N-able Readies Next Managed Services Platform Version


In addition, the Ottawa, Canada-based MSP platform vendor announced its Velocity Partner Center, a portal offering MSPs access to technical and sales training, certification information and shared best practice ideas from other partners, according to the company.

N-central 6.5 will be available to all partners by mid-August, said Gavin Garbutt, N-able's president and CEO. Among the biggest improvements is a dramatic reduction in the time it takes to set customers up for monitoring and management services, he said.

Previously, it could take MSPs up to two hours per seat in set-up time. Under N-central 6.5, the time is reduced to about 15 minutes per customer because configurations can be quickly propagated to other seats through a wizard-based interface, Garbutt said.

"The notion is to help VARs get more customers on monitoring and remote management in a cost-effective model. It reduces [setup time] by 85 percent," he said. "This is what we have been working towards and have had 40-plus engineers working on. With 6.5, we are delivering a killer app for our partners."

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N-able's Velocity System includes the N-central 6.5 platform, along with the Remote Support Manager desktop tool, Remote Environment Manager configuration tool and N-compass reporting tool.

"[With N-central 6.5], you can update all devices with one change," said Bill Stewart, vice president of marketing at N-able. "Another benefit is you can create standard monitoring rules. In the past, you might have four technicians, each set up monitoring rules a little differently. Now there's a standard set of rules across multiple customers."

The rules can be set up down to an individual desktop too, Garbutt said. For example, if you want one desktop to be able to read MP3s, but not download, "You can get as granular as you want," he said.

At least one MSP said the improved functionality of Version 6.5 meets his expectations.

"The big part for us is the reduction in the amount of time to roll product out to clients with the smart folders and the templates to make it easier to set up," said Joe Mercadante, founder and CEO of JPMercCo., a Westboro, Mass.-based N-able partner. "With a few quick best practices before running auto discovery, it's pretty much flawless now. There were times in the past where it was hit or miss. Now the best practices documentation along with the improvements of the engine itself bring us to the point where the auto discovery is very, very solid. That also lends to rolling the product out more quickly."

In addition, upgrading to 6.5 is a breeze, he said. "Every time they come out with a new major release, the [upgrade] process seems to get a little easier and a little more predictable. From a stability standpoint, it's been fantastic," Mercadante said.

Meanwhile, the Velocity Partner Center portal will help MSPs "stay ahead of the commoditization curve," Garbutt said.

The portal has been in development for eight months and N-able has redone its own training and other processes to better sync with the portal, he said.

"We've built a full community in here to share best practices and form user groups. There's a huge knowledge base in the system. You can put in questions, comments."

The portal will include PowerPoint presentations, case studies, news releases and "customer events in a box," Garbutt said.

"We will set up complete go-to-market strategies. Everything happens on the portal," he said. "If I'm a VAR and done my test, I can see how I scored and we guide you to what you should be selling to customers. If you're not qualified to sell [something], we'll recommend what you should be selling. We'll help you build the full program."