Red Hat and IGEL: Secure, High-Performance Provisioning of Virtual Desktops

IGEL Technology, the world’s leading provider of Linux-based thin clients, has now further expanded its existing collaboration with Red Hat. Effective immediately, all Linux-based thin client solutions available from IGEL can also be used as customized end-user devices for accessing virtual desktops provisioned by means of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops. As a result, both companies together now offer a high-performance, open source solution for accessing Windows or Linux-based virtual desktops.

With the support of IGEL’s newly developed Appliance Mode for Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops, system administrators can offer their users fast, secure and direct access to virtual desktops. A device running in Appliance Mode, comes up with the VDI log-on screen within just a few seconds after the unit has been powered on. This approach simplifies and accelerates the log-on process dramatically.

The IGEL Appliance Mode for Red Hat can be configured optional. In some usage scenarios IGEL thin clients also require parallel access to centralized applications in other IT infrastructures, such as IBM mainframes, Windows Remote Desktop Services or cloud services, which can be directly accessed via the integrated Firefox web browser.

An open source Hypervisor

One main advantage of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops is the hypervisor utilizing the open source kernel-based virtual machine virtualization (KVM) technology together with the Red Hat Enterprise Linux kernel. This open source virtualization solution is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which has demonstrated its quality in many years of enterprise deployment and is well known for its high scalability, security and performance.

High Performance with SPICE

Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops allows even highly demanding application workloads to be virtualized. For instance, among others, it supports the new server chipsets in the Intel Xeon 7500 and 5600 series and the AMD Opteron 6000 series, thus achieving optimized consolidation and virtual machine performance. The open source protocol SPICE, also supported by IGEL, allows the transfer of this high quality user experience down to the client. “Espescially for multimedia content, SPICE offers high-quality and an enhanced  user experience by optimally utilizing the graphics performance available on thin clients without the need of local video codecs.” explains Florian Spatz, Product Marketing Manager at IGEL Technology. “In order to detect multimedia content and transmit it in an optimized manner to the thin client, the protocol emulates a complete graphics card. In this respect, SPICE is superior to the protocols already established on the market.”

Customized Security

Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops utilizes SELinux, which was developed in cooperation with the United States Department of Defense and the National Security Agency (NSA) along with companies such as IBM, HP and MITRE. SELinux provides critical isolation between virtual or individual machines and the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Hypervisor. This offers an exceptional level of security to enterprises. In line with this philosophy, IGEL also offers numerous standard and optional security functions such as support for external and internal (on-board) smartcard readers, protocol encryption and integrated VPN clients. Additionally the IGEL thin client management is certificate-based and encrypted.

Soft Migration

Consistent with the cost-efficient solution offered by Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops, also IGEL’s Universal Desktop Converter (UDC) includes both a SPICE client and the IGEL Universal Management Suite (UMS). IGEL’s UDC software allows older, legacy PCs, notebooks and dedicated thin clients from other manufacturers to be converted into remotely manageable IGEL thin clients. By utilizing the UDC companies can prolong their desktop lifecycles and at the same time gain most of the advantages of a thin client infrastructure. As soon as the converted devices suffer age-related hardware failures, they can be easily replaced by a real IGEL thin client. Within minutes, the new device will be automatically configured over the network and with this immediately ready for use.

“With its industry-leading expertise in Linux-based thin clients, IGEL has proven to be a valuable partner for us,” explains Aram Kananov, the Cloud & Virtualization Product Marketing Manager at Red Hat GmbH. “IGEL Universal Desktop products running Linux superbly fit our own approach to providing solutions and augment it. In fact, we quite often use IGEL Universal Desktops as demonstration devices at several of our customer events.”

“Our partnership with Red Hat truly demonstrates the great strengths of the open source movement – security, cost-effectiveness and a strong focus on answering real world business challanges,” notes Florian Spatz, Product Marketing Manager at IGEL Technology. “With Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops, we are pleased to be able to offer our customers an attractive solution that allows the secure, efficient and performant provisioning of virtual desktops.”