more frequent backups and longer retention using the network bandwidth and storage capacity you already have. The unified multi-tenant console helps save time on routine backup administration, and the optional LocalSpeedVault provides for fast local recovery. 

N-able Backup is also known as SolarWinds Backup, SolarWinds MSP Backup & Recovery, SolarWinds MSP Backup.

N-able Backup Buyer's Guide

Download the N-able Backup Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: October 2021

N-able Backup Customers

Computer Depot, Leading Edge Computers, IT Logic Australia

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about N-able Backup pricing:
  • "When you have a device/appliance on the site quite a lot of the other enterprise class backup people insist that you have their appliance, which is frankly offensively expensive. Because when you pry the top off, it's just a standard 19-inch tin box with a standard Intel I5 in it, some RAM, and a hard drive. Then, you go, "Why have they just charged me 5,500 quid for a box, which I could have probably build for under 500." Whereas, with the SolarWinds product, they don't have that. The backup appliances that we have onsite are just plain cooking PCs. We can build our own machines, which is reflected in the price that we can offer a customer."
  • "There is no per node cost, at least not the way I am doing it. I am on bulk. New customers can be set up on a trial, where they can get things all squared away, then they can switch over to being a billed customer."
  • "The pricing of SolarWinds seems to be fair compared to the rest of the industry."

N-able Backup Reviews

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Joe Carney
Service Manager at Computer Guild
Real User
Top 10
Drastically reduces the time spent on backup administration; we can manage every computer from one easy console

Pros and Cons

  • "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."
  • "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."

What is our primary use case?

We use MSP Backup & Recovery for just about any backup system, as long as it is running Windows or Windows Server.

We also have a couple of clients that have databases to back up. It does a very good job of automatically picking up an SQL or a MySQL database. If we need to restore just the database to another machine, although we don't have too many use cases for that, we have been able to do it when we tested it.

We use it for virtual machine backup and recovery as well. It does a great job of that. So even if a client has a host system and, say, one VM running on it for a special purpose, but they don't have the budget to pay for two backups for some reason, it does a great job of backing up the virtual machine itself, and it can be restored independently. 

How has it helped my organization?

A nice part about the SolarWinds backup and recovery solution is that I get to pick how it's deployed, and it's per-client. They really give you a lot of options with that. They pretty much have any feature that I, as an MSP, could want, and they let me choose how to provide their product to the client. I could cut out features if I wanted, which I don't, or I could add features as tiers to make a pricing bracket for myself to sell to them. I have one client that has a full, second dedicated server. It runs the virtual disaster recovery console, so it's constantly getting all the new backup images every day. If the first system goes down, the second system is able to bring it right back up.

I have other clients that just don't have that kind of budget. They simply need one workstation, not even a server, backed up. And they want me to be able to get either the files or the full image down from the cloud to put on a new machine. If the first one fails, they don't have the budget to have a disaster-ready plan where, if everything goes down, they have something running that takes it right back up. They have a spare computer onsite we would move things to. SolarWinds gives me the options to do both things very cleanly and to please those different levels of clients, without having to jump through too many hoops.

It does everything I want. I feel a lot better with it because I've already used it in the recovery scenarios and know it works and I've got guys testing things on a regular basis. The clients are happy because they know that I'm happy with the solution, because I'm usually going to suggest it over something else. It just makes everything so much easier on the backup. There used to be so much anxiety with other solutions because they were so much harder to manage.

This gives me a dashboard with a bunch of green, yellow, or red lights based on how things are going. I can put technicians into action based on things failing or not updating properly. And the few times we have had things go wrong, it has been easy to communicate with the client quickly and make them feel that we're very on top of it and aware of this process, just because of how the system is set up to work.

In general, we used to have to have that "backup conversation" with a client, every once in a while, to see how things were going. Now, because this is our baseline of how we expect things to work in a perfect world, even if they don't have this, it's made our backup documentation process easier. We tell the customer, "Hey, this is how it would work in a perfect world, but this is how your system works. If you want to get closer to where it could be, here are some things we can do." It has made it easier to talk to the clients about the options that they have.

Before, I didn't have a whole lot of confidence in the solutions we had, compared to the confidence I have in this. That lack of confidence in the products we were using made it harder for me to even have that conversation with the client. SolarWinds has just completely flipped that around, and that's true for other people inside our org as well. Other people were having the same grievances I was. It was hard to find a good backup solution where it didn't feel like we, as the MSP, were getting shafted in some way and we were having to charge the client a lot more because of that. It was especially true when you get into how a lot of vendors price their cloud backups compared to SolarWinds. It's absolutely crazy when you look at the cost comparison. So having that extra confidence and being happy with the solution has really changed the entire game and that's because of how it is priced and how they let us present the product itself.

The cost for the customer has gone down because we don't have them buying as much. We don't run a second recovery computer at many locations, unless the system is vital to every operation, because we have the Local SpeedVault that we use. It's either an onsite NAF or an external hard drive that stores all the stuff locally for the machine it would need to restore to. It gives us a really good, fast solution, compared to pulling it down from the cloud and messing with their bandwidth, especially if they have VoIP phones. The cost of investment has gone down. For a few niche customers that are much larger, the cost has gone up, but the return on investment, as far as data security goes, is much bigger. Previously, if I would have had them invest that much in another product, I wouldn't have felt good about it. But asking a larger client to put in a second server, so I can always push their stuff out right away if there is a failure, is a pretty big deal. By comparison, with Carbonite I actually had that set up, but when I tried to use the tool not only could I not get help using it properly, I never got the thing to work. With SolarWinds it was so simple, it felt almost too easy.

In addition, there is much less of a time investment from my techs, compared to before. That's the nicest thing it has changed in our everyday operation.

And for me, it has drastically reduced the amount of time spent on backup administration. We had people spread out on different odds and ends for different customers, for whatever solutions the customer wanted. We didn't have one solution. Between keeping things documented as well as I could, as a one-man show on that end, and actually being able to test stuff, if I could test stuff, and always trying to figure out the products, I'm probably saving a good 10 hours a month, if not a lot more just on that. If I had kept the solution we had before and grown to the number of customers I have now, I don't doubt it would have required another whole employee to manage things, with the amount of backup and the different solutions that we had to use. This one ended up bringing together any use cases somebody has, because most of our customers are running in a Windows environment. It fits their needs perfectly.

As for backup time on the computer and how long it takes to run, it's insane how much quicker it is compared to constantly having to check back and forth between what's going on on the computer and what I see in the cloud. Carbonite had poor solutions for looking at what was actively happening. With SolarWinds, after I install it on the computer, I never have to log in to the computer again, if I'm working at a higher level where I'm not interacting with customers. I can always pull up these backup systems remotely from the cloud. I pull up the system, it pulls up a webpage, and it gives me the percentage it's processing and how much data that actually is.

And if my local is synchronized with the cloud, I get to look at all this data in one place, compared to going back and forth between a local computer and maybe a website and one other thing. It's all in one spot. I can manage every computer from an easy console. It has probably saved 55 percent, if not more, of actual employee time. It's not something I've actually calculated, but I am the person who was spending that time before, and that's when we were supporting way fewer clients. We've grown this product with us as we've added people to it. I don't think we have many customers with an important local system that we haven't gotten to move to SolarWinds, unless they've outright refused to back up what they have.

The backups themselves seem to run much quicker, even though they're going to the cloud. It has two different phases. The time it takes to process the backup on the computer is quicker, especially if I've got my Local SpeedVault there, or my secondary system that is acting as a speed vault to bring it back up quickly if the system fails. Having either of those there, it gets done within minutes, most of the time. There have been very few times where I've seen it go above 30 minutes, and that's on a bigger system and when they had a lot of stuff going on that day. On my old system, I'd be watching this program take time to launch, run the backup job usually it would make the shadow copies first. This seems to do all that stuff so much quicker.

On the other end, it uploads to the cloud. If I did have a manual upload to the cloud before, or was using something like Carbonite, this seems to get to the cloud quicker than those. And if it's going to a local hard drive or a local secondary system that is a failover, it's stupid-quick. It's the difference between looking away for a little bit at another task while it runs, and it's done, compared to keeping another computer up or another page up with a loading bar for a bit, while I'm constantly going back to it and waiting for it to finish. That's the difference it's made in my every-day.

