Print Management as a Service

Even on good days, print management can be one of the most challenging tasks in the IT wheelhouse. As a matter of fact, print management is one of the only responsibilities that overlaps with so many other components of the IT environment. Printers have to be associated with the right users and client machines. The correct drivers have to be installed, tested and updated. The print servers need to be properly networked and integrated with all the other enterprise-wide software solutions.

That’s a lot of moving parts for one IT team to maintain. No wonder cloud printing starts to sound so appealing after a while. It promises to simplify some of this complexity and limit both the costs and footprint of an organization’s print infrastructure.

What many organizations overlook is that cloud printing isn’t always synonymous with cloud-based print management. Cloud printing functionality simply means that some or all of your printing is handled by a cloud-based solution. By contrast, true print management is about being able to deploy, install, administer and remove printers across the entire organization—ideally with ease. Given the current limitations of many cloud printing solutions, the idea of transferring the backbone of your existing print environment to a cloud-based print management model is far too ambitious.

PrinterLogic SaaS (formerly PrinterCloud) changes all that. It takes the strengths of our on-premise print management solution and transfers its power and ease to a print management as a service model, providing your organization with enterprise-grade cloud printing alongside incredible cloud-based print management. With PrinterLogic SaaS, not only does every client and printer in your organization gain cloud printing functionality, you can also manage those printers from a single pane of glass.

What exactly makes PrinterLogic SaaS’s print management as a service so unique? For starters, it gives you the ability to deploy printers reliably and accurately to individual users as well as whole groups of users—all without having to rely on cumbersome group policy objects (GPOs) or custom scripts. Yet it offers full support for Active Directory, so you can dynamically and automatically deliver printers to users based on a number of criteria, including MAC and IP addresses. You can also implement PrinterLogic SaaS’s highly acclaimed self-service installation portal, which empowers end users with the ability to identify and install nearby printers themselves with a single click.

PrinterLogic SaaS additionally provides secure printing functionality, outstanding print queue management, SNMP monitoring and even built-in print auditing features that allow you to pinpoint high consumables usage make informed printer consolidation decisions. These are cloud-based print management features that simply have no equivalent on the vast majority of on-premise print management solutions.

And when it comes to the fundamentals of cloud printing, PrinterLogic SaaS is second to none. By establishing direct IP connections between clients and printers, it ensures that printing for all your users is fast, consistent and dependable. PrinterLogic SaaS is right at home in virtual environments like VMware and Citrix as well. Just like PrinterLogic’s proven on-premise enterprise solution, it integrates seamlessly with these virtual solutions, providing you with high-availability cloud printing along with unprecedented ease of printer and driver management.

If the transition to print management as a service seems daunting, you might have been jaded by too many unforgiving years of traditional approaches to print management. Moving to PrinterLogic SaaS is a cinch. You can use its handy migration tool to smoothly and quickly transfer all of your organization’s printers, drivers and profiles from your print servers right into PrinterLogic SaaS. It’s possible that you could be enjoying the benefits of cloud printing and cloud-based print management within hours. Demo it for free for 30 days and see how transformative cloud-based print management can be.

The Hottest Enterprise Print Trends

Posted by Andrew Miller

All of the hottest technology seems to be bursting forth in the consumer sphere. VR, AR, IoT, wearables, autonomous driving—the sci-fi world that the ’50s and ’60s promised us is finally here (sans hydrogen-powered flying cars, unfortunately). Meanwhile, enterprise print management is still just plodding along with yesterday’s tech. Right?

Actually, there’s a quiet revolution taking place among enterprise printing solutions. No, it’s not quite as futuristic as talking to your watch, but it’s important for a number of reasons: less hassle, increased productivity, greater security and reduced costs, to name just a few. Print servers and all their attendant costs and headaches are becoming a thing of the past. A new kind of infrastructure is taking their place—and with a fraction of their physical footprint. Few companies understand that better than PrinterLogic, which has helped spark that quiet revolution in enterprise printing solutions.

Let’s take a look at some of these cutting-edge enterprise print management trends.

