By Al Solorzano, Vice President of End User Computing, Entisys360 (Twitter: @TheAlSolorzano)

My story starts when I was a young whipper snapper working as student at the IT Help Desk at UC Davis in 1998. I was shown Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 TSE running Citrix MetaFrame 1.8 by a fellow student/co-worker. I was not impressed. Who would need this? Only bad IT admins would need to use this. I would never need something like this because I had my MCSE NT 4.0 certification and I had plans on how to manage my desktops and apps. Six months later, I had my first corporate job trying to deploying an updated version of Office plus a slew of updates for Y2K to laptops in 17 offices with minimal bandwidth throughout California. It was actually easier to fly and drive my Case Logic 64 CD case  to some of these remote locations rather than download the updates. Well I have to admit, I must have been a bad admin at that time, because I immediately started looking up a partner to help me setup “that terminal server thing with the company that sounded like fruit”.

Since then, I have had a different perspective about technology.  Technology is not about being cool. Yes, the nerds might love it (or hate it), but you need to solve business issues and look at them from a business perspective.  I saw VMware ESX 1.5 (pre-vMotion) and knew that was a great solution to reduce server costs. Later, I saw NetApp provide the business value combing SAN and NAS technology. Next came Nutanix (and the other HCI solutions like Cisco HyperFlex and HP Simplivity) because their software defined model for simplifying IT administration was a huge benefit to the business. So where is this story going? Your organization needs to see what IGEL is doing because in my opinion they will be the next solution to join this list.

I know… I know. Thin clients? They aren’t sexy. Is this the <sarcasm>”Year of VDI” again </sarcasm>?

Let me tell you that, IGEL is causing DISRUPTion in the thin client market with their software defined model and their growth is being powered by increased usage of VDI by organizations. Read on and let my convince you based on what I saw at the IGEL DISRUPT EUC conference last week in Silicon Valley.

Software Defined Endpoint

IGEL has decided to follow the model of many companies who believe their software is the best and that they just happen to sell some hardware to run on it (e.g. Nutanix). That means the focus of the entire organization and development effort will be to deliver the most secure end point OS that also has the best features and ease of management.  Yes, they will still sell their own hardware but not the license — as it is not tied to the hardware and is purchases separately. With their software licensing model, you can start with the IGEL UD Pocket to leverage your existing PCs, then migrate the license to an IGEL thin client or other IGEL partner (e.g. NVIDIA enabled GPU thin client, or LG All-in-ones).  You may even be able to even leverage the thin client you already own from a competitor (model dependent) and put on the IGEL OS 11 (I’d also suggest you slap on a “Powered by IGEL OS” sticker to show you upgraded the end point). This model allows hardware vendors like NVIDIA or LG to innovate on what they do best while letting IGEL do what they do best – deliver the most secure end point device for corporate use of VDI.

Management

I’ve always stated that management should be the #1 factor when choosing thin clients. Many clients may choose price or a bigger company name that “won’t get them fired”.  It is very common for Entisys360 to come back after the initial project to troubleshoot an issue or to do an upgrade on VDI infrastructure which may require a change or update on thin clients, only to find out the client has never deployed the management console, or it isn’t working correctly (I’m talking to you WDM). IGEL Universal Management Suite (UMS) is easy to deploy, can control all settings and really makes administration simple.

One recent case study from IGEL had 30,000 thin clients over 5,000 locations being maintained by 2 part time admins who logged in no more than once or twice a month – that is some scale. So if you have thin clients that are nightmare to update or haven’t been updated since you deployed, then you have lost whatever savings you thought you were getting when you bought the cheapest thin client.

Diversity of devices

As stated earlier, even though IGEL will continue to sell thin clients, the software defined model will allow other hardware partners to innovate without having to write their own OS and their own management software (which probably wouldn’t be that good anyway).

The Company

People, Product, Passion, Partnership. There are many versions of the 3 Ps (or 4 Ps in this case), but I think this covers it for what I saw at the conference.

They have the right people in place for understanding what clients want. They have the right software defined product that allows them to innovate their OS, develop their own hardware, and allow partnership with vendors who innovate their hardware also. Finally at DISRUPT EUC Silicon Valley, I saw a lot of passion from their clients (many of them Entisys360 clients), IGEL employees and the partners who discussed the great relationships they have with IGEL.

Interesting Partner Updates at DISRUPT

Four additional partnerships that had some interesting updates at IGEL DISRUPT

  • LoginVSI worked with IGEL to deliver Login PI integration (part of the Login VSI Enterprise Edition) – This allow synthetic user tests to run 24×7 from an IGEL OS device without the need for PC/Windows workstations at each location. Imagine being able to simulate a user from each branch office and be proactive in identifying branch related issues without adding more infrastructure to the branch.  https://www.loginvsi.com/partners/technology-partners/igel
  • ControlUp was presenting their latest release, 7.3,  with Linux monitoring, vSAN monitoring and Agent Backward Compatibility to allow connection to older versions of the ControlUp agent allowing for gradual rollouts of new agent versions. https://www.controlup.com/controlup-release-notes/
  • Lakeside’s SysTrack has been a staple of many VDI projects and has worked with IGEL  to develop a virtual channel to see the end points utilization such as CPU performance, system memory, disk usage, peripheral devices, network connectivity and latency on any IGEL OS powered device.  Is this the end to end monitoring we have all been waiting for? I guess you’ll have to call us up to get a demo and see for yourself (I think you are gonna like it if you already use one of these two products.)
  • PrinterLogic was showing off their IGEL integration allowing for centralized management of direct IP printing on IGEL endpoints. No more Windows Print servers! No more trying to make Windows printing HA! No more trying to manage print drivers across the global print server deployments! https://www.printerlogic.com/news-release/printerlogic-and-igel-team-to-provide-end-users-with-streamlined-printer-installation/

Conclusion

I’ve been been consulting and delivering virtual apps and desktops for almost 19 years (I dated myself earlier so you can stop trying to do the math) and I’ve never seen more companies looking to expand or add to the VDI deployments as I have in the past 18 months. Inherit security, centralization of data, enabling remote work forces, globalization, and corporate mergers/acquisitions, are have been use cases for a long time but I think it is finally sinking with everyone trying to use Windows 10 at the edge. Too many updates, and to much infrastructure at the edge to support it.  The reality is edge devices are the hardest to manage and secure, so this is the perfect time to look at the IGEL software defined model for endpoints with the best virtualization partner – Entisys360.

If you have any questions or would to discuss any part of this article further, contact your Entisys360 Account Representative or sales@entisys360.com.