SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- IGEL, provider of the next-gen edge OS for cloud workspaces, today announced that Futura Title & Escrow Corporation, the largest independent group of its kind in the Pacific Northwest of America, has standardized on IGEL's next-gen edge OS-powered endpoints for its companywide desktop solution. This is making it faster and easier for the IT team to customize, manage and update hundreds of devices across 69 branch office locations as part of its Citrix Workspace virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) environment.
Serving 61 counties throughout Idaho and Oregon and parts of Montana, Washington and Wyoming, the Futura Title family of companies specializes in a complete range of commercial and residential title and escrow services. Its brands - Alliance Title & Escrow Corporation and AmeriTitle, Inc. - support customers, including first time home buyers, local builders as well as large commercial developers, with all their property and land purchasing requirements and related insurance needs.
Michael Greear, Futura Title & Escrow Corporation's IT systems engineer, says, "The promise of thin clients has always centered on lower cost devices and easier management. The reality for me has been rather different once you put large outlays of equipment into the field. It's been a big challenge to keep everything updated and, for us, it was no different with our previous solution."
Futura was initially using thin client terminals from a competitor which it had purchased in 2014. The management of them across so many office locations and with over 600 staff caused a huge problem, exacerbated by low bandwidth connections given the choice of ISPs in the region is limited. Futura struggled to deliver firmware and patch updates efficiently to keep its desktops up-to-date and secure and could not easily customize the endpoints as it wanted.
Greear says, "The running of the infrastructure was a headache. Citrix Workspace was baked into the thin client hardware. So, with firmware updates, it could affect one thing while fixing another. Indeed, updates would often break the thin client unit itself such that staff could waste a whole day while we 'overnighted' a new unit to them. We had so many service desk tickets being issued that the thin clients were getting a bad name and many people were unhappy. It came to the point where the success and reputation of our IT department was at stake. We had to change!"
Looking outside the USA for a solution
Futura initially considered looking at other well-known thin client brands but discounted them as it was felt that one set of management problems would be swapped for another. Greear says, "I stopped looking within the U.S. and thought there must be something out there in the world that could help us. I Googled and found IGEL who is No. 1 in Europe. Its OS is impressive, so we got the software into the lab to do a thorough and extended proof of concept which involved testing it on PCs, SATA DOM devices and overwriting our existing terminals and converting them into IGEL powered endpoints."
Based on the success of this, Futura is in the process of rolling out IGEL OS across the whole business in a staged migration converting existing thin client hardware per office. Much of this has already been done. In addition, IGEL UD3 endpoints have been purchased for some staff where additional processing power is required such as the running of multi-layered GIS mapping applications.
IGEL has solved the substantial issues that Futura had:
Customization of devices has been realized given IGEL OS provides 7,000 configuration settings beyond the easy to use defaults. This has been crucially important. For example, the IGEL system has been set to allow hourly paid employees to fill in their timesheets prior to them logging into VDI and waiting for it to load. This means they get paid accurately rather than losing a few minutes at the beginning of each day while VDI starts – so that timesheets can be accessed first - which was how the old solution was architected. Self-evidently, this change has been hugely popular with staff.
In addition, Futura can decide on which Citrix Workspace version goes on an endpoint based on the given application. Greear says, "I love the way that IGEL says we're not going to make you put a module in if you don't want to. We're going to give you three different versions of Workspace in every single OS rollout we do. So, you can roll back or ahead as much as you want. It's brilliant!"
Furthermore, rather than use DropBox or email, IGEL offers fast native USB redirection so that staff locally can use USB storage devices to share and import sensitive client documentation which then quickly appears in a Citrix session. With the previous solution this was impossible.
Security is enhanced. The FireFox web browser has security patches constantly provided and the IGEL OS Kernel is up to date. Again, this is in contrast to the previous thin client solution where older versions were in use, thereby presenting the business with an unnecessary security risk.
Roll out works over low bandwidth and the endpoints are not 'glitchy'.
Management of endpoints via the IGEL Universal Management Suite (UMS) is easy and quick for the Futura team to learn as it is similar to Microsoft Active Directory GPO management.
A reliable platform for the future
Moving forward, Futura is looking at how it might utilize the IGEL Cloud Gateway feature to allow people to work from home and provide access to the corporate environment without using a router and VPN connection. Furthermore, it is reviewing how it might integrate its Cisco unified comms solution within the IGEL environment.
Greear says, "The thing that makes me happiest with the IGEL project is that people use the new system and they don't see and notice it. They can get their work done efficiently and aren't held back by the technology. IGEL has been a real asset to me. It just works and has been better than we thought. The helpdesk isn't plagued with tickets and we just don't have desktop equipment frustrations anymore."
Jed Ayres, IGEL's CEO, says, "IGEL OS is a powerful operating system which gives clients real granular control of their desktop environments and therefore piece of mind. And, in the case of Futura, one can see how x86-based devices – even from competitive vendors – can be converted so that management is simplified and money saved on actual hardware as existing equipment can be repurposed not thrown away."
About IGEL IGEL provides the next-gen edge OS for cloud workspaces. The company's world-leading software products include IGEL OS™, IGEL UD Pocket™ (UDP) and IGEL Universal Management Suite™ (UMS). These solutions comprise a more secure, manageable and cost-effective endpoint management and control platform across nearly any x86 device. Easily acquired via just two feature-rich software offerings, — Workspace Edition and Enterprise Management Pack — IGEL software presents outstanding value per investment. Additionally, IGEL's German engineered endpoint solutions deliver the industry's best hardware warranty (5 years), software maintenance (3 years after end of life) and management functionality. IGEL enables enterprises to save vast amounts of money by extending the useful life of their existing endpoint devices while precisely controlling all devices running IGEL OS from a single dashboard interface. IGEL has offices worldwide and is represented by partners in over 50 countries. For more information on IGEL, visit www.igel.com.