1. Secure printing: Printing is an analogue technology in a digital world. It remains susceptible to the same potential breaches of privacy that have existed ever since, well, the first words were written. Centuries later, security is as important as ever, which is why an increasing number of organizations are looking to their enterprise print management software to safeguard documents from falling into the wrong hands.

PrinterLogic’s Secure Printing functionality integrates with your existing printers and allows end users to initiate a print job and then wait until they are physically present at the printer to execute, or release, it. They can do this by swiping a badge or card, logging into the LCD panel on the printer itself, or by using any device with a browser to access PrinterLogic’s web-based app. By virtue of its convenience, it ensures that end users are more likely to make use of Secure Printing.

2. BYOD, guest and mobile printing: To most observers, enterprise print management hasn’t kept pace with the advent of mobile computing. We beg to differ. While it’s true that some enterprise printing solutions provide half-baked functionality that allows some mobile devices to print (usually by installing extra apps for a particular platform), PrinterLogic’s Mobile Printing feature enables any mobile device to print to any authorized printer. No dedicated drivers. No proprietary apps. No special printers.

For in-house mobile users, all they have to do is tap the “Share” button on their device, select the PrinterLogic printer, and then print their document. This same platform allows to BYOD and guest users to print to authorized printers using proven email-to-print technology—making printing on- or off-network as easy as sending an email.

3. Cloud printing: The cloud has become the default location for many of our documents, our collaborative editing software, and even our operating systems. With more organizations seeking to minimize their infrastructure footprint and gain the competitive advantage of web-based “anywhere” computing, it makes sense that enterprise print management software would follow suit. But cloud-based enterprise printing solutions have some serious caveats, including their reliance on a WAN connection that could be interrupted at any time.

PrinterLogic SaaS (formerly PrinterCloud) neatly avoids that issue by leveraging the same direct IP printing model that has made our on-premise enterprise print management software such a sought-after way to eliminate print servers. Instead of using the WAN for each print job, PrinterLogic SaaS uses the WAN to establish direct client-to-printer connections that don’t require WAN access beyond the initial handshake. If the WAN goes down, users can continue printing as usual with no loss of functionality—just as with our standard enterprise printing solution. Plus it benefits from the same incredible ease of management.

It’s okay to look at consumer tech with a little envy. But, as I’ve outlined above, there are some exciting trends in enterprise print management taking place as we speak, and PrinterLogic is at the forefront of all of them.

Eliminate Your Windows 2008 / 2012 R2 Print Management Headaches

Print servers have had a good run. They’ve enabled billions of documents to be printed and functioned as the primary print infrastructure for hundreds of thousands of organizations. They’ve even brought some nice perks to print management, such as driver repositories and automated deployments. So, thanks, print servers.

Looking at the bigger picture, though, print servers haven’t exactly been headache-free. Window Server 2008 print management left a lot to be desired, and Windows Server 2012 R2 print management didn’t get much better. Sure, there were some improvements to how printer drivers were handled, but driver isolation wasn’t a panacea. The print spooler still isn’t the most robust part of a print environment, and print-server-based environments are still intrinsically vulnerable to the same single points of failure.

Server 2012 R2 print management also didn’t magically get rid of the need for scripts and group policy objects (GPOs) when deploying printers. Many organizations are still forced to rely on these imperfect and finicky methods to deliver printers to end users, and end users who want to install their own printers typically have to wade through convoluted device trees to map their devices. Support staff still need elevated rights to get printers in the hands of users who can’t install their own devices. “Ghost” printers and drivers continue to haunt print environments when the removal process isn’t successful. Snap-ins and additional third-party print management solutions are still needed for enhanced functionality. And the list goes on.

So how do you eliminate these headaches once and for all? How do you address the shortcomings of Windows Server 2008 print management without simply replacing it with the shortcomings of Windows Server 2012 R2 print management? In short, how can you eliminate print servers while gaining functionality beyond what print servers can provide?

