Identify and Manage Print Server Deficiencies

Print management and print server management aren’t one and the same, although it’s surprising how many organizations tend to assume that the two are inextricably linked. Print management is about administering your organization’s entire print environment—installing printers, deploying drivers, overseeing printing activity and queues, and so forth.

Print server management, on the other hand, is a time-consuming subset of print management that primarily involves trying to keep a print server up and running or reliably performing its basic functions. The reason print server management is so resource intensive is because print servers have a number of deficiencies that actually complicate the broader process of print management.

But how can you identify and deal with those deficiencies? Here are some clues.

Slow printing and downtime: In distributed print environments with a centralized infrastructure, slow printing can be a telltale sign of a print server deficiency. What happens is that the WAN link, so crucial to print functionality, is overtaxed. Because all print jobs first need to travel to the central print server (via the WAN) then back to the local printer (again via the WAN), this can create a chokepoint during periods of heavy printing and Internet usage.

The first sign of slow printing will be frustrated end users! Some of those end users might suffer in silence, but it’s more likely that they will call the service desk to report the problem, which often results in the support team wasting time fielding calls instead of dealing with the root cause. Although stopgap solutions like WAN accelerators might help speed up network traffic, they won’t address this underlying deficiency of print servers—nor can they prevent the organization-wide printing downtime that results when the central print server crashes.

Driver conflicts: If you’ve ever encountered driver issues, especially with regard to 32- and 64-bit incompatibilities, you’ve come across yet another print server deficiency. One of the headaches of print server management is dealing with different versions of the same driver and ensuring that they aren’t mistakenly deployed to incompatible clients when new printers are installed.

These driver issues are a perfect example of print server management adding extra hassle to print management in general. Over the years print servers have tried to avoid this confusion and put additional compatibility safeguards in place, but the fact remains that different driver versions and print servers rarely play well together.

Print-related service desk calls: Regular print-related calls to the service desk are a sure sign of a print server deficiency—although which deficiency in particular can be hard to pin down. It could be because an end user is unable to locate a printer or is having trouble installing one. Or it could be due to one of the many routine print server management problems: stuck print jobs, improperly deployed printers or drivers, hangs, you name it.

The easiest way to eliminate these print server deficiencies is to eliminate print servers outright. PrinterLogic makes that possible. Our tried-and-tested software solution removes the persistent, time-consuming problem (and cost) of print server management and gives you straightforward, streamlined print management for your entire organization with incredible features like enterprise-wide print administration from a single pane of glass, effortless printer and driver deployment, self-service installation for end users, and tons more. Why struggle with print server management when you can simply have print management instead?

Print Tracking Software from PrinterLogic

Posted by Devin Anderson

We’re living in the age of Big Data. While that data helps us make more informed decisions and deliver targeted solutions to longstanding problems, it’s not without its problems.

To begin with, there’s the matter of its acquisition: How do you gather the most comprehensive, useful data in the first place—and in a manner that doesn’t inconvenience the individual user? And then there’s making sense of all that information: Once the data is collected, how can you organize and present in a way that has value?

Print tracking is one method of collecting essential information about your organization. Tracking printer usage can help you determine if consumables (e.g., paper, toner) are being squandered in various branches or departments, which printers are approaching the end of their lifespan, or identify the end users that are placing the heaviest demands on their local printers. By extension, print tracking can help you allocate resources accordingly and even shave significant costs off your IT budget.

Without the right printer tracking software, however, any attempt to track printer usage might not be very fruitful. Why? Because a lot of what claims to be printer tracking software falls short on one or both of the counts mentioned above: Either it doesn’t offer enterprise-wide, unobtrusive data collection or it fails to process and present that data in a comprehensible way. Partial or unclear print tracking data is just as bad as no data at all.

Bearing those two typical shortcomings in mind, PrinterLogic’s printer tracking software was designed to be comprehensive and above all useful, providing you with strong, reliable, coherent data on which to base the kinds of cost- and resource-saving decisions that can have a profound effect on your print environment as well as your organization as a whole.

