SolarWinds Adds Encryption, More Automation To RMM Tool

Mav Turner, group vice president of product for the MSP business at SolarWinds, tells CRN that the new N-Central tool takes some of the things partners were doing on their own with home-grown solutions and makes them part of the package.

SolarWinds launched an update to its RMM tool, N-Central, giving partners deeper network monitoring, increased security and more robust automation capabilities, which one partner called a “good addition” to the company’s product.

Mav Turner, group vice president of product for the MSP business at Austin, Texas-based SolarWinds, told CRN that the new N-Central took some of the things partners were doing on their own with homegrown solutions and made them part of the package.

“A lot of the partners have been struggling with trying to do it on their own in a manual way,” Turner said. “They’re stringing together PowerShell scripts, trying to take advantage of some of the native capabilities in the operating system. So they were doing this on their own in a really complex, cumbersome, hard-to-maintain way.”

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Turner singled out encryption as one area where partners needed help. The N-Central update helps secure customer data by rendering the information on their disk drives unreadable to unauthorized users if their end device is lost or stolen, he said. This feature deploys at scale, and it makes it easy to manage, monitor and report on the encryption status of customer data.

“This should be a good addition,” said Rich Delaney, who runs SolarWinds partner Delaney Computer Services in New York. “From what I understand, they are leveraging some of the legacy or ‘core’ SolarWinds network monitoring apps into the N-Central stuff. They acquired both N-Able and LogicNow and call them both SolarWinds MSP but run the two platforms separately. We have been waiting for the network monitoring piece to be added.”

Network Topology Mapping, which also is new in this release, is dubbed “12.2,” Turner said. It provides MSPs with a visual of their customers’ environments, with the ability to support an in-depth network assessment, plus an “intuitive visual troubleshooting” feature. With that feature, users can check out connectivity issues with just one probe, which SolarWinds said reduces the time spent fixing connectivity issues.

Also new is an automation manager tool that now works with VMware to help with creating objects, taking snapshots, deleting snapshots, and automating the management of a customer’s virtual data center.

“So interacting with the VMware component of your infrastructure and tying that together with other things happening in the data center in order to respond to real-time events is really what we’re talking about,” he said.

As an example, Turner said that if there is a security issue, once it is determined when the issue happened the partner can go back and restore that VM with the automation manager.

“It opens up a lot of use cases in the data center where we can do a lot of really interesting things with VMware,” he said. “That’s the specific enhancement we made to automation manager.”