When it comes to recovery times, I'll give you two different scenarios. In the small scenarios, where just files or folders have been lost or deleted and we need to find them and restore them from within the last 30 days, it's gone from 10 minutes down to closer to seven or five minutes, because we know exactly where to go. Every one of our techs who is trained on this can get there super-easy. They're not having to memorize three systems.

The other end is the big scenarios. I've had an entire server go down or a natural disaster that has stopped the business from functioning, and I needed to get them up and running one way or another on a completely separate computer. I was only relying on my cloud data to do this. In those scenarios, it has reduced our recovery time by a minimum of 12 hours.

The difference is quite crazy. Before, even if I could get stuff down to another server, I had to install the server OS and get stuff running. I had nothing else that did a good virtual disaster recovery in the big cases. Virtual disaster recovery is so big because for any system, no matter how complicated it is, I can already have a server running that has Hyper-V installed, and I can get this thing up and running with Hyper-V within a matter of hours. Sometimes, it's less than an hour, depending on how quick my download is. Really, at that point, I'm limited to: Do I have local data I can source from as far as the backups go, or am I only going from the cloud? If it's only the cloud, my biggest limit is my bandwidth. Going full-blast at our shop, if we let that server do that, we can get somebody up and running in less than an hour, even if they have something like a 200-gigabyte setup. On a larger server with multiple terabytes, it does take longer. There's no way around that, unless they have that secondary system set up onsite. But for the people that do have that, I manually log in and start that secondary server up. I literally click a button and configure one or two things and I'm good to go. It's insane compared to before. I did not have a solution that came even close to that, a couple of years ago.

What is most valuable?

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.

What needs improvement?

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.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Since deploying it, there has only been one weekend where there was a stability issue, and that only caused a problem for one of our 24 clients who are on the solution. It cleared up the next day.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability has been nice. I have had a system grow with this and I've had no issues. I'm not going to pretend that I've got a customer that has nine different servers or that I have 50 clients. But when I've had a single host server scale up its usage, this has handled it just fine. I've also scaled up the number of customers I have on the system. Both have been easy to work with. Scaling up the number of customers I support on my end has been easy, and scaling up the load on an individual host, running a large backup, has also been easy.

We're actually making a large push with most customers, if they have a system that requires it, to use something like this. Our criteria for them "requiring it" is that they have some sort of locally hosted program that is accessed by people at the business and that it's required for everyday use. If we've got somebody running QuickBooks off of a workstation, and they're really worried about backup, the workstation backup is priced well enough that it's worth having that always-up availability.

How are customer service and technical support?

I generally don't go to tech support until I have a really serious issue. But the times I have gone to tech support, they have given me good information. Even if it didn't directly solve my issue, it helped me to solve that issue and it was good info to have in the first place. If they needed to escalate the ticket, they did so properly and fairly quickly, if not quickly enough in all cases. It's definitely better than a lot of other tech support I've dealt with.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We have been using SolarWinds MSP Backup & Recovery since the middle of 2018, when we started to need a recovery solution that was a bit better than what we had. Before we were using a custom solution of saving Windows backups to the cloud and to a local device. We had options there for bare-metal there and file recovery, but nothing that was overly reliable or easy to test.

How was the initial setup?

I have found the initial setup to be incredibly straightforward, especially because of the tools it provides you with. There are "how-to's" everywhere. I'm logged in to my dashboard right now. My name is up in the top, right-hand corner. There's a big question mark right by my name. I click on it and I immediately have two big sections: Help and Resources. Help has all the manuals, how it works, and a live chat if I get stuck. Resources has my sales guide, my downloads for any product I need, and my About The Product section.

Any info I need about these products is immediately available, just like most of SolarWinds' other products. They do fairly decent documentation or, if they've bought the product, they keep the documentation and move it over to their systems pretty well. And they give me the live chat when I get stuck, which has been helpful.

Setting it up generally takes me about 10 minutes, even if the system is large and complex. It's 15 minutes, tops, if I am dealing with it taking a long time to spin up or download something.

Because I do the training on this in our company, for the most part, I have already set up training for the standard operating procedure for deploying this backup. It's a four-minute video with some notes that the techs can use if they get stuck. It shows the entire process, from creating the customer inside SolarWinds, to adding the device, and getting on the device and deploying the backup itself. The nice part is, if there's a person who needs to work on the computer — because you can do this on workstations that people need to use and it works super-great — we just download it and install it really quickly. Because it becomes available in the cloud to configure, all my configuration can be done remotely without interrupting a local user.

To deploy the solution for one customer, it requires just one person. With all the customers we currently have on this, about 24 customers, I've got three techs handling it, including checking on the system, running restorations on a quarterly basis, and physically testing those restorations. If I didn't have to run the restorations, and that's something our company just chooses to do, I would only need one person for this whole thing. As it is, it's me and two other techs, one who is a level-2 and one who is a level-3.

What was our ROI?

It's a set price for servers and workstations, so we're able to charge our clients an amount that is a fixed percentage above our cost.

The previous backup and recovery methods cost so much that we would mark up our cost to the client quite a bit less, in comparison. For example, with Carbonite, we were probably only marking it up a fraction of the markup we can charge now and, when I needed Carbonite to work, it didn't. We want to treat our customers right. We have really good relationships with them. We know a lot of them, even though we have so many, and we don't want to feel like we're doing them wrong. At the same time we have to pay our guys.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We had previously tried out using Carbonite for Windows and Windows Server backups, but we were getting very poor recovery results. The backup always gave a green light, but when we actually went to recover in tests or real-world scenarios, we were missing stuff. And there was not much help or explanation as to why, if we reached out to support. That went really poorly. We made a hardcore switched to MSP Backup & Recovery after. Because it's able, for a really good price, to recover in just about every scenario — even crazy ones, in the real world and in testing — we switched over to this and just didn't look back. If it's running Windows Server or Windows 10 or Windows 8, etc., we're going to use this to back it up if the client needs a backup.

Before I licensed SolarWinds, I looked into Datto and Veeam. The differences between those solutions and SolarWinds MSP were commitment and pricing. The features were there. I'm not going to say that the products aren't as good, but they were not priced competitively when I consider my customer base. 

I'm sure it is much different with somebody who has super-large organizations that they support. I would guess that they would end up going with Veeam, because Veeam is, honestly, a good solution. But when it has to account for anybody, from the small, one person operation, to the organization that has a domain and 300 users on it, Veeam doesn't work for me because I can't price it well for everybody. That's especially true when it comes to including the cloud backup solution. I liked Veeam as a solution but I did not like Veeam's pricing, comparatively, especially when I added cloud. The big differentiation was that cloud is automatically included with SolarWinds' solution. Not only that, but the cloud and the cost of using the software is all bundled together. If I go over the set amount of cloud storage, I pay an amount per gigabyte, so I can gauge that really easily. 

On top of that, when it comes to the pricing structure, SolarWinds does things that it seems would be counterintuitive to their making money, and that was impressive to me, because I'm used to most vendors doing the whole "cash grab" thing. First, they have incredible deduping. If duplicate files on the system get uploaded, they make one source file that gets uploaded and it links back to the multiple spots that it was copied from. This saves time and this also saves money. It's crazy that it works this well. These are scenarios where I was worried about restoring them, at first. I thought, "It doesn't seem like all the data is there; it's only backing up one-third of the total storage on the server." But no, it all worked perfectly. Everything is there in the full amount. So they even reduce the amount of money they could charge you for data overages by reducing the amount of data that they put on their servers.

With Datto and Veeam, it felt like I was paying for the software, and that once I got the software I would have to figure out the rest myself. With SolarWinds MSP, it felt more like I was being given a solution. Everything feels like it's tailored and included. With the other systems, I really felt like I was on my own. Datto's prices were not so great, so I went away from them really quickly and looked at Veeam. The impression I got from Veeam was, "Hey, we're Veeam, we've been around forever. Everybody knows us. Figure out how to use it." And if I wanted cloud storage it was so much extra. And it wasn't per gigabyte. I really didn't like the pricing structure and model they went with. Because it felt like I was paying for the software and everything else was an afterthought, something like SolarWinds, where the software is bundled with the cloud storage was really nice for me.

What other advice do I have?

The biggest lesson I've learned from using MSP Backup & Recovery is that there are options out there that I can be confident in, and I don't feel like I have to break a customer's bank to offer them. It's a really big deal for us to be able to do that. Having tested it and used it at this level, it's changed so much how we view what can be done, for keeping even our small customers' data safe. Before, it felt like I had to do a lot of extra things for the smaller places, because they couldn't afford the solutions that were better. Now I have something that I can trust to just do that for them. And it's so easy to maintain that it's really hard to look back and see that we were using other stuff before.