PrinterLogic’s printer tracking software is available in the form of its Print Job Auditing module. This module integrates seamlessly with your existing print environment to give intuitive macro- and micro-level views onto printing activity and costs. Some of its data points to track printer usage of both network and USB printers include:

  • Date and time print jobs were executed
  • Name, job title, manager, department and computer of initiating user
  • Print job details such as color or grayscale printing, duplexing and document name

PrinterLogic’s printer tracking software generates intuitive reports from these print tracking data points. You can even have these reports automatically emailed to department or branch managers on a regular basis to encourage efficiency initiatives.

And with access to these print tracking data points, you can also link the costs of printing in your organization to real-world usage. By arranging the resulting statistics according to timeframe, department, user or printer, you’ll be able to identify:

  • Your organization’s top 10, 100 or 500 printer users
  • The names of documents printed on a particular printer at a specified time
  • The terminals or users that frequently initiate large or color print jobs
  • How many pages any given printer is outputting over weekly, monthly or quarterly periods

By using PrinterLogic’s Print Auditing module to track printer usage across your organization and create understandable reports, printing activity and costs like these are no longer mysteries—they’re facts you can act on.

Managing Your Print Environment Across Multiple Locations

If your organization has multiple locations and relies on print servers, the chances are good that your printing environment resembles one of two scenarios:

  1. A centralized print server at the main location that services all branch locations.
  2. Local print servers at each of the branch locations.

The first printing environment makes it a bit easier to manage printing because all print functionality is consolidated and routed through the central print server—which is generally close to where the primary IT management team is based. But it also introduces several vulnerabilities, chief among them being the WAN connection.

With a centralized print server, any print jobs initiated at remote branches have to first travel across the WAN to the central print server, then back across the WAN to the local printer. If this WAN link fails for any reason during that round trip, so does that print job. Even during day-to-day printing, the overtaxed WAN link can result in sluggish print jobs. The centralized server also introduces a single point of failure throughout the entire printing environment. When that print server goes down, the whole enterprise print environment does too. That can be addressed in part through redundancy, but redundancy is expensive and comes with its own management headaches.

In the second type of printing environment, the vulnerabilities are fewer, but it’s no longer as easy to manage printing across the enterprise. In fact, it’s downright difficult. That’s because having discrete print servers at each location creates fragmentation. This in turn reduces the transparency of the company-wide printing environment and multiplies the burden on the technical and support staff. Instead of dealing with the maintenance and management of a single printing environment, they now have to deal with what are effectively several micro-environments, each with its own distinct needs.

To manage printing in any kind of distributed printing environment without the drawbacks of a centralized print server or multi-site servers, there’s PrinterLogic. Our on-premise print management solution delivers unprecedented flexibility while giving you greater control over your whole printing environment.

How exactly? Well, for starters, PrinterLogic allows you to manage printing anywhere in your organization from a single pane of glass. Using our intuitive web-based administration panel, you can easily deploy printers and drivers to end users in remote sites from a central console in the main location – manually or automatically, all without group policy objects (GPOs) or scripts. From this same console you can also alter printer settings, remove printers, and edit driver profiles. It doesn’t matter if your headquarters is in Tulsa and the remote site is in Saskatchewan. It’s straightforward and consistent to manage printing with PrinterLogic.

PrinterLogic makes it easier on your support staff too. By providing an accessible self-service portal for end users, our next-gen print management solution allows them to easily identify and install nearby printers on their own. There’s no need for them to call the service desk, because now printers can be installed with a single click in any printing environment. There’s even an option to upload floorplan maps to make it easier for them to visually locate their desired printers. This feature is incredibly useful for roaming employees who travel between headquarters and remote sites.

There’s no doubt that multiple locations present several hurdles when you’re looking to manage printing across distributed printing environments. But PrinterLogic’s enterprise printing solution allows you to sail over those hurdles with incredible ease.

