Microsoft Taps Igel to Develop First Linux Thin Client for WVD

Igel will bring its Linux thin client software to the Windows cloud DaaS.

Jeffrey Schwartz

November 8, 2019

3 Min Read
ed Ayres, Scott Manchester on Ignite stage

(Pictured above: Igel’s Jed Ayres, left, and Microsoft’s Scott Manchester, right, on stage at Ignite.)

Microsoft is teaming with Igel to enable Linux thin-client native support for the new Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) service that went live in Azure just over a month ago.

The new Linux client support, set to roll out next year, is among several enhancements planned for WVD in the works that Microsoft revealed during this week’s annual Ignite conference in Orlando, Florida.  Microsoft also announced that WVD, the new cloud-based desktop-as-a-service (DaaS), will work with Azure Stack, the on-premises appliances that provide Azure cloud capability.

Also coming to WVD is a MSIX app attach, which will provide improved performance and reduced storage when running virtual applications such as Office ProPlus by enabling partners and customers to mount application or user profiles dynamically.

Microsoft has lofty expectations for WVD because it provides a virtual multi-user Windows workspace from any client that’s included in most enterprise and commercial Windows 10 license agreements. “Being able to run a full Windows 10 experience in a multi-user environment is literally the holy grail for virtualization admins,” Scott Manchester, Microsoft’s group program manager for WVD and remote desktop services told attendees at Ignite. “We’re seeing amazing adoption of it with all the different operating systems we support.”

Igel, which sells exclusively through channel partners, has built a rapidly growing business with its Linux-based thin client software called Igel OS, designed to work either on the company’s own small form-factor devices or on older PCs. The thin-client Linux support planned for WVD is significant in that it will appeal to those who seek to use less expensive hardware to use Microsoft’s new DaaS service. “Igel is our first go to market partner for Linux-based thin clients for Windows Virtual Desktop,” Manchester said.

Manchester said Microsoft also will soon release a full SDK for other hardware partners that also want to offer Linux thin-client support. “Thin client support in Igel is something that our customers have been requesting for some time,” he said.

Igel inked the partnership with Microsoft back in May to deliver the Igel OS Linux thin client software and its hardware to work with WVD. While Igel is among a wide ecosystem of Microsoft partners that are supporting WVD, including Citrix, Cloud Jumper, Ivanti, Liquidware, Lakeside Software, Nerdio, PrinterLogic, ThinPrint and VMware, among others, Microsoft this week emphasized its work with Igel. Jed Ayres, Igel’s CEO, was the only technology ecosystem partner to join Manchester on stage during the WVD road map session at Ignite.

“We think it’s a historic moment here on this stage, not only to be talking more about what you’re doing and the investments you’re making, but….

…also to be prioritizing on Linux operating system to connect the WVD,” Ayres told Manchester.

To enable the Linux support, Microsoft is extending  its Windows Remote Desktop Services (RDS) into RD Core, the protocol now used in WVD. “We are the first release of the RD core protocol with support for Linux,” Simon Clephan, Igel’s vice president of alliances and business development told Channel Futures.

“Some people don’t want to repurpose Windows to run a Windows virtual desktop,” said Jason Smith marketing vice president at Liquidware, a Microsoft WVD and Igel partner that provides monitoring, application layering and profiling software for virtual desktop and application environments. “But those that are that can embrace Linux, repurpose old hardware and run Linux, there’s a pretty good fit there with Igel.”

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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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