Eliminating Printing Infrastructure: A New Way to Manage Printing

Posted by Kevin Merrill

There was a time when all printing was done directly from the workstation to a printer. As time rolled on, and companies grew, companies started to look for a better way to allow their users to print without having to purchase an individual printer for each user. With the invention of networks, companies again started to look for efficiencies in printing and network printing was born. As network printing began to become more commonplace it was soon realized that the printers couldn’t handle all the traffic, so print servers were born. Along with the inherent inefficiencies with print servers, today they have become almost standard across the globe.

Is there a better way? Print Server administrators have been asking this question for years. Traditionally, there have been 3 different models for managing printers in your environment; centralized print servers, distributed print servers, and unmanaged direct IP.

Centralized Print Servers
The first model is the “Centralized Print Server.” In this model, the print server(s) are located at company headquarters or a central data center. Because of the location of the server, all the jobs must travel from satellite offices to the server to be processed and then be sent back to the printers at the satellite location. This creates a large amount of WAN traffic, and can severely slow down the printing process. This also creates a single point of failure in the print flow. If the server goes down or the connection to the server gets severed, no one can print. This model also requires GPO’s and scripts to push out printers or giving the end user permission to self-install the shared queue.

Distributed Print Servers
The second model is the “Distributed Print Server” model. In this model, the print servers are distributed out to the individual sites. While this model eliminates the single point of failure of the “centralized” model it has the effect of creating multiple single points of failure across the company. This also has the effect of creating server sprawl, a management nightmare, resulting in the need to manage and maintain print queues across multiple servers. Like the “centralized” model this model also requires GPO’s and scripts to push out printers or giving the end user permission to self-install the shared queue.

Unmanaged Direct IP
The third model is the “Unmanaged Direct IP” model. In this model, all the printers are installed to the workstations as direct IP printers. While this model eliminates the single point of failure caused by print servers, it becomes a management nightmare, requiring support staff to touch each endpoint to install printers. Some of the biggest downsides to this model is that you have no management or insight into your print environment, high support costs, and almost guaranteed helpdesk calls.

A New Option
PrinterLogic’s Web Stack (formerly Printer Installer) software combines the three printing models to create a new fourth model, “Centrally Managed Direct IP.” PrinterLogic Web Stack takes the best of the three printing models and combines them in a serverless solution. Once installed on a 2008r2 or newer server, simply use your favorite deployment software to push out the PrinterLogic Web Stack client to the workstations. Once installed the client will convert the shared queues to direct IP queues that can now be centrally managed by the server hosting PrinterLogic Web Stack.

From PrinterLogic Web Stack’s Administration Console, you have complete management and control over your printing environment, from automated deployments based on Active Directory, IP Address, Hostname, MAC address, to driver and profile management, to auditing and reporting. All from one central pane of glass. Through PrinterLogic Web Stack’s self-service portal, you can also empower your end users to be able to self-install a printer if needed, all without giving them admin rights to their workstations.

With PrinterLogic Web Stack you can join the next iteration of printing. The Centrally Managed Direct IP world.

Printers Not Mapping? Try PrinterLogic!

When using print servers, mapping network printers is something that just comes with the territory. But as any network admin can tell you, it’s not an easy process, regardless of whether you’re a technophobic end user who’s new to the company or a seasoned expert in printer management. In any traditional print-server-based environment, you’re bound to encounter regular issues with printers not mapping to specific users for reasons that aren’t always clear at first. These frustrating situations often require extensive fact-finding and appeals to other IT experts for advice and assistance in online forums.

Printer mapping with GPOs
Many admins prefer to use group policy objects (GPOs) when mapping network printers. Actually, that might be overstating things. It would probably be more accurate to say that admins prefer GPOs among the few practical options available to them when mapping network printers.

Printer mapping with GPOs allows some degree of rule-based automation, which means that users who belong to a specific organizational unit or pool will automatically be able to print to certain printers when they log in. In practice, however, the strict hierarchical nature of GPOs and their huge chain of contingencies creates all sorts of deployment and printer management problems. One obscure driver or security setting can result in printers not mapping—and irate end users as a consequence.

Printer mapping with scripts
As an alternative or supplement to printer mapping with GPOs, some admins turn to scripts. Because they can be custom coded and strategically deployed to account for different workplace-specific variables, printer mapping with scripts is sometimes a more finely tuned deployment solution.