Don’t Suffer Printing Downtime Because of 32- and 64-bit Driver Confusion

Ever since the widespread migration from 32- to 64-bit platforms began—and with it the migration from 32-bit printer drivers to 64-bit printer drivers—there have been lingering compatibility problems. In most areas, incompatibility between 32- and 64-bit architectures has gradually resolved itself as 64-bit solutions have become available and 32-bit environments have been phased out over time. When it comes to printing, however, there are still many organizations who continue to struggle with the inability to use 32-bit printer drivers on 64-bit computers and vice versa.

The hard and fast rule is that 64-bit printer drivers cannot be used on 32-bit systems, and 32-bit printer drivers cannot be used on 64-bit platforms. Simple enough. But when you have a mixed 32-/64-bit environment and 32-bit and 64-bit printer drivers existing side by side, that can be a recipe for confusion. Even though newer print server platforms have responded to longstanding complaints about driver conflicts by offering improved driver support, there are continued problems with, for example, 32-bit printer drivers accidentally being deployed to 64-bit clients. This can cause printing downtime for individual end users, who then have to call the service desk to sort things out.

And because print servers have never been very robust in terms of driver management, these issues are more than just isolated individual cases. When two different versions of the same driver (meaning the 64-bit printer driver version and the 32-bit one) are forced to coexist in a single print environment, it can lead to conflicts that cause widespread downtime on account of print spooler issues, which also have 32- and 64-bit versions.

End users who can’t print as a result of server downtime are rarely happy end users. They also have very little sympathy when your service desk technician explains the intricacies behind trying to use a 32-bit printer driver on a 64-bit computer.

Thanks to its powerful driver management, PrinterLogic enables your organization to avoid printing downtime (and unhappy end users) by avoiding conflicts between 32-bit printer drivers and 64-bit printer drivers – not to mention more general driver conflicts between printer models, manufacturers and operating systems. Its central repository provides you with a single destination to upload new drivers, update existing ones and disable or delete those no longer in use. Even in virtual environments like Citrix and VMware. From here you can deploy drivers to clients enterprise wide, selectively or en masse. This simple but granular administration allows you to reliably associate 32-bit and 64-bit printer drivers with their respective client devices and platforms, so there’s never a risk of driver incompatibility and downtime.

Along with its incredible driver management, PrinterLogic’s management console allows you to customize profiles in a detailed way. With a few simple clicks you can configure driver settings such as DPI, duplexing, paper size, paper tray and color or black-and-white printing for individual end users or entire client pools. What’s more, you can leverage PrinterLogic’s universal driver support to ensure broad compatibility in heterogeneous environments that use a mix of operating systems and architectures.

PrinterLogic’s flexible yet robust print management solution removes the uncertainty and confusion from print environments that continue to maintain 64- and 32-bit printer drivers alongside one another. In doing so, it ensures the high availability of printing services across the enterprise. That won’t just make your end users happy. It will delight your service desk team too.

Increase Efficiency While Decreasing Enterprise Print Management Costs

Posted by Andrew Miller

Traditionally, enterprise print management has been both expensive and resource-intensive. This generally stems from the use of print servers, which have been the default enterprise printing solution for many organizations across the world. Although print servers are typically deployed to accommodate large, disparate, or growing print environments, they can actually reduce the efficiency of enterprise printing—while simultaneously requiring ongoing costs of maintenance, operation, upgrade and replacement.

How exactly do print servers reduce enterprise printing efficiency? Here are just a few common ways:

  • Poor driver management
  • Cumbersome printer deployment through group policy objects (GPOs) and scripts
  • Lack of convenient centralized administration
  • Little emphasis on ease of use (for admins or end users)
  • Increased vulnerability through single points of failure

PrinterLogic is an enterprise printing solution that addresses all of these shortcomings and many more, resulting in more efficient enterprise printing in any kind of environment: large or small, conventional or virtual, consolidated or distributed. That in turn leads to reduced enterprise print management costs both in the short- and long-term.

