Q&A with IGEL Community Member Zachary Sholar, IGEL INSIDER
We recently sat down with IGEL Community member and IGEL INSIDER Zachary Sholar to discuss his experiences working with IGEL's products and solutions.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself, your role in IT, etc. and maybe something fun about you?
I work for a partner company(the oldest IGEL partner in the US. We are where IGEL US started) as a Sr. Consultant and mostly help people with their IGEL implementations and upgrades. I would love to be a cloud consultant focusing on migrations, and to work with some more verticals outside of healthcare, as that has been my primary focus for most of my career. Cybersecurity and DevOps is something that I like to study in my free time(what is that?) I love soccer, and my favorite team is Fiorentina in the Italian Serie A.
How long have you been working with IGEL technologies?
I've been working with IGEL for a little more than four years if you count the year-ish that it took to convince my previous employer to move our thin client OS and management system to IGEL.
Was IGEL your first experience with 'thin clients'?
I was "thrown to the wolves," as it were, when I started at Kindred and given the responsibility of learning and managing our 5k+ fleet of HP thin clients all running different flavors of WES(gross.) Even as a relatively green technician, I saw that HPDM lacked management capabilities, especially around reporting. I wanted to use something Linux based to get away from the dreaded multi-reboot scenario with WES and write filters.
How do you see IGEL solutions compare and contrast to your other experiences?
It took us upwards of 5 minutes to push a single change to a WES device due to the way HPDM processed these, and that time increased as the number of devices went up. With IGEL/UMS, we could switch a device from using our Citrix connectors to using VMware Horizon in seconds. Updates and reimages took an insanely long amount of time with HPDM, and IGEL/UMS took substantially less time with fewer reboots. This meant that our users were spending more time in front of the devices and less time trying to find another that wasn't updating or getting a config change.
How has Covid-19 affected how your company supports its end-users?
I would love to say that our IGEL numbers went up when Covid hit, but sadly we never established enough of a use case for ICG for management to be comfortable sending IGELs into user's homes. If we had time, I believe we would've sent almost all IGELs out, as our VDI was very stable at the time, and we would've had more control over these devices being sent out. We suffered much from agent bloat, something I am sure other companies are well aware of, so our cost to send all those users home with full setups and laptops strong enough to handle the agent bloat was very high.
Was IGEL able to help? If so, how?
Management decided to send fat clients, so we didn't even make it to that step.
Do you see the world moving back to working from an office? If not, do you think it will happen again soon or ever?
I think the world we know now will have lasting impacts on what we continue to see in the future in terms of WFA policies. We are already seeing some tech leaders make announcements saying workers don't ever have to come back in, and I think we will see others follow suit as this continues. Working from anywhere is something(IMHO) that everyone should be offered with all the technology that is readily available to facilitate it. The commute will be a thing of the past, especially for the younger crowd coming into the workforce conditioned to expect BYOD and use a browser or mobile app to do nearly anything. Skilled technical consultants have been doing the work from anywhere thing for years already with great success, so I'm excited to see how it progresses over the next year or so.
What do you feel the most significant challenges relating to working with IGEL have been and where you can work around these issues?
Sometimes, there are many ways to do something, which can be confusing for a new user, but I could always figure something out using my SE or the Community. The support structure was not great at first but seemed to have improved, along with the addition of the Advanced Services group to help with customers that may need more of a helping hand regularly.
What is your favorite aspect of working with IGEL software?
Speed and simplicity on the surface, with a myriad of options and secondary/tertiary ways to do something as you learn how everything works together. It lends itself well to both the tinkerers and "set it and forget it" types.
Can you share your experience as a member of the IGEL Community?
The IGEL Community was my lifeline initially and remains my go-to when I get stumped(it still happens, and I expect it to continue, haha) or want to take a little break and scroll through the channels. I've had a couple of personal learning projects spin up out of doing this.
If you had one wish for IGEL, what would it be?
To overtake HP and Dell!!!
Special thanks to Zachary Sholar for taking the time for this interview. Truly appreciated!