The overarching problem to printer mapping with scripts is that they run during the logon process. This prolongs logon times (sometimes significantly) and can be both the cause and victim of other software conflicts. Furthermore, if any of the primary variables change, such as the default printer, then then script has to be rewritten and redeployed prior to users before logging on. Should the script fail, then the printer won’t map properly.

Printer mapping with PrinterLogic
PrinterLogic solves problems with printers not mapping while also eliminating the need for GPOs and scripts completely. Our enterprise print management solution leverages a unique combination of proven direct IP printing and powerful centralized printer management, allowing you to deploy printers as well as drivers with confidence and precision to individual users or entire user pools.

With PrinterLogic, mapping network printers is effortless for both the end user and the admin. From the admin side, you can integrate our next-generation solution with Active Directory to dynamically deliver printers according to criteria like users, groups, containers, OUs, hostnames, mac address, IP address ranges or an advanced deployment option that uses a combination of the deployment methods. Selecting a permanent or one-time default printer or default printer options is as easy as ticking a checkbox in our intuitive management console. That beats any form of printer mapping via GPOs or scripts.

And from the user side of things, PrinterLogic’s self-service installation portal makes mapping network printers a breeze. Instead of hunting through arcane network directories and guessing at long strings of printer names, end users can easily identify and install nearby printers with a single click.

Better still, PrinterLogic brings the same revolutionary ease of printer management that it does to printer mapping, providing your organization with a cost-effective way to eliminate your print servers entirely and drastically reduce the time spent on print management. Try a full-featured demo of PrinterLogic free for 30 days and see how it takes the madness out of mapping.

PrinterLogic SaaS: The Next-Generation Cloud Printing Software

As cloud-based solutions mature and become more suitable for enterprise-scale applications, organizations have started to look into cloud printing software that can handle the demands of fast-paced printing in large and varied environments.

Are all cloud print solutions up to the task? Not quite.

One of the first things these organizations discover is that there’s a big difference between enterprise cloud printing and cloud print management. Printing simply means that documents get relayed from a client device to a printer—basic print functionality, in other words. Print management is about much more than that. It has to do with things like how printers are deployed, how print queues are handled, how drivers are managed, and how end users install local printers. Most cloud print solutions focus on printing at the expense of print management.

At PrinterLogic, we’ve found that swapping those priorities ends up improving both of them. By focusing on effortless, intelligent, feature-rich print management, we’re able to deliver equally effortless, intelligent, feature-rich printing across any environment, regardless of how complex, distributed or unconventional it happens to be. That’s as true for our on-premises print management solution as it is for our enterprise cloud printing solution, PrinterLogic SaaS (formerly PrinterCloud). And that’s why we call it next-generation.

PrinterLogic SaaS enables enterprise cloud printing to make a massive leap forward by providing all the advantages of the cloud while addressing some of the biggest shortcomings of cloud-based printing solutions. Compatibility restricted to specific hardware? Poor driver management and other driver-related hiccups? Fundamental WAN vulnerabilities? All of those longstanding issues with cloud print solutions are solved in PrinterLogic SaaS.

Let’s take WAN vulnerabilities as an example. Like its acclaimed on-premises counterpart, PrinterLogic SaaS leverages proven direct IP printing, which creates one-to-one connections between clients and printers. Traditionally, however, direct IP connections, though preferred by admins on account of their simplicity and stability, can be an absolute nightmare to manage in large organizations. That’s where PrinterLogic SaaS’s strength as a cloud print management solution comes in. PrinterLogic SaaS brings centralized, convenient, cloud-style management to direct IP printing, so you can deploy, administer and remove printers throughout the organization from a single pane of glass—quickly and easily.

But how exactly does that relate to the WAN? Well, the straight client-to-printer connections of direct IP printing means that your enterprise cloud printing solution isn’t wholly reliant on WAN connectivity. If there’s a WAN outage, PrinterLogic SaaS users can continue printing as usual without downtime. Print jobs are faster, too, because they don’t have to get routed to the cloud server.

PrinterLogic SaaS’s unique emphasis on powerful, easy-to-use cloud print management extends to routine installations. If an end user hasn’t automatically received a printer (which is incredibly easy to set up in PrinterLogic SaaS—all without GPOs or scripts), they can simply visit the self-service installation portal, choose their printer from a visual floorplan map, and click on it. That will instantly install the printer and any necessary drivers.

