IGEL Intros Huge Upgrade To Endpoint Management Platform, Preps For MSP Push


Software-defined endpoint technology developer IGEL Wednesday opened its IGEL Disrupt conference with the North American introduction of a major release of its endpoint operating system, and said it is preparing a new MSP-focused offering.

The moves are aimed at both simplifying the IGEL endpoint management and connectivity offerings and at expanding the market for its channel partners, said Dan O'Farrell, senior director of product marketing for the San Francisco-based vendor.

IGEL Wednesday introduced IGEL OS 11, the latest update to the company's software-defined endpoint management operating system. IGEL OS can be deployed on any x86-based hardware device into a device for connecting to centralized workloads, either on-premises or in the cloud, O'Farrell told CRN. Tens of thousands of endpoints can be managed by the company's Universal Management Suite, or UMS, he said.

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IGEL is also getting ready to enter the managed services market with its first MSP program, expected to be introduced sometime this year, O'Farrell said.

New to IGEL OS 11 is a significant reduction in the number of SKUs from 19 to three, O'Farrell said.

"Too many SKUs is a common problem," he said. "You add new features or capabilities, maybe for a customer, and next thing you know you have a new SKU."

The three SKUs, expected to start shipping about Feb. 15, were actually made by combining certain capabilities into a single offering, O'Farrell said.

The first SKU, Workspace Edition, will combine all the capabilities needed to create a managed IGEL endpoint, including a multimedia codec pack for good quality audio, video, and graphics; high availability for the UMS server; and a RESTful API management interface to easily exchange reporting information, flags, and so on with other applications.

The second, a software maintenance package, provides updates, upgrades, and mobile licensing on top of the Workspace Edition, O'Farrell said. It also allows license roaming from a pool of endpoint licenses that customers can assign as needed.

The third, the Enterprise Management Pack, allows enterprises and service providers to deploy certain capabilities on a subset of their endpoints, O'Farrell said. These capabilities include a cloud gateway to manage remote users, along with the ability to let users with different requirements use the same endpoint device.

"For example, if a lab professor or students share the same devices, the software can offer them different capabilities," he said.

Looking farther ahead, IGEL plans to take advantage of some capabilities built into IGEL OS 11 to build an offering and a program for MSPs, O'Farrell said.

"We are already architecting the software to be amenable to MSPs," he said. "The changes are not visible yet. But we can add to them easily."

The MSP program, slated to be available sometime this year, comes at the right time for partners, O'Farrell said.

"The maturity, scalability, and robustness of the products is there," he said. "And the cloud is really happening. We've had discussions with cloud service providers for years while waiting for the MSPs to get ready. The ideal way to access cloud-based services is with a light footprint with very little maintenance, and which is scalable. And that's our forte."

IGEL has recently become open to working with MSPs, said Brady Ranum, vice president of product and strategy at Dizzion, a Denver-based MSP and IGEL channel partner.

"We've been having conversations around their licensing model," Ranum told CRN. "We want to see IGEL offer a SPLA (service provider licensing agreement). That would be a great use of our finances. A lot of our customers are in BPO (business process outsourcing), and see a lot of seasonality, like tax preparers. If we get a SPLA from IGEL, that would be great. And IGEL seems open to it."

The fact that IGEL OS 11 licensing is more detached from the device than in the past is a big part of the company's ability to prepare an MSP offering, Ranum said.

IGEL has become one of Dizzion's biggest vendor partners in the year since the two started working together in large part because the technology works well in markets with strict security and governance requirements, Ranum said.

"IGEL has helped us solidify the security and governance wrapper," he said. "We have a big market push with compliance. When we tell customers we can have them up and running and compliant in six to eight weeks, that gets their attention."