I’m at IGEL Disrupt 2019 - Here’s what IGEL has been up to

IGEL OS has had lots of updates, and showcased partnerships with Teradici, Login VSI, and LG; plus they’re working with NVIDIA on an ARM thin client.

It’s been two years since Gabe wrote the prescient headline “IGEL seems poised to make some big changes.” We’ve been keeping up with the IGEL team since then, and today I’m down at IGEL Disrupt 2019 in Silicon Valley.

After talking about IoT a lot for several years, in a recent interview with CRN, IGEL Global CMO and North America CEO Jed Ayres teased news of a partnership with NVIDIA, to put IGEL OS on an NVIDIA ARM-64 chipset, with the announcement set to happen at IGEL Disrupt.

I’ll update this article when that happens (along with any other news from the show), but for now, let’s look at the rest of the recent IGEL news and some of the context behind everything.

(Updated with notes on the rest of the show; February 7, 2019.)

Recent IGEL Disrupt news

While I don’t have anything firm on the NVIDIA news yet, the IGEL team did reach out with one piece of embargoed news prior to the show.

IGEL and Login VSI are partnering to deliver Login PI (their brilliant monitoring product) via IGEL OS. I assume that means that you’ll be able to use this as the Launcher component of Login PI; I’ll be talking to the Login team today so I’ll find out for sure, and see if there are any other new capabilities. Update: Yes, this is the case—you can use IGEL UMS to deploy the launcher to any endpoint running IGEL OS.

IGEL Disrupt Munich was a just a few weeks ago, and we reported on several of the announcements in the Friday Notebook:

  • IGEL OS 11 came out, and one of the key points was simplifying licensing to move from a hardware-style model to a software licensing model. Licenses can now roam and be managed from the cloud.
  • IGEL announced that their revenue was now over $100 million, with software unit sales up 79% in US and 50% globally. Back in May, IGEL told me that their fastest growing segment was their Linux Converter software and UD Pocket.
  • IGEL thin clients now support the Teradici PCoIP software client for Linux.
  • They announced a new partnership for IGEL OS to support a few LG thin client models, too.

Bigger picture

What else has happened Since Jed Ayers, Simon Clephan, Doug Brown, and most recently Simon Townsend joined IGEL?

In 2018, they got a boost when IDC recognized them as moving up to the number three position in the thin client market in the U.S. (up from seventh a few years prior). IDC also acknowledged that while their rankings are just for hardware, IGEL is selling a lot more software, too.

Overall, their efforts to reposition themselves as a software company seem to be going well.

At one point they were talking a lot about unified endpoint management a lot, and they do indeed have an MDM server product for iOS and a Windows management agent, but that’s definitely not their focus. And this is a good thing—that market clearly has enough going on.

Instead, IGEL OS is where all the attention is. As evidenced by their growth, plenty of people seem to be installing it all over the place for thin client use cases (including both new and old non-IGEL hardware). Now, it sounds like the integrations and licensing updates are going to make it all the more attractive.

Also according to that CRN piece, IGEL will be launching a big managed service provider and system integrator program at IGEL Disrupt today.

Now, how about IoT?

As mentioned, they’ve been talking this up a ton for over two years. One interesting use case is that customers could install IGEL OS (which is based on Linux) on devices that previously ran Windows 7 Embedded, as a way to get more life out of them. The NVIDIA partnership means that IGEL OS is coming to ARM for the first time, which undoubtedly brings more opportunities, as well.

Overall, as Kyle wrote back in November, it seems like there’s could be quite a market for Linux for IoT use cases, but IGEL will be going up against the likes of Microsoft and Intel on this.

The key will be partnerships that can actually bring it to the right customers in compelling use cases, so we’ll see what NVIDIA and other partners have to say at IGEL Disrupt.

Check back for an update—I’ll try to take notes as the keynote happens (at 9:00 AM Pacific today) and post an update as soon as possible.

What I saw at the show

Morning keynote

The morning keynote was a mix of content that focused on the history and past milestones of IGEL (they got started in an attic in Germany); the successes of 2018 (as noted above); and ambitions for the future (getting to 1 million licenses).

One cool thing they do is have a professional storyteller present interstitial segments throughout the day. I’d heard that these were good, and they are. (The skateboarders that opened the keynote were maybe just a tiny bit over the top, but you can’t deny that IGEL has really defined its brand identity in the last few years.)

The product emphasis for the morning was on the new “Workspace Edition” bundle, which goes live on February 15. This comprises IGEL OS 11, the UMS management server, devices, and support. In devices, IGEL recently hired a VP to handle OEM relationships; and in support, IGEL is launching new 24x7 options.

IoT hasn’t come up much yet, but with IGEL’s 2018 growth numbers, they clearly have enough to concentrate on for now. So while I came to the show with IoT as my biggest question, now that’s been tempered a bit—there are plenty of other interesting things to look at. In particular, I’m looking forward to the roadmap session this afternoon.

What else I saw

Later in the morning “talk show” session, we learned more about the NVIDIA partnership and plans: IGEL and NVIDIA are working on a thin client based on the NVIDIA Jetson platform. Apparently, these things will be super fast thanks to their GPUs.

In talking to attendees and vendors, I heard nothing but praise for the way that IGEL works with partners and customers. IGEL is super-dedicated to the IGEL OS software, and it shows. From all the anecdotes I heard, they’re quick to build integrations with other products, and responsive to customer requests. When you combine this with their enthusiastic marketing energy, it’s clear why they’re generating so much buzz. For one, I’m excited to see what IGEL does with OEM partnerships.

I wish I could have spent more time at the show—there were at least a dozen desktop virtualization-related breakout sessions from independent speakers, and plenty of familiar faces. My feedback would be to schedule the sessions so the attendees could get to more of them, but overall it was a well put together show.

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