Classic image-level backup is an outdated solution for today’s modern MSPs

This traditional backup method captures a copy of a machine’s system state, applications, and any data associated with it in a single image file. IT professionals have relied on server image backup for decades, but it’s not the most efficient way to work, and comes with resource efficiency downsides.

The full-image approach consumes a lot of network bandwidth and storage space by backing up and storing data that isn’t needed—and can take so long to complete that you’re limited to one backup per day. For busy managed services providers (MSPs) with a full roster of clients, this outdated method has real business costs, and can lead to wasted staff time.

N-able Backup offers a more innovative and streamlined approach to backup and recovery

N-able Backup offers a cloud-first data protection service that gives MSPs a smarter and faster way to back up. Instead of processing changes from outside the disk, like an image-based solution, N-able processes changes from inside the disk and only backs up the data you need for full system recovery. This efficiency allows you to back up more often and keep more restore points with the same amount of storage. These features translate to better service for your customers without big investments in storage and network bandwidth upgrades.

Boost efficiency with a solution that’s built to consume less bandwidth and storage

Most image-based software was originally built for local-only processes and is not optimized for transfers to and from the cloud. These larger image backups require dramatically more network bandwidth and time to get backups off-site, often limiting you to one backup per day.

N-able, on the other hand, was built for cloud-first data protection, with smaller, more efficient backups that can be sent to the cloud much more frequently. This means you can offer more restore points and better customer service. Recovery from the N-able cloud is also fast and efficient, but if you need to recover at LAN speed, you can easily do so using the LocalSpeedVault option.

Back up frequently and make the most of your storage

Most image backup requires a serious investment in storage hardware or dedicated backup appliances. As data continues to grow, you’re forced to make hard choices. Buying more and more local storage hardware impacts your profitability, and the alternative is to limit archiving and data retention, which impacts customer service.

Neither option is ideal if you’re looking to scale your MSP business. Incremental backups with N-able are a fraction of the selected size, thanks to proprietary deduplication and compression technology, and cloud storage in 30 data centers worldwide is included in your price. You can also keep an optional local copy on the existing network share of your choice to facilitate faster recovery.

Keep your clients’ data safe and help prevent data loss

Backing up your clients’ data to a data protection service designed for security is critical to building an enterprise-grade disaster recovery plan. N-able Backup was built from the ground up with a cloud-first architecture including end-to-end security. Files are secured in transit and at rest by AES 256-bit encryption protocols, and you can create your own private key. Plus, a copy of your backups can be stored in a secondary location to help you adhere to the classic 3-2-1 data protection model. Limited role-level administrative access provides additional protection, and the 30 cloud storage data centers have certifications including SOC and ISO.

Stop consuming your senior techs’ time babysitting complex backup processes

Many traditional image backup products are complex to manage. Add in the requirement to manage local and third-party cloud storage, and routine backup administration can become too complicated a task to trust to anyone but your most senior technicians.

Yet this isn’t the best application of their time and expertise. For most MSPs, payroll is the biggest expense, and skilled technical staff your most valuable asset. You can make better use of your team’s time and skills by simplifying backup with N-able. Spend less time on checking and remediation with an intuitive multi-tenant dashboard that shows your customers’ devices and data sources at a glance.

Apply your talented staff where their skills matter the most, and boost morale by minimizing the time they have to spend on mundane backup management.

Get More on Image-Based Backup

What is traditional image-based backup?

What is traditional image-based backup?

This is a type of backup process in which server or workstation data, operating systems, configurations, and system states are backed up as a single file, called an image. The primary advantage of this method is that it collects system information in one pass, but that is also its primary disadvantage. This method scoops up a lot of data you don’t really need for full system recovery (such as temporary internet files), and while only changed data is backed up, the image’s outside-in view processes many things as changes that aren’t actually different. Over time, this approach consumes significantly more storage than the method used by N-able Backup, and taking full-image backups off-site requires much more network bandwidth than sending the small, lightweight incremental backups created by N-able.

How is N-able Backup different?

How is N-able Backup different?

N-able offers an innovative, efficient, and easy-to-use alternative. Because N-able Backup was designed for cloud-first data protection, incremental backups are small and lightweight, allowing for faster travel to and from remote cloud storage. Built-in efficiency and advanced filtering options let you back up only what you need, which also reduces the amount of storage required to keep an optional local copy.

However, cloud-first doesn’t have to mean cloud-only. You can quickly perform full system or file- and folder-level recovery, and have the option to recover at LAN speed via the LocalSpeedVault option. N-able also offers enterprise-grade encryption, safe data storage in data centers all over the world, TrueDelta deduplication, automated recovery testing, and much more.

How does the data change rate between backups vary between the image-based approach vs. N-able Backup?

How does the data change rate between backups vary between the image-based approach vs. N-able Backup?

Let’s suppose you have a 500GB production server to protect. Typical image backup products will see a 6% data change rate between backups. That means that incremental backups will average about 30GB. But if you back up that same 500GB server with N-able Backup, the change rate can be as low as 0.1%, creating incremental backups that average only 0.5 GB.

Over time, the impact of this difference is significant. In this scenario, after 60 days, the image backup will require 2,150 GB of storage, while the same number of restore points with N-able will consume just 380 GB of storage.

What is the impact on backup storage requirements?

What is the impact on backup storage requirements?

The data change rate between backups directly affects your storage requirements. If you use a solution with a high change rate, that means you must constantly monitor on-site storage to make sure you don’t run out of space. If you do, you must buy more expensive hardware or drop retention—both less than ideal options for busy MSPs.

With N-able Backup, storage in our remote cloud data centers is included in your price, making local storage optional. No proprietary appliance is required, and you can use an existing network share or the hardware of your choice to keep an optional local copy.

What is the impact on the internet bandwidth required to get incremental backups off-site?

What is the impact on the internet bandwidth required to get incremental backups off-site?

The inefficiency of many image backup products has led to the perception that off-site backup storage isn’t feasible where internet connections are slow. N-able Backup sees change rates differently, meaning incremental backups are smaller and lighter, taking less network bandwidth to back up to and recover from the cloud.

For example, to complete a 30GB image-based incremental backup in an hour or less, you’d need a 68 MBps upload speed. Unfortunately, many of your customers might not have that much bandwidth, limiting the timing and frequency of backups.

When your incremental backups are 60 times smaller, you only need a 1.1 MBps upload speed to complete that same process in the same amount of time. This gives you the freedom to back up whenever you want, even in rural or remote areas.

Image-Based Backup Isn’t Best for MSPs

Image-Based Backup Isn’t Best for MSPs

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Unlock an alternative and improve efficiency

  • Back up more often and retain more restore points with lower data change rates
  • Back up more servers, services, and instances from a single product
  • Free up staff time with fast and efficient processes