Introduction to the IGEL Software Platform
Written by: Douglas A. Brown, Global Technology Evangelist at IGEL Technology
By now most of you have heard of or at least seen IGEL all over the EUC world. I’m so happy and proud to say IGEL is one of the most popular and trending solutions and for a good reason, we solve a real problem, and it is how to manage and secure the end-point while saving you money. Is there anything more you want? The best part? It’s all done using software!
In case you are not entirely up to speed on what the IGEL Software solution is, then please follow along as I will take a few minutes to introduce you to it and hopefully you will leave understanding why everyone is talking about IGEL!
The IGEL Software Suite is a platform that consists of three core components, the IGEL OS, Universal Management Suite (UMS) and the optional IGEL Cloud Gateway (ICG). Each component works together to allow you to efficiently manage, deploy, and maintain end-points anywhere, at any time.
The genius behind the IGEL solution is the IGEL client operating system, named the IGEL OS. The IGEL OS is an entirely configurable Linux based client operating system initially designed for use as a thin client but today is so much more. You can connect to not only Citrix, Microsoft, VMware remote apps, and desktops but also all the other players in the market along with giving access to about every type of service you can imagine, all centrally managed.
Today’s world is much different than it was in 1995 when Microsoft developed the Windows desktop. Back then you had Windows apps only whereas today a typical user uses local and remote Windows apps along with a growing number of web-based SaaS applications. IGEL understands this, and with the IGEL OS, you can centrally manage everything through the easy to use management console, most of which is done in real time. Thus, the OS becomes simple to deploy and manage while powerful and straightforward to apply to the user. I like to think of the IGEL OS as a “Modern OS.”
IGEL delivers the IGEL OS in the form of an easily deployed ISO image which is updated centrally in the way of firmware updates. In fact, I recently interviewed one of IGEL’s customers who said after years of updates and configuration changes she never experienced one time when a client was not successful with an update. This is something Windows admins can only dream about.
One of my most favorite parts of the IGEL OS is how IT can define the look and feel. You are not left to use the design the OS vendor delivers but IT can completely customize about every aspect of the interface. Amazing and we even made it simple to do this through a step-by-step configuration guide.
The IGEL OS can run on any x86 machine, with minimal resources. It is installed physically on the device, as like any other operating system, or you can boot it from a USB drive when using the powerful IGEL UD Pocket USB thumb drive solution.
The IGEL OS is delivered in the following versions to allow you the ultimate flexibility in deciding how the user will utilize the OS and how the admin will deploy it. Each flavor is packed with the same operating system. The only difference is how the OS is installed on the device.
- IGEL OS – Universal Desktop Converter (UDC) – The UDC is designed to convert any existing x86 machine to a fully managed, secure end-point running the IGEL OS. However, don’t let the name fool you, the UDC is not like any other device conversion tool as it installs the full version of the IGEL OS. It is the same OS you find on any other IGEL client. The UDC is installed on the device’s local hard drive and overwrites the existing OS. It is a great way to extend the life of your current hardware by adding the power of a fully managed secure end-point, without buying new.The UDC is the version of the IGEL OS you download to install IGEL in a virtual machine environment, which works great for testing and lab scenarios.
- IGEL OS – UD Pocket (UDP) – The IGEL UD Pocket is designed to bring the full power of the IGEL OS to any x86 64-bit device. It allows a user to plug the UD Pocket into a device’s USB port, turn the machine on, boot to the IGEL OS and login to do their work as defined by IT!
The IGEL UD Pocket does NOT interfere with the original OS currently installed on the device. Thus, making it a perfect solution for BYOD and much more. Of course, one of the benefits of the UD Pocket is to temporarily convert a fat client into a secure and managed endpoint device running the IGEL OS and changing it back by merely removing the UD Pocket and rebooting the machine.IGEL OS preinstalled on IGEL Hardware – Pre-installed on best-of-breed IGEL thin-client hardware.
IGEL Universal Management Suite (UMS) Server
The brains behind the genius of the IGEL OS is the IGEL Universal Management Suite server (UMS), and its job is to allow IT to manage all the IGEL OSes and supported operating systems easily. For example, Microsoft Windows Embedded, Windows IoT and even Microsoft Windows with an UMS add-on called Unified Management Agent (UMA).
The UMS allow IT the ability to fully automate the deployment, management, and maintenance of your devices. You can quickly enroll, index, manage and update all endpoints from the in-depth backend system. It is all done in an easy-to-use drag and drop environment with over 7,000 possible configurations. While scripting is not required, it is still possible with firmware customizations or through the IGEL IMI software add-on.
The UMS is scalable! For example, IGEL has a case study customer with over 30,000 devices in over 5,000 global locations. One person manages all this, and they do not even log in to the UMS but once or twice a month. That is what I call scalable!
IGEL does not stop there. I am only touching on the tip of the iceberg. The UMS is also extendible with such technologies as the IGEL Cloud Gateway (ICG), IGEL Management Interface (IMI), and IGEL Unified Management Agent (UMA)) as discussed above.
IGEL Cloud Gateway (ICG) – (Optional)
The IGEL Cloud Gateway (ICG) is an optional component designed to allow the IGEL OS to communicate from anywhere and anytime securely, without the requirement of a VPN. Think of the IGEL OS like you did the Citrix Secure Gateway (CSG) technology. It is that simple and just as powerful. The ICG is NOT required but adds considerable benefits to IT when utilizing remote IGEL OSes. For example, the IGEL UD Pocket.
As you can see, IGEL is not yet another thin client solution but a software solution that easily allows for total flexibility by enabling IT to define what is required and where while doing updates, both to the OS and the user settings/applications centrally and in real time. This is unheard of in the OS world today. Again, this is what I call a “Modern OS”, the future but it is available today!
Need I say more?
Don’t take my word for it, please try it for yourself, and don’t worry, we made that easy for you too. Please download our step-by-step how to install and configure the IGEL OS Software Platform guide, all screenshot-by-screenshot. It will explain everything you need, and in about 30 minutes to an hour you will have everything all up and running. It is that simple! That power of the IGEL Software solution! I love it and you will too!
Thank you for reading and please let me know what you think! I know you will love it as much as I do, and our customers do! As Brian Madden said, “I was amazed by how much the customers truly love the IGEL solution”…