by Fredrik Brattstig @virtualbrat

The world is changing, the way users consume desktops is changing. Many of these changes was initiated or accelerated by a rough pandemic, that is looking to be coming to an end. Yay!
The way we work changed dramatically over a night, well, at least a few weeks in the start of 2020. I #believe that it will not change back over a few weeks now when countries are starting to go back to the normal, that we call the new-normal.

We, by “we” I mean people in IT, needs to provide services that are easy to consume, easy to onboard, easy to use as a daily companion. This blogpost will focus on “easy to onboard”, though the result product is easy to consume and use.
We need to adopt the need of the user, and we need to understand what the user knows. Well, what does the user know and even understand? Does the user know a DNS name? What about a URL?

Most of the keywords in the image above means nothing to a user, a user might be a nurse, clerk, economist, manager or a sales rep. Anything that you can imagine that is not within IT.
Lets put it in perspective, as I know most of the readers of my blog is from the IT industry, Would you know the meaning of (For me that are not native English, I find them difficult at least):
Synchronous diaphragmatic flutter
Gorilla (not the animal)
Triple Witching
What can we trust the user to knows/remember? Lets use the same picture, but reduce some of the stranger things.. to a user…

Yepp, this is what you can assume that the user knows. Will they really know MFA? probably not, but their phone will beep when they are asked for it.

Today I watched a conversation between IGEL CEO Jed Ayres and Microsoft’s Scott Manchester ( where Scott shared that since starting up the development of Windows 365, the day of release was the first day he met the complete team for the first time in person. That made me think, during the course of taking Windows 365 from 0 to market, there must have been a few new hires, was their onboarding always without hurdles? (This is just assumptions from my side, but I think you get the picture)

There are ways now to provision a user desktop, basically by filling out a form, that will provision a new user in the company, it will spin up a desktop in a VDI like scenario (Citrix/Windows365/Azure Virtual Desktop/VMware Horizon/Teradici/Nutanix and so on) and make everything ready for the user to start being productive from day one. Imagine that you can ship a endpoint (the users device) from the factory to the front door in the home of the user, without anyone touching the endpoint – not making any staging of the endpoint – not doing anything to prepare the device for first use.
How log will it take for a users device, from unpackaging the device at home, until being productive, even when using state of the art VDI solutions? Registering the device, Application distribution (install that applications needed to access the could workspace the company is offering). I bet it is problematic to do this in less than 10 minutes? 0 -> work for a user that know nothing about IT. Can you do it in 30 minutes? 1 hour? How long does it even take if the device is shipped and plugged in to the on-premises corporate?

A small group of people at IGEL has been working on a internal project to see what we could do about this, how can this be done in the simplest way ever for a user anywhere in the world in a home office/remote location? We have had the internal project name Fast365. Yes, it sounds very microsoft’ish, but it can be adopted to any solution supported by IGEL OS.
I’m going to show you a prototype, it might be a vision of the future to come allowing you to onboard you users in the simplest way possible, the only requirement for the user is: email address, password (and MFA?)

Let us have a look at how this could be done, and what the user experience could be:

Fast365 onboarding a IGEL OS endpoint – Azure Virtual Desktop / Windows 365

What did we just see? Let me guide you through the video, play it while reading! We saw a IGEL OS endpoint, shipped from a factory to a remote user, the user connected the cables (for a laptop, that’s only the power cord right). Press the power button…
1. No physical network detected, illuminating the network control for easy access to connect to Wi-Fi.
2. The User is asked the enter his/her email address
3. The endpoint reaches out to a cloud service, where you as the company’s IT-admin has predefined a onboarding policy – what will happen when a new user are enrolling a device. At this stage, there would certainly be a asking to authenticate and validate that your user are allowed to add a endpoint. For this demo we made it even easier!
4. The endpoint reaches out and registers itself at a IGEL Cloud Gateway based on the email address the user provided.
5. The endpoint automatically downloads a configuration that you have predefined based on the company’s preferences and apply the settings, without user intervention, even without a reboot.
6. The Azure Virtual Desktop/Windows 365 client auto-launches, It remembers the email address from the previous registration screen (optional), the user enters the password and off we go.! Session Established!

IT TOOK THE USER 1 MINUTE AND 46 SECONDS!! From nothing to productive!
Entering email ONCE and password ONCE! And I didn’t even try to do it as fast as possible..
Positive side effect, the endpoint is now fully managed and under the corporate control. The videos below will show you that what happens after the onboarding is just a configuration item.

Could it be simpler to onboard a new user, that never sat their foot in the corporate office, got their laptop (read ANY endpoint) delivered straight from factory.
This is how the future of onboarding should look like!

What if!? you could go to that local electronics shop, get the cheap laptop from the shelf, with IGEL OS preinstalled, boot, enter your credentials and your up and running. Or, you are on that business trip, lost your cheap laptop that didn’t have any corporate data on it, lucky you! Get a new one, power on and you are productive again. Enrolling a new remote office? Send the devices straight from factory to the remote location, have anyone to do the onboarding. There are loads of situations where this is useful!

The beauty of cloud workspaces (or VDI) is that the desktops and data is tucked away safe in the data center, be it in the cloud or somewhere else doesn’t matter. What the user needs is a simple endpoint that connects to the cloud workspace (may it so be on-premises).

Here are a few alternatives of how it could look, when using Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops or VMware Horizon as examples, to prove that it can be used for any scenario. (I did cut away the boot sequence, to save you some time 🙂 )

Fast365 onboarding a IGEL OS endpoint – Citrix Backend

Fast365 onboarding a IGEL OS endpoint – VMware Horizon Backend

Now you have seen a tech preview of what might be around the corner for IGEL OS. As you can see, it is already possible to do, but needs to be “productified”. Easy consumption at it’s best! Ha, we even have some other cards up our sleeves, to make it even easier to onboard a device and user- more on that on later blogs, spin your imagination wheel, move over to IGEL for your EDGE endpoints, and stay tuned!

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