My advice would be to understand that the features are there. Price it out, compared to the other solutions. Because they give you such clear-cut pricing with the system itself, it's really hard, when you get down to dollar and cents, for anybody else to compete, in my opinion. The only use case where that changes is maybe where many terabytes or petabytes of data are included, and you do not need a cloud solution. In that case your cloud solution is some sort of data center or solution you've set up yourself. If you need to back up to the cloud, and this goes for any size organization, and a data center is not an option, SolarWinds is something you have to consider. At least to price it out, especially considering you're never under any commitment, even if you want to try it for a month on one system. The worst case would be that you would get charged for a month of trying it out. 

What I did for us, beforehand, was that I tested how it worked on our systems. The R&D for that, for researching that and figuring it out, is $10 on a workstation, or $50 for that one month. How are you going to compare that to anything else, where you have to sign a contract? You might get a trial, but it's unlikely that you are going to be able to figure everything out in that time. It's so much easier to work with, in all aspects that I can think of, specifically as an MSP. It's not that I think this is the solution for everybody, but for MSPs that don't support incredibly large organizations, this is perfect. It is exactly the solution that I wish I had found years ago.

When it comes to resource and bandwidth use in terms of backup recovery, for the most part I have not yet run into an issue. The one thing I have seen is a light blip on the VoIP. One time, when I was new to this and I restored a grouping of folders for a customer, while it was pushing stuff down we had some reduced phone quality. That download was taking up some of their VoIP. People could hear them fine but they were getting some static. 

What I found out is that there's an option to limit bandwidth during the day. For every customer now, when I install the product, I just do a quick audit of their internet speed. Based on what they can get, I give the download and the upload a percentage of that, so that it won't affect other systems. The bandwidth usage is completely customizable. If you want it to, it'll use your whole connection to get something important, and you can change that on the fly. It's not like it takes time for those settings to push down. But if you want good, everyday operations, you just limit it to a healthy percentage of the bandwidth during the day, and you're good to go.

I am not using it to sell the automated recovery testing and I do not like that feature. I believe it has more of a risk for a false positive than anything. I have done the testing internally up until now with a team. When we have issues, we work on it as a group. We're all very aware of some of the pain points of restorations. One of those pain points is that, sometimes, that virtual disaster recovery is so good that even if I had a technician that did not configure a backup properly, if an error was made on our end, I don't get to see it because the virtual machine will spin up almost no matter what, Windows 10 and past. This system is that good. Even if I have a messed up computer that got backed up, it will still run and work and I've got to do a little bit more digging to figure out if it has an issue.

I had exactly that happen; not in a real-world scenario, but when our team was testing. I could have just said, "Okay, I'm going to do recovery testing and give you a green light when the VM turns on." It can do that. This system is so great that it can turn almost any VM on. This is more of a personal philosophy for how our company runs stuff, as opposed to the viability of the tool itself. SolarWinds does the most that it can really do, without manual interaction from a human being. It does a good image test to see if all your stuff is there and if the VM turned on. But if you do that and it allows you to become complacent, you could miss backing up the drive and never know it. We actually almost had that happen and it might have if we didn't do our own recovery testing and check for stuff like that.

Overall, I would give SolarWinds MSP Backup & Recovery a good 10 out of 10. There is not another product in the SolarWinds line of products that I'm happier with. This is the best of what they have, and I use almost every product they have, except their antivirus.

The highlights of this solution are the way that they price it, how easy it is to use, and how customizable it is. I get to choose exactly how I want to use it, since it comes, default, with every feature. I get to choose how I present it to customers, if I want to do that. This is a good product that's really fair, and it's not complicated.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
MarkPattison
Director at BACK OFFICE IT LTD
Reseller
Top 5
Provides feature flexibility and modularity for our customers

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution has reduced backup times by an immeasurable amount. Its backups are incremental, so you are only backing up data changes based on the last 24 hours or so. If you are also maintaining the stored images, the restores are also only incremental, happening in minutes. Whereas, with a lot of the other solutions that we have looked at, each time it goes to refresh the restore, then it has to build a completely new image. That takes forever. This solution also improves recovery time."
  • "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."

What is our primary use case?

It is backing up customers' servers. On the machine that they wish to protect, they deploy an agent on it.

It is essential for all businesses to back up their IT systems. In our view, it has to be automatic, offsite, and require no user intervention at the client level. The SolarWinds product provides all of those things.

The solution supports full-system, bare-metal, file, and folder. One of the reasons that we like the system is that it maintains up-to-date standby virtual machines, which can be booted at short notice if the customer's primary device fails. So, the predominant recovery methodology that we have is backing up to hypervisor as a VM. We have used the bare-metal recovery in the past and that has its use, but all the ones that we have put onto our customers in a commercial sense are all recovering to hypervisors.

Without cloud storage, we wouldn't do it. If it didn't have offsite storage, we would not be using it as a backup solution.

How has it helped my organization?

Because we have confidence in the backup, we feel more free to experiment with our customer systems. For instance, if we have a server, and we've sat there scratching our heads because we really need to make this big change on the server, but if it goes wrong, then the customer will be screaming at us for a month. We can now go, "Oh, it doesn't really matter. Just do it. If it all goes horribly wrong, then 30 minutes later, I'll have pulled the backup from last night. It will all be good. 

Because we can keep images of our clients' machines on our test machines in our workshop, I can go, "You know what? I'll spin up their copy from last night, make the changes I want to make, and if it all goes bang, then I'll just delete it." Then, tonight, they'll put a fresh copy on it. So, it's freed us up from the worry of working on live machines. 

From the customer's point of view, if it all goes tip top tomorrow due to things like ransomware, they have a backup from Friday. So, who cares?

I have used the solution for complicated recovery scenarios, such as a complex database recovery, to the point where SolarWinds is now using some of the techniques that we have developed in our office as part of their mainstream products. I find it extremely easy to manage the solution in such scenarios, but then I have immersed myself in the product for five years. If you are experienced at building and using virtual machines to get backups, e.g., if you can drive VMware or Microsoft Hyper-V, then I would guess the recovery process is almost trivial. You literally download the software, type in the access codes for the date set that you want, and press "Recover". It is pretty much that simple.

The recovery speed from the cloud depends on how big your data set is, how fast your broadband connection is, and how spry the Internet is feeling that day. Here are a couple of examples: 

  1. We have a remote system in our stockroom downstairs where we can do test builds. If I tell it to build a server that it hasn't built before, it has to pull the data out of the cloud, and and it is sort of a standard size server, then you are looking at about four hours of time. However, we have good broadband, and it's being built onto a pretty potent system.
  2. In the normal course of events onsite, as well as having a cloud image, it also keeps an image copy on a local data store. In which case, I can pull up a server back for a client in about 15 minutes. This is something that I did the other day.

What is most valuable?

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.

What needs improvement?

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:

  1. All the servers being imaged. 
  2. 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.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using it for about five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I don't think that we have actually had any downtime since we started using it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

As far as I can see, there is no limit to its scalability.

We have 13 servers and about a dozen private individuals on the data-only version.

How are customer service and technical support?

That technical support is excellent and knowledgeable. We haven't yet thrown anything out to them that they haven't been able to fix in relatively short order. Of all the IT companies that we deal with as suppliers, I'm pretty sure they are the best that we have ever dealt with.

It is very seldom that I throw a question at them where they have to punt it up to the next level. So, their Tier 1 support is really first class. On the odd occasion that we have had to go to their Tier 2 support, those are the developers of the product. Therefore, you get straight through to the developers in Tier 2, which is very good.

I have a problem at the moment, which is probably down to the definition of the host machine, not the backup solution. It seems to be something integral to the VMware version that we're using on a specific machine, but we've ended up, after two or three conversations, with a situation that works. Even though it's not particularly elegant, it meets all my criteria, it's automatic, and the end result is recoverable. The fact that it puts a warning up once a day on my dashboard is something I'll just have to live with until they source it out permanently. However, it's the exception rather than the rule.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

The solution that we had in place for this tier of business prior to us doing SolarWinds was a limitless nightmare. I reckon that I spent probably 75 percent of my working hours managing the system, and it was not working properly. It was truly hideous. That has now gone down to 10 minutes a day, which is just me checking all the backups. If there is a warning, I just check that the warning is something that I can live with or determine if I have to take a bit of remedial action. Therefore, that percentage has dropped dramatically. However, it's been so successful that we now have a lot more customers using it than before. Obviously, that means the work load goes up a bit, but that's fine. That is what we're paid for, because more customers means revenue.

