Dell Shuffles Thin-Client Exec Deck As IGEL Comes On Strong

Dell Senior Vice President Steve Lalla, the top executive overseeing the company's Dell Wyse thin-client business, is leaving the organization, CRN has learned.

Jay Parker, formerly president of Dell EMC global compute and networking sales, has been handpicked by Dell Technologies Vice Chairman Jeff Clarke to oversee the Dell cloud client computing solutions group in the wake of the shakeup. Parker will report directly to Clarke.

[Related: 4 Key Points For Partners In Dell EMC's VDI Product Blitz]

Dell confirmed that Lalla is leaving the company to "pursue other opportunities" and reaffirmed its commitment to the thin client channel effort, via a spokesman. Lalla and Parker were unavailable for comment.

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Lalla's exit follows the recent resignation of Dell Vice President John Majeski, who led the cloud client solutions group product team. Majeski's responsibilities included the product development effort for thin-client software, hardware, VDI and data center solutions.

Majeski could not be reached for comment.

Lalla has been leading the thin-client charge at Dell for the last four years after taking the helm from former Wyse CEO Tarkan Maner.

Solution providers, for their part, said Dell has lost ground in the thin-client software race in the wake of an aggressive Linux software offensive from rival IGEL.

Donnie Downs, CEO of Plan B Technologies, Inc., an Annapolis, Md.-based solution provider that was a Wyse Partner of the Year multiple times before Wyse was acquired by Dell, said he expects his IGEL business to be up 250 percent this year.

"We made a conscious shift to IGEL," he said. "With IGEL I feel really confident about the software and the strategy. Dell wants to sell laptops, towers, servers and printers. I don't see the same energy at Dell that IGEL is putting into software. I know I can trust IGEL and the IGEL vision."

Downs said the IGEL story is resonating because of the company's software prowess. "The reason we win with IGEL is because of the software," he said. "It is all about software and ease of use. It is about giving value to a system administrator to push out software and manage an enterprise. The first time I met [IGEL North America CEO] Jed Ayres, all he wanted to talk about was software. There is a paradigm shift of energy, spirit and vision from IGEL. It is new and fresh approach to this business. IGEL Is looking toward 2020."

Plan B Technologies is now even running its own business on the the IGEL Linux software platform, said Downs. "IGEL is one of our strategic partners," he said.

IGEL's software sales in North America for the first six months of this year are up a whopping 890 percent. Ayres – the driving force behind the software charge – has hired a number of former Dell thin-client executives over the last year, including Jeff Thibeault, a 13-year Wyse Dell veteran who joined IGEL as director of inside sales in December, and Alona Kremko,a 14-year Dell Wyse veteran-who joined IGEL as director of inside sales engineering in December.

The biggest IGEL game changer: a secure, 64-bit read-only Linux hardware-agnostic OS that fits on a USB stick. That is saving companies literally millions of dollars in hardware refresh costs as they implement VDI solutions.

Under Ayres, a CRN 2017 Top 25 Disrupter, IGEL is pushing the Linux OS software envelope with plans to position its OS as the basis of an end point security and management offering in the emerging Internet of Things and cloud Desktop-as-a-Service market.

Mike Strohl, CEO of Entisys360, Concord, Calif., one of the top virtualization solution providers in the country, a multi-year Citrix partner of the year, said IGEL has flipped the old VDI model on its head by putting all its muscle into the software market.

"IGEL Is now going after the software business first and offering hardware as an option," said Strohl. "IGEL is bringing a high-level software management solution to the table with partners. That is a much bigger sales motion than VDI. They have decided that they are not going to be just a hardware company. That is the differentiator."

The IGEL market opportunity has increased dramatically with the software focus on end point security and management, said Strohl. "By focusing on an any device software play in a world where BYOD and cloud is becoming more prevalent, IGEL is blurring the lines and creating new markets in security and management in the thin client space," he said.

With the IGEL strategic shift to software, Strohl said Entisys360 is teaming with IGEL on its digital workspace platform and building its IGEL pipeline. "We see them as a strategic partner in 2017, 2018 and beyond," he said.

The Dell Wyse shakeup comes one year after the company's top sales executive, Maryam Alexandrian, resigned. At that time, Dell Wyse laid off an unspecified number of workers as it wound down its vWorkspace virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) software in order to focus resources on VMware's Horizon VDI solution.