Let’s take printer installation as an example. In most cases, end users who need to have a printer installed will have to call the service desk for assistance. Maybe it’s because the end user is unable to locate the correct device from the available printers. Maybe it’s because the desired printer hasn’t actually been deployed to the end user because of some GPO or scripting issue. Maybe it’s because the end user isn’t authorized to perform the installation process or is confused by the steps involved. Whatever the reason, this means the end user has to take time out of his or her workday to call the service desk, and the service desk technician has to spend time troubleshooting or conducting a walkthrough over the phone. Now multiply the frustration, inconvenience and lost productivity of this scenario by all the printer installations that take place each day in enterprise printing.

PrinterLogic’s solution to this is a ubiquitous self-service portal that allows end users to easily locate, identify and install printers themselves with just one click. This way, the end user can perform a routine printer installation him- or herself in seconds. This saves both the end user and the service desk technician from having to waste time on the phone. That equates to more efficient enterprise print management and uninterrupted productivity, two factors that directly impact an organization’s bottom line.

And that’s just one demonstration of how PrinterLogic streamlines enterprise printing to cut down the costs of enterprise print management. Some others include:

  • Reduced WAN load: PrinterLogic establishes direct IP connections between endpoint devices and local printers. This avoids sending print-related traffic across the WAN, which speeds up enterprise printing and frees up bandwidth for all the other vital network-reliant services.
  • Increased reliability: With PrinterLogic, enterprise printing continues even in the event of a WAN outage or a host server failure. Unlike print servers, it’s also robust toward driver conflicts, so you don’t suffer downtime because of 32- and 64-bit driver confusion.
  • Centralized administration: Enterprise print management is practically effortless with PrinterLogic’s consistent, easy-to-use web-based management console.

PrinterLogic doesn’t make increased efficiency and decreased enterprise print management costs an either/or proposition. Your organization gets to experience both through a single enterprise printing solution.

Print Infrastructure Optimization

Posted by Devin Anderson

After dealing with print servers as their default print management solution for far too long, more and more organizations are turning to print infrastructure optimization to cut ongoing costs, reduce their IT footprint, streamline their print environment and make print management more efficient. It’s a step that many mid- and large-scale organizations might have found too daunting or even impossible to take in the not-too-distant past. But forward-thinking print management solutions like PrinterLogic are making the transition easy and fast, so organizations like yours can start enjoying the benefits of print infrastructure optimization right away.

Currently, the major focus of print infrastructure optimization rests on eliminating print servers. It’s not hard to see why. Finicky, unreliable, and ultimately costly to maintain, print servers are a stopgap solution to print environment expansion that somehow became a permanent fixture of many IT backbones. Far from simplifying enterprise print management, they actually increase the demands on administration because of their inherent lack of robustness, their vulnerability to driver conflicts, their limitations to deployment and management, their inability to meet the demands of the modern mobile workplace, and their disregard for the end user.

These classic print server deficiencies are the areas where PrinterLogic shines. And, in line with the aims of print infrastructure optimization, PrinterLogic accomplishes far more with a smaller footprint.

PrinterLogic optimizes your print infrastructure in the following ways:

  • Centralized administration: Manage printers and their drivers from a single consistent web-based console from anywhere in the organization. Deploy new or existing printers to targeted users or groups without resorting to group policy objects (GPOs) or scripts. Make real-time changes to assignments or default printing options with just a click. This consolidation of control is key to true print infrastructure optimization.
  • Support for mobile, BYOD, guest and secure printing: Success for any enterprise lies in adapting to the rapid pace of consumer and corporate technology. PrinterLogic allows your print environment to remain nimble and secure—even in diverse, globally distributed organizations—through its Mobile Printing and Pull Printing modules. Not only are both of these features easy to implement and configure, your end users will find them simple and intuitive.
  • Incredible ease and speed of deployment: PrinterLogic was designed for smooth, speedy roll-outs in a wide variety of print environments. And our customers will attest to this: In an independent survey, more than 97% of respondents rated PrinterLogic’s ease and speed of deployment as “great” or better. Large, complex organizations have reported PrinterLogic deployments that took one business day. This enables you to begin recouping return on investment (ROI) through cost and resource savings almost immediately.
  • End user empowerment: Through its self-service installation portal, PrinterLogic empowers your end users with the ability to identify and install their own printers with a single click – no matter where in the organization they happen to be. Optional floorplan maps make it even easier for them to locate printers visually. This saves time and has been shown to drastically reduce the burden on IT, making it one of the clearest and most useful day-to-day benefits of print infrastructure optimization.

