Citrix Synergy interview: Scott Behrens, Strayer University

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Scott Behrens – Strayer University

We’ve been a customer of IGEL and using IGEL products for about the last two years. We out with the desktop converter, and then moved on and started working with their UD3 product, and we started small with a pilot program of about 30 users, and things worked out pretty well for us. We’re in the middle of deploying 1,325 new units across our enterprise after a successful deployment last fall of 720 units. So, by the end of next month, we’ll be up over 2,000 total units in our enterprise.

I spent a lot of time looking at the different products, the different options at other companies that make similar products, also at traditional desktop machines and, because of the dispersed nature of our business, I really wanted to find a product that was reliable, and easy to manage, and reasonably priced, especially for our remote locations where we have limited IT staff, and it fit the product perfectly. It was also very customizable. I was able to deploy a solution on my end users that was exactly what they needed but without security holes or additional attack vectors that were unnecessary, for what they were doing.

So, the IGEL product allows you to customize it and to minimize the amount of services that are available in the end unit, so with a typical Windows machine, there are a lot of services and a lot of processes that are running to keep the machine up that are not necessary for what we’re doing, which is connecting to a virtual desktop infrastructure. And by allowing us to take out the parts of the operating system that weren’t necessary, it allowed us to remove the potential security holes, completely, by just removing those parts of the operating system, and that’s something we really liked.

We were able to take, I believe somewhere in the neighborhood of 3, 000 traditional Windows-based endpoints and convert them into … We were able to downsize a little bit… and also convert them to the IGEL product for probably about 60% to 75% of what would be the cost in replacing them. Our total renovation across our business was going to cost us about $3,000 to do the upgrades that we lined up. And we were able to complete the project for about $1.5. So, normally with traditional VDI implementation, you’re really looking at zero cost savings upfront and operational savings in RLI, as it goes down the road.

So, when we move into a new location, we’re able to deploy the IGEL machines with limited technology expertise and in a very short period of time. What would typically take a week, we can get done in a day with unskilled labor without technology expertise, just by contractors, and, and building contractors deploying machines, plugging them in. We’ve got everything auto-configured so that, as soon as you plug a machine in, it’ll call home, it gets a custom configuration and it’ll be a secure, reliable endpoint. It needs very little support and very little effort from the team that’s rolling them out.

In a lot of our locations, we have limited IT support. We’ve got 75 different locations across the country, and there isn’t an IT support team in each location. So, we’re supporting remotely. Well, it becomes a real problem when there’s a hardware issue, and the IGEL hardware, because there’s few or zero moving parts, is super reliable. We’ve had zero failures with our IGEL devices. There was one time where we thought there was a failure, and there wasn’t. The keyboard wasn’t plugged in properly and outside of that one incident, we’ve literally deployed about 2,000 and had zero hardware issues over the last two years.