End user computing vendor IGEL is back at VMworld this year, showing off joint IGEL-VMware solutions and customers, and emphasizing that Microsoft’s support of Windows Virtual Desktop, as well as their new collaboration with VMware, are creating massive new opportunities for IGEL and their channel.
Today, as VMworld kicks off in San Francisco, end user computing [EUC] vendor IGEL is in attendance. They believe that the EUC market is accelerating significantly, with Microsoft’s encouragement of Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop [WVD], optimized for Office 365 being a major driver. The move by Microsoft and VMware towards a more collaborative approach this year, rather than the pure rivalry of the past, has also helped. Accordingly, IGEL has a high profile this year at VMworld, and is emphasizing to partners as well as customers that they need to commit to cloud workspace solutions.
IGEL is headquartered in Germany, but has separate North American operations. Over the last several years, the company has evolved from being primarily a thin client Linux-based hardware company to a software-focused one, particularly in North America. While they still make their Linux clients, the software part of the business has grown dramatically, and now exceeds the hardware business in North America, with a 147 per cent year-over-year increase in software sales.
“For the next 5-10 years, we see the hybrid cloud as the future of end user computing, with people having desktops in the cloud,” said Simon Clephan, IGEL’s VP of Business Development and Strategic Alliances. “This is where VMware and Horizon 7 fits in beautifully. We believe that we have a beautiful play with that. We also see MSPs being a big driving force in EUC in the hybrid cloud.”
The impending end-of-life of Windows 7 is the key driver here.
“It forces people to think what to do and to consider all their options, which means re-evaluating cloud workspaces rather than just automatically upgrading to Windows 10,” Clephan said.
Microsoft, with its strong support of their Windows Virtual Desktop, is a key factor in this, and the rapprochement between Microsoft and VMware is leading to collaboration between those two vendors around VMware’s desktop virtualization alternative.
“IGEL’s philosophy is that Windows belongs in the data centre or the cloud – and not on the desktop,” Clephan said. “We see VMware as a major player in enabling that. The Horizon Management plane is something Microsoft is now nuzzling up to. VMware will be supporting Windows Virtual Desktop in the first quarter of 2020. These are exciting times.”
Microsoft supporting the cloud option of WVD – something that was not previously a part of the equation – is the key to all this,
“Microsoft controls the levers, and the levers that drive people to the cloud are licensing and pricing and technology enablement,” Clephan stressed. “Microsoft has the ability to tweak Windows Virtual Desktop because they own the OS. They can tune for the cloud and deliver things that Citrix and VMware couldn’t do – because they don’t control the source code for Windows.”
Clephan pointed to the success of Office 365 is an example of how a vendor can drive customers to a cloud product if it is determined to do so.
“Look at Office 365,” he said. “I think several years ago, if you had forecast how Office 365 would have grown in the cloud, people would have said you were crazy. It’s insecure! Now it’s likely around 80 per cent of that market. The adoption has been incredible because Microsoft tuned the product for the cloud, and used the license pricing to drive people in that direction. We think Microsoft will do the same to drive people to Windows Virtual Desktop. VMware and Citrix are the management planes that make that work. That’s the message that we are stressing at VMworld.
“It won’t happen overnight – but it is real,” Clephan added. “Linux on the endpoint makes more sense than Windows 10 on the endpoint. So having an environment tuned for cloud workspaces on the endpoint makes for very exciting times for IGEL.”
IGEL’s own rapprochement with VMware is also part of the equation. IGEL has a Switzerland approach to dealing with vendors, and has been long time partners with both VMware and Citrix. Last year, IGEL was not at VMworld, however. Because VMware has fingers in many pies, the show is huge and encompasses multiple different areas, and it isn’t segmented into different areas – like End User Computing – which some vendors, including IGEL, would prefer. So last year IGEL did a separate event at a restaurant at the same venue as VMworld, which led to some acrimony with VMware.
“Now everything is back on track.” Clephan said. “We put out a press release about IGEL and VMware being back on the right track. We are a Silver Sponsor at VMworld.” IGEL has a pair of sessions in the Solution Exchange Theater, a hospital customer case study using a joint solution with VMworld, from 1230-130 PT, and a session on EUC best practices on IGEL-VMware deployments, which is August 26, from 4:50 to 5:10 p.m.
“We love VMware and we have many customers who use them,” Clephan said. “To be frank, Citrix is a slightly more important partner, because they are a little more prevalent in health care than VMware, and that market is very important to us. But VMware is also critical for us.”
While VMworld is mainly about customers, IGEL has an important message for the channel around the event.
“The channel needs to get on board with this,” Clephan emphasized. “Everything will move to monthly billing. Desktop will also be monthly billing. The channel won’t be selling big implementations any more. Ongoing revenue won’t be the only revenue, but it will be the main one. We are seeing a lot of new partners who are born in the cloud, who have a bit of an advantage because they think this way.”
IGEL is at booth #1563 at VMworld.