Another next-generation advantage of PrinterLogic SaaS over other cloud print solutions is its extensibility. Wouldn’t it be nice to have company-wide Mobile Printing capabilities, regardless of the mobile device or printer? How about Secure Pull Printing for every employee? Advanced macro- and micro-level reporting and auditing? All of that is not only possible but easy to implement, thanks to the combination of enterprise cloud printing and cloud print management of PrinterLogic SaaS.

How to Monitor Printer Usage in a Network

We’re in the era of Big Data. We want to be able to monitor, collect and analyze information of all kinds—our exercise, our sleep, our spending, our workflow—as conveniently and unobtrusively as possible with the ultimate aim of identifying opportunities for improvement, tweaking old habits and boosting performance.

As far as enterprise printing is concerned, we want to track printer usage across our network in order to cut wasteful printing and reduce the overuse of consumables. Which has an immediate and direct impact on our organizations’ bottom lines.

With traditional print management software, such as print servers, the ability to track printer usage is limited. This comes down to the software’s native tools as well as its basic architecture. You can examine historical print job data for a certain period by trawling through the logs from shared print queues, for example, but the process inefficient and is unlikely to yield any useful information that tells a larger story. The fragmentation of distributed environments with remote sites makes this even more difficult.

Another method to track printer usage is to collect SNMP information on things like page counts and toner levels from individual printers, but this can quickly become a matter of herding cats when you have a heterogeneous print environment with a mix of drivers, hardware from different manufacturers and a smattering of USB-connected printers. And even if you do succeed in gathering that information, making sense of it as a basis for efficiency initiatives is another ball of wax.

Third parties have tried to take advantage of this shortcoming by developing printer usage tracking software that will make the collection and audit of print data a tiny bit more manageable. But the problem here is that their solutions to track printer usage run atop the underlying server architecture. They don’t necessarily integrate with the seamlessness of a native solution. As a result, you have to manage your tracking software alongside your print management software, which adds one more console to oversee, one more component to juggle.

Furthermore, “layered” solutions like these are usually at the mercy of the print management software passing along the required information. If something changes in how the printer usage tracking software interfaces with the print servers—say, through an upgrade or migration to a new solution—then its ability to track printer usage could be hobbled or even prevented. That creates unwanted scenarios where you find yourself weighing the pros and cons of holding off on a critical security patch while waiting for your printer usage tracking software to be updated for compatibility.

That’s why PrinterLogic is the best way to monitor and track printer usage across your organization. Our next-generation print management software has powerful built-in print auditing and reporting tools that have access to core-level printing data, which allows you to gather detailed, comprehensive information from every nook and cranny of your print environment—even from printers connected via USB.

With PrinterLogic’s advanced print management software, you can not only track printer usage but arrange that data in practical ways. You can select the company’s top 10, 25 or even 100 heaviest printer users. Or identify the users who are routinely printing large or all-color jobs. Or view how many pages each department is printing within a given time period. Or organize print jobs by the date or computer on which they were printed.

PrinterLogic also goes one step further. Instead of simply gathering data like many printer usage tracking software solutions, PrinterLogic is able to compile, analyze and distribute that information. That’s invaluable when it comes to clear and effective decision-making. Now department heads can be kept informed of their consumables usage or their most print-intensive users through regular e-mails. The organization as a whole can get practical consolidation guidance to reduce infrastructure.

All that plus greater ease of management and enhanced enterprise printing features. And the best part? That will be tallying up the incredible ROI.

How Do I Migrate My Windows 2003 Print Server to a Windows 2016 Server?

If you have ever come across the need to move printers from one print server to another, then you know how much of a headache it can be. If you still have the legacy Windows 2003 print server then it can even be more daunting. What’s more, if you want to stay ahead of the curve and your server refresh time is near, then you’re wanting to find a quick and straightforward way to move the print services over. The clearest path to migration is to upgrade in stages.

Stage 1: Migrate from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2012 R2: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj134150(v=ws.11).aspx (the caveat here is that the old server must only have the print services role on it and no other roles or it will cause issues with the other roles).

