At our company for the past 2 years now, we've had 90% or so of our employees using Virtual Machines via a VMWare Horizon Implementation. We were using our own implementation of a Windows LTSB Thin Client, VMware and SmartCard Authentication. Let me tell you, it seemed to work great at first but the longer you have something implemented like this it really doesn't seem all that great anymore. I personally created a simple stripped down image with the VMware Client, but I ran into to pesky blue screens. They were infrequent, but quite annoying when you even have one.
It Was Time for A Change
While I had these implemented, I was continously looking for Zero/Thin Client Vendors that could work seamlessly with VMWare and Smartcards. Still to this day, not a single one worked as expected, but IGEL was probably the closest to working. However, due to us migrating from Smartcards to using a SecureAuth MFA solution with Software Tokens & Push to Accept we could finally migrate to a Zero / Thin Client Endpoint. I checked out various vendors including Dell, 10Zig, IGEL, HP and Stratodesk.
We could easily migrate our Current Hardware over to IGEL OS without having to swap out every piece of equipment. This really was a no brainer. Stratodesk allows you to do the same, but the whole suite and ease of use from IGEL doesn't compare. Everyone's situation is going to be different so this worked best for us. IGEL's management of endpoints is very similar to an Active Directory Group Policy methodology which makes the learning curve very small.
I had all my profiles (IGELs version of GPOS), setup and configured within a day. All I have to do now is image all the hardware with a USB stick over to IGEL OS, run a Scan on the IGEL Server and they automatically get imported and configured in about 10 minutes or so with Firmware Updates, and Customizations.
Most things do come down to cost, so for us since we alreaded had the hardware it cost us approximately $35k for 3 years of licensing for 220 endpoints. Also Remember, you could even use other companies thin client hardware if you wanted :).
Most hardware with warranties last 3 years, but since its really just a small 1 - 2GB Linux Footprint, we can extend our hardware out even farther to 5+ years. Once we need additional hardware, I'm not sure which way we will go, but it will either be purchasing $300 - 400 IGEL hardware or something else like a Intel NUC. Our options are open and thats another positive to being aligned with IGEL for our Endpoints.
Now that I'm a customer I have access to the IGEL Community Slack channel. This allows me to talk with other customers and pick their brain for issues or questions I may have about my implementation. This has made my implementation that much smoother since I was getting help within the same day. IGEL Support is also in the Community Chat so they also chime in if needed :)
If Your a Customer, feel free to reach out to me "Nicholas Scheetz" on the IGEL Community slack channel. If your not a customer you can reach out to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org (work email) or email@example.com (personal).
The IGEL Team
I have a huge grattitude and thanks to Mike Meacham of IGEL, our Pre Sales Engineer who made my whole Demo period flawless.
IGEL Website: https://www.igel.com/
IGEL Community: https://www.igelcommunity.com
Sebastian Estades (Regional IGEL Sales): Estades@igel.com