Exclusive: IGEL’s Linux OS Pact With HP Is A ‘Secure End Point Game-Changer’

‘We look at this as an opportunity to connect with tens of thousands of HP partners and sell hundreds of thousands of HP devices powered by IGEL annually,” said IGEL CEO Jed Ayres.


IGEL has inked a blockbuster pact with $57 billion PC behemoth HP Inc. that in one fell swoop puts IGEL’s secure endpoint Linux operating system into the hands of tens of thousands of HP resellers worldwide.

HP is now preinstalling the IGEL OS on its top-selling thin client devices, with an eye towards moving it to HP’s mobile thin clients in the future, said IGEL.

IGEL said the pact means HP partners can now get the IGEL OS through HP distributors around the world as an HP SKU on HP t430, t540 and t640 thin clients.

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“This marries the best Linux software for cloud workspaces with the industry’s leading hardware,” said IGEL CEO Jed Ayres in an exclusive interview with CRN. “This is a defining moment in our quest to be the standard operating system for cloud-delivered desktops with our secure Linux-based IGEL OS. This is recognition that we are first and foremost a software company that is setting the pace for what is a once-in-a-generation architectural change as the industry moves to cloud workspaces.”

[Related: IGEL Gets Serious With New Velocity Partner Program]

Ayres expects the deal to accelerate IGEL’s drive to break the $100 million software barrier. “With this deal, we are on our way to $150 million to $200 million in software sales,” he said. “This is massive for us in terms of the traction we can get with HP partners. HP has the best and most loyal channel in the world. We look at this as an opportunity to connect with tens of thousands of HP partners and sell hundreds of thousands of HP devices powered by IGEL annually.”

Ayres said the deal—which includes joint development and validation of the IGEL OS on HP devices—is a broad recognition that the future lies in lighter devices that are secured through a cloud-based workspace model.

“Security and mobility in a post pandemic, hybrid work world is driving a lightning fast, industry-wide shift to cloud workspaces powered by a secure edge-based Linux OS,” said Ayres. “HP is not selling the IGEL license. HP is loading the base IGEL OS image on their devices. We are leaving the 20 percent margin, recurring revenue Linux OS secure end point software sale for partners. One hundred percent of our sales goes through partners. We have deal registration and MDF in a partner program that has been rated as five stars by CRN five years in a row.”

IGEL is in the midst of building a massive new go-to-market model to win over HP resellers, said Ayres. “We are putting incentives and bundles in place to get HP partners on board,” he said. “What makes this deal so special for us is that these HP products are factory loaded and certified with the IGEL OS and are in the HP global price book with distributors carrying inventory that can get quickly into the hands of HP partners,” he said. “In a hardware-constrained world, HP is putting IGEL on tens of thousands of devices and putting them into distribution in Europe and the U.S. This is a validation of the high demand and quality of our integrated solution.”

Mike Strohl, the CEO of Entisys360, No. 135 on the 2021 CRN Solution Provider 500 and one of IGEL’s top partners, said the HP deal firmly establishes IGEL as the secure end point OS standard.

“HP’s decision to put the IGEL OS on its devices takes the IGEL story to another level,” said Strohl. “This is definitely a secure end point game-changer. It’s a whale of a deal that opens up a new creative route to market. It’s IGEL everywhere. It is going to accelerate IGEL adoption and drive more HP secure end point deals. Every one of our customers is looking to be more secure.”

Entisys360’s IGEL sales are growing at a robust double-digit clip, Strohl said.

The call to action for HP partners not familiar with IGEL, said Ayres, is to get ahead of the cloud workspace revolution by joining the IGEL partner program and moving quickly to secure client devices with the IGEL OS. That move to a recurring revenue-based software model with IGEL is already driving 20 percent margins and double-digit revenue growth for IGEL partners, said Ayres.

IGEL is already in a prime position to take the market by storm as the first Linux operating system to deliver validated support for Azure-Virtual-Desktop-powered devices and Windows 365, said Ayres. That is making IGEL the de facto standard for secure, managed Windows 365 Cloud PCs, said Ayres.

“Millions of customers are struggling with the challenge of managing and securing Windows at the end point in a highly distributed work at home world,” said Ayres. “The IGEL OS provides that secure end point solution that so many customers are looking for. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for partners to provide peace of mind to customers looking for a secure end point solution for Windows.”

One IGEL partner recently closed a pact with a large hospital that decided to secure its Windows-based medical devices with the IGEL OS, said Ayres. “The chief security officer literally couldn’t sleep at night because he was worried about ransomware,” he said. “Partners may not know IGEL as a security company but any partner that is building a security practice and helping companies with remote workforces should be partnering with IGEL.”

The constant barrage of cybersecurity attacks on Windows devices is making the IGEL Linux-based OS more attractive to customers anxious to get a leg up on the cybercriminals, said Ayres.

“It’s a matter of when—not if—when it comes to Windows attacks,” he said. “Someone can click on a wrong email or download a wrong file in Windows and if they don’t have the right security in place the attackers can just live there. That’s nearly impossible with the IGEL OS because it is a Linux read-only operating system.”

When the University of Vermont Health Network was brought down last October in a ransomware attack that took down 5,000 computers, it was only the IGEL-based devices that were not impacted, said Ayres. “There are a number of hospitals and large retailers that have also been rescued by IGEL,” he said.

A CEO for a national solution provider, who did not want to be identified, said he sees the IGEL Linux secure end point strategy as more vital than ever given Microsoft’s recent disclosure that the SolarWinds hackers have targeted more than 140 IT resellers and service providers and compromised as many as 14 since May.

“I love the IGEL end point security opportunity to put Linux at the edge to secure the cloud,” said the CEO. “It really reduces the risk at the edge for customers. Working with HP is a huge win for IGEL and partners. Customers are looking for turnkey solutions. The IGEL deal puts a security dial tone right into the HP devices. That’s a great validation of the IGEL strategy.”

IGEL is also looking forward to leveraging HP’s recent acquisition of Teradici, which makes high performance remote computing software solutions that are critical in the midst of the current hybrid work boom, said Ayres.

“Teradici’s software protocol is extremely valuable in government, media and entertainment,” said Ayres. “It provides extraordinary security and high fidelity. We already have that Teradici [PCoIP Ultra] protocol built into our software. This is just another HP connection point with IGEL.”

IGEL is in the midst of building out a vast ecosystem of IGEL Ready partners, said Ayres. He said the IGEL Ready ecosystem of partners—which was formally launched just 15 months ago—already has more than 100 companies enrolled in the program. Among the major players in the program are HP, Lenovo, LG, Nutanix, Citrix, Amazon Web Services and VMware.

The IGEL secure end point Linux OS story is gaining momentum as the company sharpens its focus on software, said Ayres. “We have been building our Linux OS for 20 years with a singular focus on security,” he said. “Life is about timing. If you stay focused and really believe in something, this is the type of result you get. Stay tuned, because we are moving fast to go from 650,000 Linux seats per year to over one million.”

The HP deal puts IGEL on the fast track to hit that one million seat mark, said Ayres. “Our message to partners is we can help them move into the high value, high margin secure end point solutions market for accessing digital workspaces,” he said. “Now is the time for partners to hop on board the IGEL secure end point rocket ship.”