Stage 2: Go from Windows Server 2012 to Windows Server 2016: https://www.faqforge.com/windows/migrate-print-services-server-2012-server-2016/

The steps are straightforward and will take a bit of time to make sure everything is done correctly. They also have scenarios where it may not be possible to migrate off the server onto a new one. As improved as the new servers can be, sometimes to go to them from an old server can be more trouble than just starting over from scratch on that new server. If you’re contemplating starting over then WAIT! There is an easier way to do it than you think: PrinterLogic.

PrinterLogic has a print management solution that migrates printers away from print servers (yes, even Windows 2003 print servers), and actually allows you to start managing direct IP printers connected to workstations instead. No more print servers to manage, no more headaches when updating server operating systems, and no more bottlenecks for printing. All you need is a server to host PrinterLogic.

The software itself has many benefits and here are a few for quick reference:

  • Management of direct IP printers (jobs are spooled locally from the workstations and sent directly to the printers)
  • If the management server goes offline or loses connectivity to a site then anyone with a printer can still print
  • Easier management tools available through a webpage UI experience
  • Eliminate scripting and GPOs to deploy printers
  • Print tracking to see how much printing is going on and who is printing what
  • And so much more…

The steps to migrate off a Windows 2003, 2008, 2012, or 2016 print server are as easy as 1, 2, 3. First, you install PrinterLogic on your new server. Second you use a built-in import tool to select the printers from your print server and import them into the management interface. Third you push out a software client to each desktop which will auto-convert the shared queues from the print server into managed direct IP printers in the background. It won’t alert the end users and runs in the background as a system service so you don’t have to elevate the user’s privileges.

The process of migrating the printers over is usually no more than 30 seconds a queue and it’ll keep going one by one until they are all copied over and ready for use. As you push out the agent that converts the queues from shared to direct IP, you’ll be able to keep the print server on and everyone will be able to continue to print. As soon as the roll out of the client is finished and all the queues have converted, you’ll be able to move forward with a new server and a better print management solution. In the future, if you need to move the software from your new server to a newer server then all you do is run a backup command in the windows command prompt or PowerShell and restore it on a new server that is running a blank instance of PrinterLogic. Migrations just got a whole lot easier!

How to Fix Slow Thin Client Printing

The thin client architecture has a lot going for it. Cost savings. Centralized management. A more consistent user experience. On the downside, though, printing with thin clients can be a much bigger headache than printing in traditional environments. This is because a consolidated environment doesn’t always mesh well with local network printers.

The conventional remedy for this (or maybe stopgap is a better term) is a print server, which is often used to manage drivers and handle printing once printers are deployed to endpoint devices using group policy. But this only partially addresses one problem while creating others. Because now, in addition to dealing with the residual quirks of thin client printing, you have to deal with the well-known shortcomings of print servers and GPOs.

More than anything else, thin client printing tends to suffer from a lack of speed. That’s what we’ll concentrate on addressing here.

What are some common thin client printing problems and their impact on speed?
Thin clients are susceptible to slowness by design. Anytime data has to travel across the WAN, you risk bottlenecks and additional points of failure. Thin clients—and hence conventional thin client printing—wholly rely on the WAN to function, of course, and this means a lot is riding on that connection, particularly at remote branches. If that’s affected in any way by heavy Internet traffic or service interruptions, then you will find yourself with a host of speed-related thin client printing problems. To your end users, this will take the form of infuriatingly long wait times between clicking “Print” and the job finally appearing at the printer.

When you add print servers to the mix, that WAN vulnerability doesn’t go away. In some cases, it’s exacerbated because print jobs grow exponentially in size as they’re rendered. As they pass across the WAN on the way to the local printer, they consume even more bandwidth, which in turn creates the bottlenecks that slow thin client printing even more.

Another cause of thin client printing problems has to do with drivers. Large repositories of model-specific drivers can impact performance and stability in these environments, quickly leading to issues such as slow printing.

What are the recommended thin client printing solutions?
Any recommendation depends on what you want from your thin client printing solution. If you want a one-trick pony, there are a handful of thin client printing solutions out there that might either accelerate WAN data traffic, compress print jobs or help you get to grips with some of your driver issues.