I struggled with our previous solution for 18 months. It was practically my full-time job for 18 months. At no point, in those 18 months, did it do a backup that was restorable. 

We used the Max Backup product in a very small way for a couple of customer's laptops, so we thought that was what it was. SolarWinds invited us along to a little seminar locally in Birmingham. We went along, and a simple, "Yeah, we quite appreciate the fact that you're buying 20 quid worth of backup offers for these two guys, but you do know we've got enterprise class products as well?" They made a very good presentation and impression on us. They discussed the pricing, and it all seemed very advantageous, so we signed up the following day.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is ridiculously simple, but then again, I've done so many of them. You set it up on the site and that gives you a device name and password. Then, you download it on the client, install it, and put in the device, then put in the password. After that, you set up the encryption key and press "Backup". It is not hard. The killer is if someone loses the encryption key, then the whole thing is a waste of time.

Because you can only recover if you have the encryption key, we are very careful in logging and maintaining the encryption keys for our clients' backup systems. Though, I can just imagine someone who writes it on the back of an envelope that his tax demand came in and that accidentally goes in the skip. Then, three weeks later, when he needs to do a recovery, he can't find it and that will be a problem. That is the only "Gotcha." You have to be very careful with your credentials for the backup.

The deployment takes me longer than anyone else because I understand what I am dealing with and take more time and care. 

  • Takes 30 seconds on the platform to generate the new instance. 
  • Takes a couple of minutes to download it on the client, then a couple of minutes to install it. So, it takes five minutes get it installed. 
  • I will then take half an hour just testing the various scenarios before I turn on the scheduler and let it get on with its own stuff. 

If you are spending an hour doing the deployment, then you are doing something wrong.

Once it is installed, I just choose the smallest file that I can find and back that up. I check that the backup goes through okay. If it appears in the local cache, appears on the web platform, and I can copy it back to location of my choice (all of which takes five minutes), only then do I know that the backup is fundamentally sound, and go, "Right." Because the thing with incremental backups, the first backup can sometimes take a week because you're backing up absolutely everything: Gigabytes and gigabytes of data. It's only after that first backup is done that it becomes incremental, then it does it in a couple of minutes. So, I'm not going to unleash it to do a backup that might take 30 hours only to find that I have had a bit of trouble with one of the settings, and it hasn't gone how I thought it was going to go. So, my implementation strategy: You just back up a file, check that everything works exactly as you expect, and then let it get on with it.

What about the implementation team?

I do the deployment and maintenance. It takes an hour to set up a new machine, then I spend 10 minutes a day checking it.

if you want to phone up a reseller, like us, we don't put a big margin on it and can make it work for you from day one. Whereas, if you go direct, you will trip over a few things, which we tripped over five years ago. There is no need to trip over them again and reinvent the wheel. For example, when you're working in an enterprise environment inside Active Directory, you set up the machine which will host your local copy. You need to authorise the share to the backup system. You set up a share based on the Active Directory username that you have created to manage the backup system, and it's all good. If the machine that you're protecting, i.e., the Active Directory controller, goes and fails, then you cannot get to the speed vaults (local copy) because it's protected and only accessible through local directory users. The answer to this is that you set up a local user inside the machine which hosts the copy, accessing using the local user credentials, and then it's all fine. However, that is not obvious, and it's not documented. You only find out about it when it all goes horribly wrong one day, and you can't get to the local speed vault.

What was our ROI?

We have absolutely seen a healthy ROI.

Something that we make a little money on is if a customer wants to pay for the option to have an onsite copy on their premises (ready to run). We then supply the hardware for that. It tends to be a fairly low spec server. We either sell that, in which case we make a small margin on it, or it goes in as a rental cost on the monthly.

The solution has reduced backup times by an immeasurable amount. Its backups are incremental, so you are only backing up data changes based on the last 24 hours or so. If you are also maintaining the stored images, the restores are also only incremental, happening in minutes. Whereas, with a lot of the other solutions that we have looked at, each time it goes to refresh the restore, then it has to build a completely new image. That takes forever. This solution also improves recovery time.

SolarWind's total cost of ownership is an extremely good value.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

There is a basic product and pricing package. Clients can add on additional pricing for the local storage and hot standbys (onsite and offsite). We like that we can build a solution that fits the client's requirements and pockets.

When you have a device/appliance on the site quite a lot of the other enterprise class backup people insist that you have their appliance, which is frankly offensively expensive. Because when you pry the top off, it's just a standard 19-inch tin box with a standard Intel I5 in it, some RAM, and a hard drive. Then, you go, "Why have they just charged me 5,500 quid for a box, which I could have probably build for under 500." Whereas, with the SolarWinds product, they don't have that. The backup appliances that we have onsite are just plain cooking PCs. We can build our own machines, which is reflected in the price that we can offer a customer.

There is something you have to do each time you effectively buy an imaging/server license, which is a fixed price. So, if I set a new machine up on the portal to be backed up, it will cost us one more license and appear on our next invoice. With each license comes 500 gigs of cloud storage, which is pretty much as you'd expect. The nice thing about the SolarWinds product is you pool it. Therefore, if you have 10 devices, you have five terabytes of storage, then we can divvy that up however we like. For example, if we have one customer who has a tiny little machine that has only 200 gig and another customer who has a machine that is 700 gig, I still only need two licenses. This is because the 700 gig and 200 gig make 900 gig, which is less than the one terabyte that those two licenses give me.

This pooling means it is very cost-effective from our point of view. It is just an example of where they have built the system to reflect the customers' needs not to maximise their profit. Because they could quite easily say, "Nope. As soon as an individual machine hits that five terabyte limit, you have to pay the sliding data scale to have extra storage on it." They don't, they go, "Well, it's gone over its limit, but you still got stuff left over from some of the other machines. You can use that for free." That is a very good indicator of a company who is customer-focused.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have probably evaluated all of the solutions in this market. Technically, they all do pretty much the same thing. Their core product, which is automatic backup, goes into the cloud and leverages the VSS inside the server. 

SolarWinds is the only one whose even close to that level of flexibility and modularity that we need. There are many offerings in the market, but the reason we chose SolarWinds is that it is modular. For each individual client, we can put a system together with as many features as they want, need, or are willing to pay for. In other words, we can go from a very minor backup operation for only a few pounds a month to many hundreds of pounds for the full solution. 

With due respect to various persons around the planet, if I have a backup system with a customer who's screaming at me because his server has gone down, and he wants his backup running, then I don't want to phone up and be answered by a call centre in the Philippines telling me that someone will get back to me, because they're in some far-flung parts of the world and the call won't come through until two o'clock in the morning. That's not going to float my boat.

When I phone the guys up at SolarWinds, I am on first name terms with all of them. Nine times out of 10, I will get through to one of the guys inside of 30 seconds. Normally, within 15 minutes, the problem is resolved. That is worth more than money. 

Those are the two things differentiate them: the flexibility and modularity of the system along with the quality of their support. At this level, cost is not the number one driving factor.

We use one other backup product. It is considerably more expensive than the SolarWinds product. However, what it does, it has integrated into that product cloud virtualization in the event of the customer losing their premises as well as their hardware. In other words, their backup systems have gone as well. For example, Worcestershire, England spends three months of the year under water. We know it's going to happen, and we just get on with it. However, if that premises was flooded and they lost that backup as well, they can all decamp to an office space, somewhere local. Then, we can spin the whole infrastructure in the cloud, where they can VPN to the cloud, and within days, carry on as normal while we rebuild their infrastructure. 

SolarWinds does have something similar, but unless you're willing to pay for a vast amount of storage, AWS is too expensive to maintain. For example, if the flooding scenario happens, you have to provision some AWS space, recover into the AWS space, and then you can do it. You are looking at 24 hours, maybe more, to make that happen. Whereas, the other product, it's literally press the button that says, "Virtualizing Cloud", and by the time your cup of coffee has got down to a drinkable temperature, it's all working. That is the one feature that SolarWinds is missing. Having said that, I wouldn't want it, if it puts the cost up significantly, because most of our customers do not consider that eventuality sufficiently likely to be worth paying for.

