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Igel Looks Beyond VDI, Joins DaaS Fray with Cloud Workspace

Igel aims to "Disrupt" the DaaS market.

Jeffrey Schwartz

January 28, 2019

4 Min Read
Cloud Desktop
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Igel, the virtual desktop software and hardware provider, is seeking growth beyond its VDI roots by jumping into the adjacent desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) market with a new cloud workspace, facilitated by its updated thin-client OS and help from Teradici and Nvidia.

The company, which sells exclusively through partners, launched the cloud-based Igel Workspace Edition last week during its Disrupt conference in Munich. The new DaaS offering consists of the company’s Linux-based Igel OS, which powers its thin client hardware portfolio. Alternatively, Igel Workspace enables any x86 system to function as a managed endpoint.

Igel’s DaaS entry will let the company’s existing partners – and potentially new ones – provide more flexible, secure endpoint-management solutions by allowing them to transfer licenses to any x86-based system. The new Igel OS 11, also released at last week’s conference, is available with new subscription-based licensing.

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Igel’s Simon Clephan

“The DaaS market has the potential to essentially replace traditional PCs because the networks are getting stronger and we’re seeing more people looking to outsource capital expenditures by paying monthly fees for their PCs,” said Simon Clephan, Igel’s VP of business development and strategic alliances. “They also want to use DaaS to reduce the requirement of managing all the infrastructure.”

In addition to more portable client licensing, Igel’s new partnership with Teradici will now let partners mix and match endpoint connections to any combination of the three major public clouds and on-premises infrastructure. Igel OS 11 supports Teradici’s Cloud Access software, allowing partners to host workspace images in Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, as well as virtual infrastructure based on VMware’s ESXi and KVM

Cloud Access is a commercial version of Teradici’s PC-over-IP (PCoIP), a secure HD virtual display protocol, similar to HDX incorporated in Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (formerly XenApp and XenDesktop), Blast used in VMware Horizon and Microsoft’s RemoteFX, among others. The embedded distribution of PCPoIP is an underlying protocol for AWS DaaS service, Amazon WorkSpaces. The new Igel Workspace can now work as a client for Amazon Workspaces with Teradici’s Cloud Access.

Igel’s addition of the DaaS solution is a noteworthy shift for the company. Igel thin clients have historically run on virtual desktop and application infrastructure provided by Citrix, VMware, Parallels and Ericom.

“It broadens the number of platforms or options that an Igel customer has with that same client endpoint,” said Ziad Lammam, Teradici’s VP of product management. “Now they can connect to any public cloud using our products and software, or they can connect to Amazon WorkSpaces.”

Nevertheless, the launch of Igel Workspace Edition also puts the company in the crosshairs of its longtime alliance partners that provide VDI infrastructure, which also have recently begun offering cloud workspaces — notably Citrix and VMware. The two companies have their own cloud-based DaaS services, Citrix Worskpace app and VMware Workspace ONE. Meanwhile, Microsoft is setting to roll out its own Azure-based Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) service.

While acknowledging the potential overlap, Clephan emphasized all three are strategic partners.

“There will always be customers who want to go with Citrix and VMware because they’re more comfortable with [them]. It’s worked very well for them,” he said.

Later in the year, Igel Workspace will offer support for …

… GPU processing, based on current collaboration work with Nvidia to enable Windows workspaces to run streaming analytics, AI and high-speed graphics rendering. Clephan told Channel Futures that Igel is working with NVIDIA’s Jetson 64-bit ARM-based boards.

“It’s an enterprise-ready solution and we have ported the IGEL OS over to that platform,” he said

Igel’s move into the cloud workspace arena in 2019, comes following a banner year for the Bremen, Germany-based company, which last week signaled that its 2016 expansion into the North America’s end-user computing market is paying off. Since bringing in Jed Ayres from AppSense (now Ivanti) to lead Igel’s North American business, revenues have soared, Igel claims. Double-digit growth in North America helped it post sales above $100 million last year, the company said.

“We’ve been remarkably profitable over the past year — more than we anticipated,” Clephan said. “That has enabled us to hire really good people, expand product development, marketing and grow our channel support teams.”

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About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.

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