At one time, eliminating print servers might have seemed like a pipe dream, but PrinterLogic has made it a possibility. Not only that, it’s a value-added possibility because PrinterLogic’s next-generation enterprise print management solution introduces a level of oversight and manageability that is simply unattainable with print servers. That’s because PrinterLogic combines direct IP printing with an intuitive web-based management console, so you get the stability of direct IP connections—difficult with Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2012 R2 print management—with the incredible ease of centralized administration. With PrinterLogic, you can change the settings for individual printers or an entire fleet from a single pane of glass.

PrinterLogic’s unique approach to print management means that you never have to mess with GPOs or scripts again. It integrates easily and seamlessly with Active Directory (AD), allowing you to deliver specific printers to specific users based on a number of criteria, including container, computer, group, organizational unit (OU) and more. Automatically and dynamically.

Furthermore, PrinterLogic empowers your end users with a self-service portal to make routine printer installations easier and more straightforward than ever. This portal allows them to identify and install nearby printers with a single click. One of the biggest headaches that continues with Server 2012 R2 print management is end users having to call the service desk when new installations need to be carried out (or when they go wrong). PrinterLogic’s self-service installation portal all but eliminates those calls because end users are able to help themselves—making them, in essence, your allies in print management, not your adversaries.

In addition to our on-premises solution, which replaces all your print servers with a single server running PrinterLogic’s next-gen print management software, we now offer a cloud-based solution called PrinterCloud. Both of our solutions enable you to eliminate the headache of Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2012 R2 print management with a far smaller—or even zero—local footprint. Yet your organization’s print environment gains enterprise-level features, stability and availability. That’s why it’s finally time to put your print servers out to pasture and experience PrinterLogic’s improved print management paradigm.

Solving the Cloud Printing Puzzle

All of IT is a puzzle. Regardless of whether you’re working with software or hardware, you have to make sure that each piece fits snugly within its larger environment, ultimately forming a single seamlessly interlocking whole.

That’s not always easy to do, of course, and least of all where enterprise printing and print management are concerned. For years print servers have been the de facto standard in print infrastructure, but nowadays they are quickly being superseded by cloud-based printing solutions. Cloud printing provides organizations with a way to enjoy the benefits of a full-featured print environment without the tangle of onsite hardware that has traditionally served as its backbone.

But cloud printing presents a puzzle of its own. Theoretically, migrating to a cloud print service should be just a matter of unplugging your existing enterprise printing solution and swapping in one of the growing number of cloud-based printing solutions. In practical terms, however, it takes a lot of legwork to make that migration happen, and in the end many organizations are likely to find themselves spending as much time managing their cloud printing environment as they did their physical printing environment. That’s because cloud printing and cloud print management are often treated as if they’re separate components, and so migrating to cloud printing comes with the additional challenge of shoehorning that solution into your print and IT environments.

At PrinterLogic, we’ve always seen them as two sides of the same coin. You can’t have effortlessly reliable printing without effortlessly reliable print management. So when we designed PrinterLogic SaaS (formerly PrinterCloud), our next-generation cloud printing solution, we knew that it should retain the same powerful administrative features as our on-premise print management software. These are features that give you the ability to:

  • set up precisely targeted deployments without the need for group policy objects (GPOs) or scripts
  • configure default printer and profile settings quickly and easily
  • create dynamic and automatic printer deployments based on location and active directory (AD) criteria
  • manage print queues effortlessly
  • make changes to printer names and other common settings on the fly with instant effect across the print environment
  • monitor the cloud printing environment to conduct data-driven print audit analyses

With PrinterLogic SaaS, end users also have the ability to identify and install nearby printers themselves using the convenient self-service portal and optional floorplan maps. This is a perfect example of how better cloud print management results in a superior cloud printing experience. Because users don’t need to waste time calling the service desk or hunting through labyrinthine lists of printers for mapping, they can start printing out their documents sooner rather than later.

And unlike other cloud-based printing solutions, the transition to PrinterLogic SaaS is remarkably easy and smooth. There’s no special hardware to purchase or hoops to jump through. All you need to do is use the handy migration tool to import all the printers, drivers and settings from your existing print servers. That’s it—an almost imperceptible transition and you’re now enjoying the advantages of a cloud print service. Better still, with your migration to PrinterLogic SaaS complete, you can 86 your print servers and all their accompanying costs and headache.

