Expanded partnerships, vendor certification program key parts of IGEL 2018 roadmap

Among the changes coming to IGEL’s own hardware and software roadmaps, one of their thin clients about to be refreshed will see a switch from an Intel to an AMD processor.

Matthias Haas, IGEL’s Chief Technology Officer

AUSTIN – Thin client and endpoint management software maker IGEL made public their 2018 technology roadmaps at their inaugural North American DISRUPT conference here. They involved both software and hardware enhancements, as well as upcoming integrations with the vendor partner’s in IGEL’s ecosystem.

IGEL’s vendor partner system is critical to their success. Expanding that system, deepening their integration, and making it all more visible to customers is a key part of their 2018 strategy.

“We have integrations today with over 70 vendor partner products,” said Matthias Haas, IGEL’s Chief Technology Officer. “We are going to introduce an IGEL Ready program, like Citrix and VMware have. It will show the different levels of integration and co-operation with these partners, to provide a guide to our customers about which vendors have strong integrations with us. It will provide, in a documented way, information that they should consider working with such companies.”

New vendors will be added to IGEL partner ranks in 2018. Haas pointed to the success of their partnership with Sennheiser, and indicated that similar relationships can be expected with their principal competitors.

“Some people said, ‘who cares’ when we partnered with Sennheiser,” Haas said. “They said that they are just a headset company, something that you plug it in and it works. But that’s not the case at all. There are many types of configuration things that can go wrong, and if you have anything go wrong here, people will blame the VDI. These kinds of devices are becoming more and more common, because people want to use unified communications more in their virtual environments. So we are also extending partnerships with additional headset vendors – Jabra and Plantronics – to provide their users with the best possible experience, like we do with Sennheiser.”

Another partnership in the works whose significance can be underestimated is with keyboard maker Cherry

“We are very proud of our co-operation with Cherry,” Haas indicated. “Keyboards are the easiest piece to hack into in a system, and if they do, it’s great for a keylogger, because all the data can be easily collected. We have put together an end-to-end encryption with Cherry, with full authentication and authorization.”

IGEL will extend their relationship with Lakeside Software through an important new integration.

“By the end of this quarter, we will have an integration which connects the IGEL OS at the endpoint back to our SysTrack analytics software to detect problems at the edge,” said Mike Schumacher, Lakeside Software’s CEO. “This will really help gain visibility into the ‘last mile,’ those hotel networks and home networks which we have the least visibility into, and which we have traditionally measured all on the VM end. We have embedded the ability to collect that remote data right into the IGEL OS. The telemetry will be delivered to Lakeside’s virtual channel capabilities using the settings that the user already has set. Nothing has to be configured because the two ends will find each other automatically.”

This solution is scheduled to ship at the end of March.

A new IGEL partnership, with PrinterLogic, enables the installation of centrally managed direct print IP servers on IGEL thin client devices, so that print jobs are sent directly from the endpoint device to the printer.

“We are working together with PrinterLogic on this to get rid of print servers,” Haas said.

IGEL will also be providing Cisco VXME 64-bit support in 2018.

“Today, XMS is only 32 bit, but it can run in a 64-bit environment,” Haas said. “We want to run as much 64-bit as possible. Cisco doesn’t provide a virtual channel for 64-bit, but we are working with them on this and expect to have it at some time in 2018

Integrations with Cisco competitors Avaya and Unify are also under investigation, Haas said. Unify, a Siemens company, that was known as Siemens Enterprise Communications before a 2013 rebranding, is not well known in North America, but is strong in Europe.

Haas also indicated some road map developments that are internal to IGEL’s own technology.

“We will be introducing 4K display virtual split capability in our IGEL  OS,” he said. “We are seeing people buying more large 4K units, raising issues how they get all applications in a meaningful layout. We will license this so you can split two physical screens separated into four virtual screens for a better multi-display experience. It will make the lives of the users much easier.”

A significant new hardware enhancement will be the new UD7 thin client, an updating of the UD6 aimed at tasks like CAD and 3D video construction. Of particular significance is that while the UD6 was an Intel-based product, the UD7 will use an AMD processor.

“AMD has been a strong partner of ours, and right now, they are better optimized for us,” said Jed Ayres, IGEL North America’s CEO.

Haas indicated that the switch does not necessarily mean that a broad trend towards AMD processors will be forthcoming as other models are refreshed.

“Historically, there are times when we have been stronger with one or the other of the two manufacturers, and there have been times when we have been fairly balanced between them,” he said. “It depends on their suitability for a particular model.”

The UD7 is scheduled for Q1 availability.

At the other end of the hardware scale, more varieties of IGEL’s UD Pocket, a bootable OS on a USB stick, will also be released in 2018.

“The premise behind UD Pocket was that not everyone is an expert in installing an OS, and for them, it’s much simpler to use a USB stick,” Haas said. “Some people said that this was just junk that no one would want – and then we got our first order for 900 of them right away.”

Haas said that there is demand for additional security features within Pocket, so they will be adding additional authentication capabilities, like fingerprint identification. An additional form factor for USB-C devices is also around the corner.

Other security enhancements on the roadmap for 2010 include getting OS 10 Secure Boot enabled, introduced new snapshot mechanisms based on the Microsoft Windows Imaging [WIM] format, and the introduction of UMS Secure Mode, a new security audit capability that will recommend changes to increase security, create reports on the status quo, and triggers automatic checks on configuration changes and firmware updates.