What other advice do I have?

It is a very good system. We have very few problems with it.

Just do it. If you get stuck, find the guys in support and they'll talk you through it because it's very quick and easy. They are quite happy to come onto a Remote Desktop Session, and go, "No, you've got that wrong." 

It's a good product that is sensibly priced. Anyone who has a modicum of IT skills can make it work. 

I would rate the solution as a 10 out of 10.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller.
Learn what your peers think about N-able Backup. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: October 2021.
540,984 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Dirk Wittkowski
President at Tech Help Group, Inc.
Real User
Top 5
Single pane of glass dashboard allows me to create and tweak filters and know that everything's working, at a glance

Pros and Cons

  • "We use a neat feature called VDR status, Virtual Disaster Recovery status. It only works on servers... It's automated. Once or twice a month it will virtually mount the backup and provide a screenshot and advise whether or not there have been any errors."
  • "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."
  • "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... 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."

What is our primary use case?

We use it to do complete server backups, including system state, for disaster recovery. We also have a few workstations that we back up as well.

We are trying to promote everything being backed up on the platform: Out of sight, out of mind, just back up everything. We've created a new pricing model to help that along and hopefully clients will see the value in having that.

How has it helped my organization?

The single pane of glass saves a ton of time. We can sort by data resources and scroll down and see which servers have SQL, which servers have enabled the system state, which are only file and folders backups, and we see the Microsoft 365 SharePoint, Microsoft 365 Exchange, and OneDrive backups. If you set it up this way, it has color bars and each of the color bars represents 28 or 30 days or 31 days. When you hover over each day you can see the date. If it's a solid green or a light green that means it's great. If it's orange that means it failed once or twice or three times for whatever reason; whether you rebooted the server or whether there was a power loss and the server was off. You can figure out what the problem was really quickly.

If it's a server that's been on for a long time and that has always reported in, and the backup fails, it's literally as simple as remoting in, stopping the backup service controller, stopping cryptographic services, restarting that service, restarting the backup service controller and letting it back up off to the next pass. A few hours later, you look back and you say, "Everything's working again." It works like a charm. It really is a completely hands-off, set-it-and-forget-it system, with great alerting. 

I spend about five minutes in the portal, and even that is an exaggeration, just to make sure everything is good in the morning. I'll pop in at some point in the afternoon, and I'll pop in during the evening just make sure everything is good, because sometimes I don't check my email. I'll just go into the dashboard and see that single pane of glass and know that everything's working. I don't really think about backups. It's a tremendous time-saver. It's truly easy to use. There's a single pane of glass. You tweak it a little bit, create your filters, and then you look at it a few times a day. If I spend five minutes a day on it, that's a lot.

What is most valuable?

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.

What needs improvement?

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.

For how long have I used the solution?

We transitioned over to SolarWinds MSP Backup & Recovery a little bit more than a year-and-a-half ago.

I founded this company in 1997. We are a small, mom and pop, white-glove, complete VIP, service for small businesses. We do anything and everything for our clients. Most of the clients are very in tune with our recommendations in terms of backups, various security measures, and solutions that we have in place.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Overall, it's very stable.

The only problem we come across is if a PC shuts down, reboots, and it's in a bit of a funk. In that situation, we stop the cryptographic and the backup service controller. We then start the cryptographic and the backup service controller. If it doesn't work, then there is a second step where we have to delete the indexing file and it will just redownload and recreate a new indexing file. It then syncs up with what's in the cloud and then continues the backup process.

It is very sensitive to System File Checker failing. We had six instances, with six different servers, where System File Checker was erroring out. It turned out that Trend Micro Worry-Free Services was causing the problem. After uninstalling and reinstalling Trend Micro, File Checker started working again. Because System File Checker was failing, it was not allowing us to back up. I don't know exactly how it does it, but it knows that System File Checker isn't working. We also had one instance, among those six servers, where System File Checker was failing and we had to do a DISM file system repair onsite. Once we did that, System File Checker ran successfully and the backup started working properly again.

It's sensitive to System File Checker which, by the way, is a natural alert, which is great. If it's failing and the first two resolution attempts don't work, we know to run System File Checker right away and make sure that it isn't failing. And if it is, I can stop trying all the other possibilities and resolve SFC error. 

But really that's the only issue. I've never had to uninstall or reinstall the solution. It just works. I put myself out there and I take my job extremely seriously. I wouldn't be with SolarWinds right now if I thought there was even a remote chance that this would not serve my needs when I need it. It's really that reliable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is unlimited. If I had a million systems out there, using this solution would just involve the time it would take to provision them. After that I could bill nicely for it and it's really hands-off. 

As I mentioned, if I had a million systems, and all these systems were reporting failures because they were not turned on, that is the only issue I would have with the system because I wouldn't know what the status was of each of those machines. Maybe they have something to help with that and I just don't know it. But if it had the ability to let me know that this system last reported in on this day, that would be great.

We're a small shop. We have 100 systems, servers, and a few workstations in place right now.

How are customer service and technical support?

SolarWinds' technical support for this solution is excellent. Phenomenal. They are just amazing. If you have to call them, you press "two" for technical support and, within half-a-minute, you've got somebody on the phone. It's very rare that you have to wait on the call. Their response rate is phenomenal. 

All the people are pretty good. Everyone tries their best. I've had some situations where it may have dragged out a little bit longer, but I've been in this business long enough to realize that some support people are going to have more experience and some are going to have less. Sometimes you wind up with one that has less because they're still learning the ropes and getting used to it. They may not be as versed and experienced in the world of computing. But it's a rarity.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We transitioned to this solution from eFolder. That was not nearly as good a solution as this is. The eFolder solution was a solution that works hand-in-hand with StorageCraft. We are a big StorageCraft client. They're our vendor for local backups. They serve the StorageCraft business community very well. 

SolarWinds is a different approach to backups. It's its own dedicated, proprietary solution. You load the agent and tell it to pull all files, folders, system state, SQL—whatever there is to back up.

Before we considered buying this solution we took about a month to test and evaluate the product, and it tested 100 percent. Each scenario—we restored a server, we restored a workstation, we restored a laptop—just worked. We said, "This is great, that's it. We're sold." That's the reason why we went with it.

Another factor was cost. SolarWinds is a major cost- and time-saver. The time-savings were even more important and, of course, also equate to money. It's a completely hands-off solution and there's no charge for the software, as one would expect. We just charge for storage. There is the option to buy storage and everything aggregates into one, if you need it to. But at the end of the day, it's a very profitable solution.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is very simple. We have an Excel spreadsheet that we set up with the PC server name. We then have to create a code and provision it through the system. It provides you with an encryption key, which we document. We also set a GUI password so that if it were to be compromised, you click on it if you don't know the GUI password. That way there are two levels of encryption. There is one at the GUI level and another at the connection level, for establishing a backup and having it speak with the servers. 

When we provision or install the agent, we do everything using remote, background services on SolarWinds. We're never on-prem. We're never physically controlling the PC. Everything's done in the background. We do a silent install. We can see if the service has been created and when the service starts. Then we just finish up the provision and process. 

It's relatively simple. We have it down to a science: Silent installation, confirm services have started, stop the services, apply a policy, restart the services, log in using the GUI, kick off the backup, done.

To do the entire deployment, from start to finish, takes about 10 to 15 minutes per device. I do it myself because it's so quick.

I could train somebody to do it, of course, and there is the ability to create a template for the onboarding process. We're going to be doing that in our new PSA solution so that others can do it as well. But it's such an easy process. 

You can do it quicker because they have a featureand I'm afraid to use it—where, if a client needs the solution installed on every machine, you can deploy it  as a self-provisioning installation process. It installs whatever it needs to install on all the systems. It can probably be done through a group policy. It's all documented. For anybody who has that type of scenario, it's super-easy.

What was our ROI?

The ROI depends. It's a very competitive market out there. But because we're hands-on with our clients and we're monitoring this, and there's not much to monitor—I only spend about five minutes a day on it—from a cost perspective, our ROI is anywhere between 300 and 700 percent profit.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Pricing is per GB. If you're backing up workstations, they provide you 100 GBs. If they are doing servers, they provide you 500 GBs right off the bat. But that's all aggregated for us, as an MSP. So the more clients we have, the more they're adding to the amount of space we have available for the entire client base. We wind up not ever having to pay overages and we wind up being able to grow into the amount of storage that becomes available.