Getting the entire IT jigsaw just right is a tough and ongoing task, but cloud printing can be one of the easiest pieces of the wider puzzle. The trick is to ensure that you’re not just looking for basic cloud printing functionality. Effortless, powerful cloud print management has to be an integral part of any cloud-based printing solution that you choose. PrinterLogic SaaS is unique in delivering both in one feature-rich, straightforward and cost-effective package.

Tired of Delayed / Slow Printing With Google Cloud Print?

There are few things that annoy end users more than slow computing experiences. They dislike it when their computer is slow to boot. When it’s slow to retrieve documents from a network drive. When their browser is slow to load websites. And they especially hate it when their documents are slow to print. In fact, delayed printing just might be one of their top pet peeves.

Slow printing doesn’t just irritate your end users. It also makes them less productive. Rather than drumming their fingers wondering why their print jobs aren’t finished, they could be doing a hundred other things that benefit your organization’s mission and bottom line. And when they reach their breaking point, they call the service desk to try and sort things out, which means that both your end users and support staff are diverted from more important matters.

Frustrated with Google Cloud Print?

Organizations that make use of printing solutions like Google Cloud Print are likely to experience a cloud printing delay because of the way that most cloud-based solutions work. Whenever a user clicks “Print” in an ordinary cloud printing environment, the job has to travel from the client machine to a distant off-site cloud printing server via the WAN, then back to the local printer via the WAN again. Even cloud-based interfaces like Chrome OS still require print jobs to cross the WAN at least once. This data trip can make Google Cloud printing very slow and can even halt printing altogether when the WAN is down.

Unfortunately, identifying the root cause of a cloud printing delay can be difficult. Is it a temporary or persistent issue with the cloud print service itself? Or is it a problem with the OS or software of the client that initiated the job? What about the destination printer (or its driver)? To help isolate the problem, you can try testing the speed of your WAN connection, printing to another printer using the same client, printing to the same printer using another client, and updating your drivers to see if printing speeds are any better. A large number of printers are simply not compatible with Google Cloud Print, which means you could be looking at purchasing new hardware to address an issue with delayed printing.

There’s an alternative to Google Cloud Print

Or you could try a next-gen cloud printing solution. PrinterLogic SaaS (formerly PrinterCloud) leverages a unique direct IP architecture instead of relying on the WAN to route every single print job, PrinterLogic SaaS really only needs the WAN to establish the initial client-to-printer connection. Once that connection is made, every print job can then take the shortest, most efficient and most reliable route—right from the initiating client to the local printer. Furthermore, PrinterLogic SaaS removes the WAN vulnerabilities that can make Google Cloud printing very slow or even completely unavailable due to WAN outages because it can keep and process all Google Cloud print jobs locally.

Another major advantage of PrinterLogic SaaS is that it works with any printer. So if you have older printer models that are incompatible with Google Cloud Print you don’t have to take any special steps to ensure compatibility with PrinterLogic SaaS.

Plus PrinterLogic SaaS gives you unparalleled centralized administration that builds on the user interface that has earned such acclaim for PrinterLogic’s on-premises enterprise print management solution. Using the cloud-based admin console, you can deploy printers to specific users without the need for group policy objects (GPOs) or scripts, lock in one-time or permanent default settings by simply ticking checkboxes, and remove printers with zero effort. As a result, PrinterLogic SaaS brings newfound speed of management in addition to sidestepping the cloud printing delay of other solutions.

Fastest cloud printing, ever

If you’re tired of delayed printing when using Google Cloud Print or similar cloud-based printing solutions, don’t delay in giving PrinterLogic SaaS a try. You can demo its faster, more reliable cloud printing and advanced print management free for 30 days.

Simplify Enterprise Printing for Mac (iOS) Devices

Posted by Jordan Pusey

How times have changed. It wasn’t long ago that Apple computers were considered the go-to machines for creative types like graphic designers and AV professionals. But in the enterprise? No way. That was the domain of PCs. If you were really looking, maybe you’d spot a lone Mac sitting in a dark corner somewhere as last resort to handle the occasional non-Windows file type.