By eliminating print servers while introducing increased functionality and ease of use into your print environment, PrinterLogic’s powerful print management solution puts print infrastructure optimization within reach of any organization, regardless of size, industry, or existing IT requirements.

Virtual Printing and PrinterLogic

Virtual desktops and published applications from Citrix and VMware are becoming more attractive as they have been proven to be resilient and provide an attractive solution for organizations, especially for organizations that prefer the use of a zero client/thin client architecture or simply need a viable solution to support numerous locations. But how does printing work for these solutions?

With Citrix, you have a solution that can provide a consistent computing environment and published applications, but this adds another layer of difficulty in printing. Because the actual computing environment is typically located in a data center and not on premises, finding and deploying printers with Citrix can become difficult.

There are two ways to solve the problem with PrinterLogic depending on how you setup Citrix.

  • Auto-created printers
  • Session printers

Depending on how you are configured determines how to use PrinterLogic to simplify the process of printer deployment. Let’s start with auto-created printers. Simply install (or deploy) the PrinterLogic client on the end-user workstation. You will be able to deploy printers automatically through the workstation which will get recreated through the Citrix policy of auto-creating printers. Now all the workstation printers will get replicated inside of the session and use a Citrix Universal Printer Driver.

With this method, print jobs are created with the Citrix Universal Printer Driver on the session in the data center. Then uses ICA to encrypt and compress the print job which is sent to the workstation of the user. Then the print job is printed via direct IP to the specified printer. This gives users both the capability of finding and installing their own printers through the self-service installation portal to print from Citrix or use the ones that are already installed.

The second method is to install the PrinterLogic client right in the Citrix session. The client automatically gathers information about the end-user workstation from the Citrix session and uses that information to install the appropriate printers. The end-user installs the printer from the session, not the workstation, or the printers are automatically deployed based on deployment rules defined for the workstation, not the session. The advantage of this method is you do not have to use the Citrix universal driver and the session, not the workstation, sends the print job directly to the printer via direct IP printing.

VMware Horizon View is similar to using Citrix and offers the same virtual desktop and published applications.Here are two methods of managing printers on VMware Horizon View:

  • Using ThinPrint AutoConnect: Printer Installer works in harmony with this feature.
  • Replacing ThinPrint location-based printing: Printer Installer replaces this feature and solves the problems associated with managing endpoint device printer drivers, pre-configuring printer device settings, and more.

Using ThinPrint AutoConnect, printers are installed with deployment rules or the self-service installation portal on the device. ThinPrint then replicates the printers in the VM session and uses a virtual printer driver called “TP Output Gateway”. Print jobs are redirected to the endpoint device and rendered and then rendered to the printer.

The second method replaces ThinPrint location-based printing by managing the drivers right on the VM session. Now drivers are installed right in the session and printing direct IP printing done directly from the datacenter. Because the Printer Installer client reads the appropriate registry settings in the session, it understands the location of the physical endpoint (including thin clients) and can install the appropriate printers or guide the user in the self-service installation portal.

As you can see, PrinterLogic is able to make managing printers in your virtual environments a lot easier and stress free, plus it offers so much more. PrinterLogic offers a solution that eliminates the need for print servers while providing a way to centrally managing and install Direct IP printers. With PrinterLogic’s print management solution, you can seamlessly convert your existing Microsoft or Novell print server environment over to Direct IP and manage all of the printers and drivers from a central administrator console that can be accessed from any computer on your network. Not only will you be able to manage your printers, you will also have numerous print job audit reports at your fingertips. To find out more about our solution, visit us at for a demo and a free trial and see if it’s the right fit for you.