Because we were moving away from another solution and had a decent amount of data that we were going to be backing up, I was able to negotiate a very good rate. There is flexibility. The rate that they presented was reasonable. It worked out that I got locked into a great rate. It made it easier for me to sell the product based on the fact that I get a lower rate.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

There are so many different backup solutions that are out there, but when it comes to ease of use, it's hard to even look at anything else.

What other advice do I have?

If you want to go through the motions of testing it, I get it. You have to do your own due diligence. But I've done the homework and it works. And if you have a RAID drive and you need a RAID controller driver, you can actually insert the RAID controller driver into the boot media so that it saves the volume. And it will just work.

We use a neat feature called Virtual Disaster Recovery (VDR) status. It only works on servers. I believe it's $5 a month to do recovery testing and it's certainly worthwhile. We even bill out for that, and having that feature built-in is making us money. It's automated. Once or twice a month it will virtually mount the backup and provide a screenshot and advise whether or not there have been any errors. 

Some of our clients' servers are very big, so the VDR process will be completed with errors. I've since been told that's because they've got very large volumes. If the volume is larger than one terabyte, they're not going to mount it, probably because of resources and to make it economically affordable to do a test. But most C-drive partitions, which is the system partition, are short of a terabyte. Most of our clients will have one terabyte or less for these partitions. What this feature does is provide you with a verification result and shows you a screenshot. 

It mounts the operating system, provides you with logging, and reports an error if a volume is too large. And I'm okay with that. The whole verification process, to make sure that the integrity is there, works out-of-the-box. The VDR status functionality, which is an add-on—you have to add each service to it—gives you peace of mind that the data is mountable and that you're good to go. That peace of mind is enough for me to go about my day and do whatever I have to do. It works.

If it reports an error, that's because the volume might be two, three, four, or five terabytes in size. As a result, they're not going to be mounting that.

It would take a long time. We would need resources and the type of an environment to be able to download the tens of terabytes that we have for clients. We didn't want to be out of compliance when downloading that locally on our network. We don't have the resources to be able to store that kind of data locally. Everything's cloud-based now. The option to do so is certainly there, but we don't do it because that's what the VDR testing does for us. It's a major time-saver because it's already being done by them when you elect to do it on a particular server.

You enable VDR recovery testing, choose once a month or bi-monthly, and you're done. The next time it's scheduled to run, it runs. You can see the history and the status. It's very easy. There's nothing to set up.

If you do Office365, which we're going to be embracing, SolarWinds seems to be the leader with Office365 backup, or at least they're dominating the market with advertisements. I feel good that I'm using a product for both backups and for Office365.

The Virtual Drive also looks pretty cool. I've never used it, but I could see how it would be cool. I'd have to find out whether that's something we can just install on a server and, if we need it, it would be there and allow us to restore a file right away without even having to log in to the Backup Manager. That would give us direct access to the files as if it were a regular file system. And they do support that functionality. 

The Recovery Console has worked, 100 percent. I used to do recoveries that way for each of the clients, but it would take a long time for downloading. That's why they introduced the Virtual Disaster Recovery testing. I don't use the Recovery Console anymore to test backups. If it tests in the cloud, I trust it will test fine if we were to download it.

I try to embrace the SolarWinds solutions as much as possible. They've served me and my company and my clients well. For servers, first and foremost, it's just a rock-solid solution. The restorability is excellent. We've had very few problems. And usually, if there's a problem, it's not on their end, it has to do with the server itself.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
MH
Systems Analyst at a tech services company with 1-10 employees
Real User
Top 20
Great for backup and recovery with a single pane of glass that's excellent for monitoring

Pros and Cons

  • "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."
  • "The recovery side, the restore side, could be a little more optimized."

What is our primary use case?

For almost all my customers, critical data is what we're backing up and that's a total of something like 20 terabytes in total. It's nothing, however, it's a lot more than I would want to have to recreate in terms of data. We had our own in-house solution previous to that, and we abandoned it for something more robust. We have everything from lawyers, and doctors to auto repair shops, and investment or real estate management companies on the solution, and it works well for all of them. 

We only backup data. We don't ever anticipate doing a bare-metal restore. Usually, if a server blows a raid card or motherboard, bare metal is not going to help us on it; it's not going to save us anything. We could more easily generate up an operating system on a new box. We're not a Fortune 500 provider that might have to have spare machines lying around. 

There's no special hardware, although they're all migrated to the cloud now, however, the net-net of it is our idea with getting things back up and rocking again, are by using things that are common.

We keep all the customer data current. We can rebuild a server in a heartbeat. We don't need to be able to come back in 10 minutes. If we did, there would be a virtual situation, and it would be on a virtual server.

How has it helped my organization?

A bunch of my customers had been ransomwared and we used this product to successfully recover items.

The solution is good at verifying proof of backup. For example, a customer might say "I've deleted this file. I need yesterday's version for me, please put it back in the same place" and we can do so.

It used to take a couple of hours to turn up a new client with our previous product and now, I could do it and I could have the instance ready and everything rocking in probably 15 minutes. It's fast.

Most of that's just backroom billing information. That I can reconcile properly. Our system, our previous system, was pretty flexible, however, it was manual mode and restoring was an absolute disaster on our old system. This stuff on this is child's play.

The backup times are also reduced. Although our backup previously compressed like this solution's, and it reviewed, it didn't send over stuff that it didn't need to send over. It operated pretty efficiently. We ran our operation on 150 megabits per second pipe without ever stressing it previously. The only nice thing about the old way was if I got a complete failure and I needed to dump a drive, I could. I could have it restored at LAN speed, gigabits per second. Whereas now, we have to download it, and that could be a couple of hours. However, usually we'll kick off the download while we're rebuilding the server. That way, by the time we're all done, we're ready to rock and roll.

The solution has also reduced the amount of time that we spend on backup administration. While previously, we were looking at about an hour or more a day, now, it's maybe 15 minutes. It's gotten much faster and we are saving a lot of time.

I'm able to benefit from the backup-related costs. I haven't changed what I am charging customers, however, my costs have become external, and in that sense, I have given myself a raise.

Overall, our team is much more satisfied. I don't have to bite my fingernails every morning wondering "What happened here?" Pretty much when things don't back up, it's usually either a machine failure or their network went down or something else is screwed up. For example, maybe somebody decided to reboot something on me and didn't let me know about it. In one case, somebody was actively getting hacked, and we noticed that and we were able to shut everything down before life totally went to pieces, and we had them back up and rocking the next day. It happened at four or five o'clock on one day, and we had them bright and early in the morning back and operational again.

What is most valuable?

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.

What needs improvement?

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.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for about five years or so at this point.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There was only one day that I couldn't do backups due to the fact that they had a node failure. I thought that maybe this was a bad omen of things to come, however, now, if I look back, one day out of five years is a pretty good run. I'm happy with the stability on offer. It's reliable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We've grown from, when we started, around seven terabytes or six terabytes. We've grown to almost 20 now. Not a single time did I get a note from them saying, "Hey, you have to do something to have more data." Nothing like that. We've added customers and taken away customers. Occasionally we have customers quit, or retire old servers, or somebody got his own local backup machine. It's scaled with every change.

Every customer that we bring onboard for our other consulting work, I tell them about what are we doing for offsite backups. They'll say something like, "Oh yeah, I just put it up on my OneDrive or my Google cloud". I warn them that they don't back anything up for you. I'll ask "What do you do when such and such happens?" Sure enough, they become a backup customer. We sell it with everything that we do, however, we're an easy-going kind of company. They say, "Oh, no. I don't want to pay for that. I'd rather just go with my OneDrive." We won't pressure them. We'll just say "Knock yourself out. You can always start going with us after your situation, or if your solution doesn't work. I won't say I told you so. Promise." Then they'd look at me and say, "Okay. It's not that much. Go ahead and throw it on." I'm glad when they don't nickel and dime themselves. In any case, as we add, the solution accommodates. We never have to worry about having space for one more client.

How are customer service and technical support?

The tech support group is spot on. I ended up just emailing the head person and saying, "how is this supposed to work?" And he emailed me back with the directions to find exactly what I needed.  

I don't need a whole lot of support, however, when I do, I just send them an email and they respond back to me. I remember one time I was told, "Please open a ticket for this". And my next question was, "How do I do tickets?" And they realized that I don't take a lot of hands. I don't need a lot of handholding.