Then the iPhone and iOS happened. People started to look at Apple’s computers and its ever-evolving lineup of iOS devices differently. Today, even IBM has embraced Macs and iOS devices in the enterprise. Yet, for all their touted advantages, Mac and iOS printing can still present challenges within traditional enterprise print environments.

It’s not necessarily that Mac printing or iOS printing is inherently more difficult. It has more to do with the limitations of conventional print management solutions in the face of emerging enterprise trends along with rapidly evolving software and hardware capabilities on the client side. As devices have become more portable and geared toward dynamic, floating environments filled with a mix of company-issued and BYOD clients, admins have had a harder time supporting macOS mobile printing though their existing print infrastructure—one that was largely designed with a homogenous pool of static desktop clients in mind.

At PrinterLogic, we don’t call our enterprise print management solution “next-generation” for nothing. It’s designed to enhance your existing print infrastructure or even eliminate it altogether while making Mac printing easier than ever. By implementing PrinterLogic, you can effortlessly deploy the right printers to any client—manually or automatically, individually or en masse. There’s no need for group policy objects (GPOs) or scripts. Best of all, default printer options can be set by simply ticking a checkbox in PrinterLogic’s intuitive management interface, and you can apply those defaults once, every time a client logs on, or even after each print job.

But what about macOS mobile printing and iOS printing? The Mobile Printing feature from PrinterLogic is the answer to that question, giving you the ability to print from any mobile device—not just Mac and iOS but Windows, Android, ChromeOS, you name it—to any printer, including legacy models. And there’s no client-side software to install. For example, in an iOS print scenario, the user would simply tap the “Share” button, then tap “Print” and finally select the PrinterLogic printer. That’s it.

In a BYOD or guest print scenario, PrinterLogic’s Mobile Printing empowers users with proven email-to-print functionality. All they have to do is email the files to the printer’s dedicated email address. Plus it works even if they’re off-network, making in-house Mac and iOS printing for people like consultants, visitors and freelancers as easy as sending an email. How’s that for simplicity?

At the same time, simplicity shouldn’t mean compromising on security. PrinterLogic and its Mobile Printing feature give you complete control over who is able to print what and where. If, for instance, you want to enable email to print for mobile printing but only in a limited capacity, you can restrict page counts, color options (e.g. black and white), as well as printers. You can even set quotas to ensure that consumables aren’t being wasted.

Just as PrinterLogic gives you unprecedented flexibility in Mac and iOS printing, it also gives you incredible flexibility in implementation. Our on-premises software solution is for organizations that prefer to run a local instance of PrinterLogic, whereas PrinterCloud is for organizations that would prefer to adopt our new cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution. No matter which one you choose, your organization will enjoy simplified enterprise macOS mobile printing and iOS printing along with reduced infrastructure, greater flexibility and incredible ease of use.

Enterprise Print Audit Software from PrinterLogic

Posted by Andrew Miller

The key to successfully administering a cost-effective enterprise print environment is truly understanding that print environment. Knowing its strengths and weaknesses, its layout, its levels of usage, the ins and outs of its infrastructure. To obtain that macro- and micro-level information, a print audit is the most natural method.

That can be harder than it sounds. Hiring an outside consultant to come in and conduct a thorough and worthwhile print audit of your environment can be incredibly expensive, especially for a report that is only likely to generate a one-time snapshot. The findings from this kind of audit could be outdated through a simple departmental reconfiguration, and any consultant will invariably have to be brought back in to conduct a follow-up audit to see if their recommendations from the initial print audit were successful.

The alternative to consultants is print auditing software. A good solution allows you to keep ongoing tabs on your entire print environment and will have relationships with major office equipment manufacturers. But there are several drawbacks to a print auditing software, chief among them the fact that it is an add-on solution to print servers, not an integrated one. Generally, its information collection engine runs in the background and conducts periodic scans of the environment which doesn’t gather the data in real time. Plus all of your organization’s print data is transmitted off site to the provider’s servers.

Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to have print auditing software that was already a secure and integral part of your existing print management solution? What better way to gather and assimilate data on your print environment than by using the solution that drives it?

PrinterLogic’s print audit capabilities are integrated into the core of our enterprise print management solution. There’s no need for discrete print auditing software because native, comprehensive print audit features are available from the moment you implement our next-generation solution. You can instantly begin gathering a wide variety of essential and eye-opening data from your print environment, including:

  • Your individual users ranked by their level of print activity
  • Which departments are printing the most—with weekly, monthly and quarterly breakdowns
  • Not just the number of pages printed but the actual costs of printing, organized according to a variety of criteria
  • Levels of actual printer usage as well as consolidation and phase-out guidance
  • When, where and by whom documents were printed
  • Print jobs arranged by grayscale/color, duplexing, document name, execution date and many other data points

Our print auditing software can even capture data associated with USB printers. And unlike the workflow with other print auditing software, your organization’s print audit data stays entirely in-house. At the same time, the information is easy to share with decision makers and department heads when necessary. You can even have print audit reports automatically e-mailed to them at regular intervals to ensure that they’re aware of the progress your organization is making toward efficiency targets.

The simplicity and effectiveness of these print audit capabilities is borne out by our customers’ experience. In one survey, the independent research firm TechValidate found that 69% of verified PrinterLogic customers were able to reduce their usage of print consumables by 15% or more just by implementing our solution (TVID: 7F5-FCC-413). Another TechValidate survey revealed that 85% of the respondent organizations had seen ROI of more than 100% after installing PrinterLogic (TVID: 9A7-F9E-D49), thanks in part to our superior print auditing software.

Of course, PrinterLogic’s built-in print audit functionality are only one aspect of what makes our enterprise print management solution so effective and highly praised. Centralized administration and the ability to eliminate print servers are some of the other unique features that put PrinterLogic head and shoulders above the rest.

Printer Driver Conflicts That Cause Printer Installation Issues

Posted by Devin Anderson

Take a moment to imagine a world without printer drivers. Where client devices and printers are able to interface directly. Where printer driver conflicts don’t exist. Where routine printer installations can take place with absolute reliability—even (and especially) when they’re initiated directly by the end user.

For admins who haven’t yet discovered PrinterLogic’s next-generation print management solution, that’s a pleasant thought exercise but it’s a far cry from reality. There are a number of things that can go wrong during printer installation, and one of the worst offenders is printer driver conflicts. These can be a product of:

  • Different versions of the same driver (e.g., to serve different client OS versions)
  • Multiple printer drivers for similar printer models from the same manufacturer (e.g., ScanPrint 2050 and InkPrint 2050)
  • 32-bit and 64-bit driver versions for the same printer
  • Universal drivers existing alongside model-specific drivers

When these printer driver conflicts are present in the print environment, there’s an increased likelihood that printer installations will be negatively affected—regardless of whether those installations are user-initiated or automated through group policy. It could come down to the user selecting the wrong driver, the universal driver being pushed out to the wrong users, or even a perfectly compatible driver version butting heads with a different version of the same driver when the first print job from the newly installed printer hits the spooler.

All of these examples are pretty much guaranteed to mean that one or more users will be unable to print. In “good” cases, downtime is isolated to a single client machine. In the worst cases, an entire department or organization experiences print downtime because of a crashed print spooler or print server.

One step you can take to fix printer driver conflicts is printer driver isolation, which was first implemented in Windows Server 2008 R2. Using this method, printer drivers no longer run in the same process as the print spooler. So when a driver crashes, printer driver isolation can help prevent the driver from taking down the entire spooler. Note that this doesn’t completely eliminate printer driver conflicts, just the damage they can do.

Another preliminary step is to prune your driver repository. Get rid of outdated printer drivers that are no longer in use. Replace model-specific drivers with a single universal printer driver. Consolidate printers to cut down on driver variety. Provided your organization is ready, you might even want to consider shedding the last vestiges of your 32-bit environment in order to drop 32-bit drivers altogether.