I'm quite satisfied with their level of service. They're great.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We previously used an in-house homemade solution with a couple of other things cobbled together to make it work.

We had to level up to something better. I couldn't grow it for our customer base. It was okay. It worked fine and I could grow a little bit, however, then I would have to get more hardware and I just thought I was managing it is more than I really wanted to. I don't want to run a server farm. Therefore, I pressed the change and I did a little cost analysis and found their software was way more flexible and the restorer was painless compared to ours. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is extremely straightforward. I was up and running in an hour.

I knew what is going to be backed up due to the fact that we had our in-house system. I used the information about what was being backed up on the server. I already had lists of servers and IP addresses, et cetera. I wasn't reinventing the wheel from scratch.

For maintenance, it's just me. There are five of us in the company, however, I take care of it personally, myself. It's maybe a 15-minute job. It's one of the first things I do when I sit down at my desk.

What about the implementation team?

I did not work with any third-party integrator or consultants for the deployment.

My salesperson basically walked me through it. Once I got a couple of our servers going, I then added one of my customer's servers and he showed me how to keep things separated. That way, in reporting, I'd be able to easily manage it. The deployment probably wasn't even an hour. It's way easier than how we used to do it previously.

What was our ROI?

The ROI is pretty good. It allows us to respond quickly. We were able to respond to a customer's requests, for example, whether it is for a ransomware attack that we recovered them from, or if an employee accidentally erases a whole bunch of sub-directories and they need to be recovered. Any time a customer is satisfied with how things turn out,I consider that as a return on investment.

In terms of metrics, if I look at what my profitability is, that has a good return on investment in general, however, I've never sat down and said, "Okay, so my old system costs me X dollars a gigabyte. This cost me X minus 20 cents a gigabyte. Okay. I'm making more money on it." I'm not that much of a bean counter. I look at the end of the month and say, "Hey, there's money in the checkbook. This is a good month." I'm a computer guy. I'm not an accountant.

If I would have to estimate, I'd say that the Return on Investment is almost 100% due to the fact that you only pay for what you use. It's kind of like using virtual machines. There is no upfront cost, at least not with my contract. I don't know what everybody else's contracts look like. Maybe I got a good deal. Maybe I negotiated well. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The terms for their contract, they were pretty loose in that. They allowed us to give it a try for a couple months. If we didn't like it, they'd let us out. If I recall correctly, the first term was one year. That meant my maximum exposure was pretty limited.

They did change their billing method or their computation method at one point. They might not have adequately gotten everybody on board as to how that was changing, and it upped the bills a bit. We didn't understand the billing computation. It had to do with high watermarks as opposed to just purely what it was on the last day of the month. We've since sorted out the confusion.

There is no per node cost, at least not the way I am doing it. I am on bulk. New customers can be set up on a trial, where they can get things all squared away, then they can switch over to being a billed customer.

At the end of the day, there aren't any costs in addition to their standard licensing fees.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did evaluate some other options, however, we landed on this product mostly due to the pricing. We found it would be more consistent, billing-wise, and that was a huge selling point. 

What other advice do I have?

We are just a customer and an end-user.

We use a variety of different versions, including 21.1, 21.2, 21.3, and all the way back to 20.10.  

We do not use its automated recovery testing. I do it manually. I know there is an automated feature, however, I don't want to use it. I prefer keeping everything inside my own box. I want to maintain all my keys. Therefore, I test the keys myself, to make sure that the files are recoverable.

I would advise those considering the solution to look at the total cost of ownership. That would be my big takeaway from this. It's just not the amount of money that you're spending on your bill today, but what are you getting out of it down the road. There may be intangibles that you haven't factored into it yet. Whether it's archives are included in the costs or the fact that I have tech support people that are available to help me manage my platform so that I pay the least amount of money on it. If there's optimization that needs to happen and they'll help me with it, that's great. It all factors in. You need to measure it in its totality. 

On a scale from one to ten, one being the worst and 10 being the best, I would rate the solution at a ten.

It has all the notifications, all the bells, and whistles. I could sit down and look at the pane of glass or I can have it send me 5,000 emails a day if that's what I prefer. It's flexible, whichever way you want to go. I particularly don't want a whole bunch of emails. I want to be able to sit down and look at things myself and analyze them myself. It makes it easier to find the needle in the haystack - and I'm happy that it gives me the option.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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JC
Sr. Network/System Administrator Support at S&L Computer Services
Reseller
Top 5
As long as something has been backed up, I know that I can get it back and I know I have nothing to worry about

Pros and Cons

  • "I know I won't have an issue if the data is there. The reliability and the confidence that we have is amazing. It doesn't matter. We've had customers have ransomware. We've had customers that have had corruption. We've had customers that have had employees destroy their data. As long as it's been backed up, I know that I can get it back and I know I have nothing to worry about. Our confidence level is very high."
  • "The one thing they don't are Linux servers, it's Windows only. I understand that directive. I have another product that I use for our Linux servers and stuff, but it would be nice if they had that flexibility on the Linux side. I understand the development and the world is geared towards Windows in 365, I know that's where the clienteles are and the business and the money is."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is for offsite backup of our client's and our data. We use it to backup files & folders, Exchange, and SQL databases. If  you need to do a disaster recovery, it has the option to restore your system to a VHD. If a customer has an issue that they just need some files or folders restored, or their SQL database, or a single email restore, you have the flexibility to restore whatever you need to. We can go down to item level if we need to.

How has it helped my organization?

SolarWind's reliability has improved our organization as we can offer a reliable backup solution to our customers. We have customers who were with other companies who were using a different backup solution, and when it came time to restore their files they were unable to restore what they were supposed to be backing up. We have never had that issue with all the times and situations that we have had to restore data. We have had no problems or issues.

In terms of its efficiency of resource and bandwidth use, we usually schedule our backups to be done after normal business hours when there is less network traffic and bandwidth is usually better. The backups don't take long at all as only the changed data from the previous backup is transferred. With the archiving feature, you can go back to any archive and restore what you need to from that backup.

What is most valuable?

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.

What needs improvement?

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. 

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using SolarWinds MSP Backup & Recovery for six years. We're using the standalone version as well as the RMM version, which are basically the same. The RMM version is integrated into their RMM package. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In terms of stability, it runs. We were using it on a 2003 Exchange server and it runs on that. We've got it on an XP machine. We're running a lot of 2019 SQLs and 2019 Exchanges. It runs from top to bottom. It just runs. The only problem that comes up from time to time - but I don't feel it's under their control - is when you are backing up a workstation. The problem is when we're backing up a workstation, and there's a Windows update that comes down, it will shut their backup service off. It will then do the Windows updates, but won't turn that service back on unless the workstation is rebooted or the service is manually started.

 I don't think that's an issue of theirs but that's something that we're aware of. 

How are customer service and technical support?

Solarwinds backup support guys are second to none! They are the best!  They are a great bunch of guys that are always great to talk to.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used Vembu for a while until we had one instance where they couldn't restore the data that they said they backed up. We had Remote Backup Systems for a while and we ran into a problem with them not being able to restore data for a customer. We used Symantec backup for many years as a local backup, but only RBS and Vembu for Cloud and offsite. We have used Acronis, Veritas Backup Exec, Veeam, Arcserve, Symantec, as well as others over the years. We switched to SolarWinds because their cloud backup as well as local storage option coupled with their reliability was something that worked all the time along with no consumable or physical media issues you have with the other solutions. Since we had several bad experiences with not being able to restore data for customers when they needed it, we needed to find a solution that we could count on 100% of the time. There doesn't have to be any other reasons other than that. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. You create your customer in your dashboard,  you right-click and add your device, give your device a name, and deploy it. It's so simple. From the RMM you can create an installation package that has all the client's info and then just run it. It has all the encryption and Cloud information in it. You just click "Create My Installer," it creates the installer, you copy that to the customer site, you run it and you don't even answer anything in that one. It has it all in there from the dashboard. 

From beginning to end, the deployment takes five minutes. 

What was our ROI?