But what if you need all those driver versions? What if you don’t want to sacrifice the functionality of model-specific driver with a universal one? What if you’re not ready to spend the money to migrate to an all-64-bit infrastructure? Isn’t there an easier fix for printer driver conflicts?

We’re not yet in a driverless world, but PrinterLogic can make it feel like you are. Our on-premises enterprise print management solution—now also available as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution called PrinterCloud—prevents printer driver conflicts through a more sensible, more streamlined and more powerful approach to print management.

The first way in which PrinterLogic sidesteps printer driver conflicts is through dynamic, reliable deployments. These don’t require group policy objects (GPOs) or scripts, yet our solution seamlessly integrates with Active Directory (AD), so you can accurately and automatically deliver the right printers and drivers to any user, group, IP address and so forth. Another way is through our acclaimed self-service installation portal, which enables users to safely identify and install nearby printers with a single click. A third—but by no means final—way is our centralized and intuitive driver management. Using PrinterLogic’s web-based console, you can administer drivers, profiles, printers and the vast range of available settings conveniently and easily across the entire print environment. PrinterLogic doesn’t just make it easier to fix the printer driver conflicts that cause printer installation woes, it is the fix for printer driver conflicts.

32- and 64-bit Server Conflicts Stopping Your Print Spooler?

The transition from 32- to 64-bit computing was a significant milestone that went pretty much unnoticed by the average consumer. But IT professionals are all too familiar with the advantages of that transition as well as its headaches. Although some steps have been taken since the early days to allow the two architectures to coexist in harmony, the truth is that they’re more like siblings who have to be carefully kept apart to prevent them from fighting.

When it comes to enterprise printing, 32-bit and 64-bit server conflicts have been the cause of such problems as print spooler crashing or other software issues that result in print downtime. You can’t run a 32-bit print spooler on a 64-bit server, for instance, and 64-bit drivers are not compatible with 32-bit systems. (This can be just as exasperating when printer manufacturers still haven’t released 64-bit drivers to round out your 64-bit environment.) When these two architectures come into contact in ways that they shouldn’t, brace yourself for calls to the service desk and extensive troubleshooting.

To prevent these kinds of crashes, some admins have taken the “walled garden” approach, which amounts to creating two separate environments: one of them 32-bit, with 32-bit servers, printer drivers and clients, and another 64-bit equivalent. This way, these two somewhat incompatible architectures remain distinct. Despite ensuring greater print availability and avoiding print spooler crashing as a result of 32-/64-bit conflicts, however, that essentially doubles the cost of the IT infrastructure. Even in more modest print environments, that can be a hefty price to pay for increased stability.

Many other admins have taken the “please play nice” approach and tried to maintain a mixed environment. This typically involves trying to operate 32- and 64-bit software side by side and hoping for the best. Unfortunately, in some common configurations, the 32-/64-bit drivers have to have identical names. This has the potential to cause a great deal of confusion—and, of course, print spooler crashing should one of these drivers be deployed to or accessed by the wrong client. To fix the print spooler, it then becomes necessary to identify the offending driver (which, as I noted, is tough because of the identical names), fully remove or disable it, and then restart the print spooler with your fingers crossed.

That’s no way to run an enterprise print environment. In mixed 32-/64-bit scenarios, PrinterLogic gives you considerably more peace of mind because it allows these two very different architectures to work seamlessly alongside one another. How so? Well, first and foremost, PrinterLogic’s enterprise print management solution allows your organization to eliminate print servers completely and replace them with one centralized server running a single instance of our next-generation software—or even replace them with our serverless SaaS solution, PrinterCloud. There’s no need to deal with a shared print spooler crashing because the shared print spooler is eliminated along with the print server. Instead you get direct IP printing through PrinterLogic’s one-to-one connections between client devices and printers.