We have definitely seen a great ROI on our Solarwinds backup solution.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Pricing-wise on the standalone is fair. The problem is that their RMM package is priced per device. Each device is allowed 500GB storage for $XX.XX. It's been like that for the past six years since we've been with them. If you go back five, six, seven years ago, 500GB was a lot, but as times change storage has increased. Operating systems are taking up more disk space, programs are taking up more disk space, updates are taking up more disk space, and people are storing more data. I know the storage (disk & cloud) part of it has gotten cheaper over the past six years, but the amount of storage you are allowed per device hasn't changed - it is still the same as it was six years ago. I'm not saying that they need to lower their per device fee, but I think it would be nice to see them allow more storage per device for that monthly per device fee.

Their pricing is still fair. Are they the cheapest? No. Are there other products out there that are as reliable as them? Probably somewhere, some product, but I'm not willing to take that chance because we developed a comfort level and we know if our customers get get corrupt data, need a deleted file restored, or get ransomware, we can get all their data back. That's where it's at. 

There aren't additional costs. You have your per device - you're allowed up to X amount and then you have overage charges, whatever per-gig over that you are. The billing is pretty straight up. If you have a stand-alone, it's however much all your clients are backing up by X amount, that's your bill.  As far as the billing, that's all pretty straightforward.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at many different options as previously mentioned.  As far as ease of use, we looked at Veeam. Veeam is a nice product, but it is expensive. We also looked at the Barracuda backup solution, but that requires a physical appliance at each client's location. We've had two customers that were using a competitor's backup solution where they couldn't restore their data. We just don't have that problem with SolarWinds. for our customers that are concerned about internet/cloud restore speed, we just configure them with a local speedvault.

Everyone knows that the good backups and a good backup plan are the only safe haven from ransomware. If you've got a good backup, you don't have to worry about anything and that's where we're at. We've had three clients now in the past three months who had ransomware but were back up in no time with no data loss. 

Reliability and ease of use are was distinguish SolarWinds. 

What other advice do I have?

I know there are a lot of companies out there that it's hard to switch from what you're doing. I would be willing to sit in a room with people that have evaluated as much as I have in terms of backup products over the years and talk and round table with them. 

I feel that SolarWinds had some issues with their per device charge and how much you are allowed with their RMM product, but as far as their backup products, they are rock solid. We've had no issues. None. I realize the backup is just part of their RMM thing, but that is the one part that there's just no question about.

Their product is reliable, easy to use, and fairly priced. It's not the cheapest, so if you're looking for the cheapest, then SolarWinds is not it. If you're looking for a quality solution that lets you sleep at night, knowing that you're not worried about your backup, your customer's backup, anything like that; I would definitely say, this is something you should really investigate and look into.

I would rate SolarWinds MSP Backup Recovery a ten out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller
Chris Soutar
Vice President of Managed Services at Entré Computer Solutions
Reseller
Top 5
Enables us to recover full systems correctly and properly the first time

Pros and Cons

  • "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."
  • "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."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is for all of our backup needs for the companies that we support throughout our area. Anybody who's looking for some sort of a trusted offsite backup solution, this is what our lead product is. It supports all bare-metal, offsite, cloud replication, the whole deal.

How has it helped my organization?

SolarWinds has improved my organization due to the way that we've been able to recover and not have any problems or issues within recovery. This has been key in making sure that we can get our clients back up working correctly, as well as making sure that the data is recoverable at any point in time.

It has reduced the amount of time that we spend on a day-to-day basis, as far as the admin side of the backup. We've probably been able to save a couple of hours per day, making sure that everything is working and working correctly the first time.

It has also reduced recovery times, as well as backup to the cloud itself. We've been looking at the recovery times. We have been able to save around eight to 10 hours per recovery, around an hour or two per week. And then as far as backup goes, we've been able to save around four to five hours. 

What is most valuable?

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.

What needs improvement?

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.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using SolarWinds Backup and Recovery for roughly four years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I am very impressed with the stability. I haven't seen any problems or issues as far as corruption, stability, or anything along those lines.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's very scalable and very friendly as far as scalability goes. It allows us to use whatever hardware we like and work in a variety of different situations.

Internally, we have about five or six dedicated technicians that we have using the solution. They are fully responsible for all deployment and maintenance.

In our organization, SolarWinds is used very extensively. All new backup opportunities go through and are sold as the SolarWinds Backup Recovery product.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Before SolarWinds, we used Barracuda Backups. The biggest reasons we switched to SolarWinds are because of the price, flexibility, and scalability.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very straightforward. It was very easy to use, very easy to understand, to sell, and to maintain.

We spent around a day or two learning how to back up, how things worked, how things got onsite/offsite. Then, just over time, we are continuing to look at ways to improve so, we spend a couple of hours per month learning new ways of doing things.

Our initial strategy was based on a cost-competitive situation and we were looking at something that was straightforward, easy to use, but also relatively inexpensive. This fit the bill for what we were looking to do. The strategy was to provide an offsite backup solution that would work for a client, in terms of a tape backup.

What about the implementation team?

We had done the deployment ourselves. Any help that we needed, we got directly from SolarWinds. They were very good, very easy, and very willing to help. They're still very willing to help as we work through any hiccups or things that we see that are abnormal.

What was our ROI?

We have seen ROI. When we get a much more quick and scalable solution where everything works. We have been able to definitely increase our profitability within that.

We're about 40 or 50% more profitable than we were before.

The total cost of ownership given the inclusion of cloud storage and the absence of proprietary appliances has been great so far. The costs that they have in place are very fair and very justifiable.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The best thing about the SolarWinds solution is the ability to price or scale on a case by case basis. You're not buying into a full block of how many licenses you need. You're not signing up into a contract where you have to buy so many licenses, which has been great for us so.

If you're looking at doing a local storage device, then that is a one-time cost that you usually source from a third-party. They're outside of the initial software costs. There's nothing else that goes along with it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The only solutions we looked at were Barracuda and Symantec Tape Backup solution. It wasn't very competitive. For Barracuda, the biggest pro for us at the time was our experience with it. We've worked with them for a number of years and a couple of different opportunities and situations. The con was the pricing. Then it was also the scalability where we were able to look at something that would allow us to grow along with the product versus having to buy an expensive piece of hardware. For Symantec Backup Exec, it was a pretty easy situation where it's either an onsite tape backup or an offsite cloud-based, more secure solution.

What other advice do I have?

If you're looking for something that's going to be easy to use, cost-effective, but also provides a great backup and more importantly, a recovery solution, this is definitely something that you should look at and keep in mind. It's a great product. It works very well and I don't have to worry about if a backup is working or not.

Make sure that you don't undersize things. It's okay to oversize a local storage device. It's easier to come and oversell the opportunity or the option versus underselling it.

I would rate SolarWinds MSP Backup & Recovery a nine out of 10. I'd give it a 10 if we had a little bit better reporting. For the functionality and the feature set within it, I would give it a 10.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller
MB
Director/Principal Consultant at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
Top 5
Good performance, automation, and monitoring capabilities

Pros and Cons

  • "The monitoring makes it very easy to check whether a backup has gone bad."
  • "Integration with a hybrid cloud is something that I found complicated."

What is our primary use case?

We have an RDS farm and we use SolarWinds for backing up the central storage. We also use it to back up the profiles and other related data.

What is most valuable?

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.

What needs improvement?

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.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this backup and recovery solution for between two and three years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Adding another virtual server is very easy to do.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not been in contact with technical support myself.

How was the initial setup?

For us, the initial setup was pretty straightforward. We do not host this solution ourselves. We use a service that is hosted by our provider.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing of SolarWinds seems to be fair compared to the rest of the industry.

What other advice do I have?

For us, this product works well. Our use case is fairly simple and it covers exactly what we need. I recommend using it, especially for an on-premises deployment. My advice for anybody who is implementing this solution is that it might be perfect as a cloud-based solution, but you may need some time to figure it out. I think that it should be just as easy on the cloud as it is on-premises. As a hybrid model, I think that it makes sense.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Jim Timberman
Managing Director at Moser Consulting
Real User
Top 5
Easy to use with good monitoring and alerts, but the reporting should be improved

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution to provide a simple, easy to manage backup solution for our clients

How has it helped my organization?

This solution has allowed us to expand our services offering.

What is most valuable?

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

What needs improvement?

We would like to have better reporting.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using SolarWinds MSP Backup & Recovery for three years.

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution to provide a simple, easy to manage backup solution for our clients

How has it helped my organization?

This solution has allowed us to expand our services offering.

What is most valuable?

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

What needs improvement?

We would like to have better reporting.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using SolarWinds MSP Backup & Recovery for three years.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.