Furthermore, PrinterLogic’s vastly improved driver management allows you to keep 32-bit and 64-bit versions for your respective clients and deploy them precisely and reliably without the need for group policy objects (GPOs) or scripts. Whereas the performance of print servers can degrade with extensive driver repositories (not to mention increasing the likelihood of driver confusion and conflicts), PrinterLogic can handle a large number of drivers and makes it possible for you to manage them with ease. That’s due in part to our intuitive web-based admin console, which gives you incredible control over your entire print environment from a single pane of glass.

The reason so many organizations ultimately choose PrinterLogic is because their admins are tired of having to perform tedious print management tasks like fix the print spooler, troubleshoot a faulty driver deployment or walk the tightrope between 32- and 64-bit servers and software. By eliminating print servers and implementing PrinterLogic’s advanced print management solution, those conflicts and complications can become a thing of the past.

7 Ways to Prevent Printer Driver Conflicts

Traditional print management would be less exhausting if it weren’t for printer drivers. As things stand, however, client machines and servers need to be able to “talk” to the printers somehow, and, for better or worse, drivers continue to provide that channel—even if they’re responsible for much of the printing downtime many organizations experience.

This extra burden of management requires admins who oversee print-server-based print environments to devote significant amounts of time and energy to troubleshoot printer driver conflicts and, with any luck, prevent print spooler crashes or failed printer installations.

You can leave less up to chance by taking some precautions. Here are seven things you can do to avoid printer driver conflicts in your print environment. They might not fix every printer driver conflict but they should address the worst offenders. At the very least, they will make it easier to troubleshoot printer driver conflicts by eliminating certain variables.

  1. Use universal drivers: The easiest way to fix a printer driver conflict? Take the model specific printer drivers out of the equation. You might lose printer-specific functionality but you’ll gain efficiency and simplicity of management by switching to universal printer drivers.
  2. Prune the driver repository regularly: The larger your print environment and the longer it’s been running, the more likely you are to have built up a sizable repository of drivers—some of which you might not even be using anymore. Pruning the repository for outdated or disused drivers can help you find that needle in the haystack a little more easily when it comes time to troubleshoot printer driver conflicts.
  3. Practice printer driver isolation: Newer print servers have the ability to isolate printer drivers when you choose to do so. What this means is that each driver runs as a self-contained process rather than in the same process as the print spooler, which helps avoid driver-related spooler crashes and preempts having to troubleshoot printer driver conflicts. This won’t eliminate spooler crashes but it will certainly address their main cause.
  4. Restrict access to printer drivers: Putting printer driver selection and installation in the hands of users can be risky unless they have the right tools (more on that below). Without proper safeguards and good naming conventions, end users can select the wrong driver and compound the time it takes to fix a printer driver conflict they’ve created. Limiting their access to drivers can circumvent some of those issues.
  5. Separate drivers through print servers: To keep drivers truly separate, which is especially helpful when dealing with 32- and 64-bit versions, it might be necessary to set up separate print servers. By using print servers to create smaller pools of drivers, you once again reduce the number of variables that muddy the waters when trying to troubleshoot printer driver conflicts. However, additional print servers will increase the bulk and complexity of your print infrastructure.
  6. Wait to upgrade: Admins generally fall into two camps: the cutting-edge variety who can’t wait to roll out new updates, and the old-school types who would still be on XP and OS 9 if they had the choice. But a little caution on your part can save you from having to fix a printer driver conflict down the road. Before rolling out a driver upgrade, check online forums and consult with admins in other organizations to see if there have been any unintended consequences.

Wait, that’s only six. What about the seventh? I saved the best for last: Implement PrinterLogic.

Our next-generation enterprise print management solution is the number-one fix for printer driver conflicts because its incredibly simple and powerful approach to enterprise print management nips those seemingly inescapable problems in the bud. And you don’t have to compromise by disempowering your end users, walling off drivers from each other, or installing more infrastructure.

By migrating to PrinterLogic, you can eliminate your print servers completely while consolidating your drivers in a single centralized, easy-to-manage repository with fine-grained deployment options. There’s even a self-service installation portal that safely allows end users to identify and install nearby printers on their own. It won’t just save you from having to troubleshoot printer driver conflicts, it’ll save you hours that you never realized you were spending on print management.