But if you’re looking for a single solution to your thin client printing as well as your print management problems, there’s really only one that delivers on all counts: PrinterLogic. Our next-generation print management software can be implemented quickly and seamlessly in all manner of thin client environments, including popular solutions like Citrix and VMware, to bring stability, ease of use and, yes, unprecedented speed to your thin client printing.

PrinterLogic is unique among thin client printing solutions because it leverages a powerful combination of direct IP printing and centralized management. By establishing direct connections between endpoint devices and local printers, it simultaneously reduces print-related WAN traffic and reliance on the WAN—the two biggest impacts on thin client printing speed.

Yet PrinterLogic brings much, much more to the table. It simplifies print management by eliminating the need for GPOs or scripts and shrinks infrastructure by eliminating print servers. At the same time, it introduces an enhanced feature set that includes self-service installation and comprehensive reporting, plus the ability to effortlessly implement powerful Mobile Printing and Pull Printing functionality. With PrinterLogic, your thin client printing goes from sluggish to supercharged in every respect.

Google Cloud Print Problems: Document Not Printing

Cloud printing was supposed to solve many of the inescapable shortcomings of print servers: a lack of environment-wide visibility, for example, or inefficient printer and driver management. And to some extent it did. Yet popular cloud-based printing services like Google Cloud Print aren’t immune to issues of their own—even basic ones, such as documents not printing.

The problem of documents not printing is an overarching one that can take two general forms. It could be that the user prints, the document enters the cloud printing queue, but then the job is never executed by the printer. Or it could be that the print job never even reaches the queue.

Before we proceed with troubleshooting, here’s the fundamental question: Are you using a printer that’s compatible with Google’s cloud printing? This is important because sometimes Google Cloud Print has issues with printers that aren’t cloud ready (aka “classic”) and will require a connected PC or Mac to act as a bridge.

Once you’ve made that distinction, let’s start with the documents that do enter the cloud printing queue but fail to execute. And keep in mind that all of these assume you’ve done the rudimentary steps like checking network connections and power to the devices.

One common cause is that your cloud-ready printer simply isn’t set up correctly in Google Cloud Print, so you’ll have to consult the manufacturer-specific instructions and ensure that each step has been followed exactly. Then retry printing. If you’re using a classic printer and are experiencing Google Cloud Print issues, you’ll need to disconnect all of the classic printers under the Chrome device console (chrome://devices), then visit “Printers” under the Google Could Print management console. Any duplicate printers there should be deleted before trying to print again.

In the event that the document is neither printing nor appearing in the cloud printing queue, make sure that the printing account is the same as the owner account that was used to set up the printer, or that the printing account is authorized for printer sharing in the owner account. This requirement is the same for classic printers as it is for cloud-ready printers. Another troubleshooting step is to simply delete and re-add the printer via the Google Cloud Print management console. Finally, if you’ve exhausted all other methods, verify that your printer driver has been updated to the most current version.

Unlike cloud-based printing services such as Google Cloud Print, PrinterLogic SaaS (formerly PrinterCloud) doesn’t force you to jump through flaming hoops to get your devices set up and ready to tackle print jobs. You can use our next-gen cloud-based printing solution with any printer, even legacy devices.

But that’s not its only advantage. PrinterLogic SaaS leverages direct IP printing, which creates one-to-one connections between workstations and local printers. This means that, whereas an interrupted WAN connection could cause Google Cloud Print issues, users with PrinterLogic SaaS can continue printing as usual during a temporary WAN outage.

With PrinterLogic SaaS, you also get PrinterLogic’s unparalleled printer and driver management. Our centralized admin console allows you to add, manage and remove printers as well as drivers with incredible ease. Printers and drivers can be altered or updated on an individual basis or en masse, and default settings for an entire pool or fleet can be enacted by simply ticking a checkbox.

And that’s only the start of it. PrinterLogic SaaS is light years ahead of competing cloud-based printing services because it offers advanced tools like Mobile Printing, Secure Printing, detailed auditing, plus more. PrinterLogic SaaS doesn’t just sidestep the Google Cloud Print issues that you can drive you to distraction, it also provides the added value that simplifies and streamlines enterprise print management.

How Can I Auto-Deploy Printers?

Getting the right printers to the right people at the right time can be a challenge. You have a wide range of methods you can choose from, ranging from teaching the end user how to connect to a shared printer all the way to writing a logon script to install printers based on specific criteria. It seems like however you decide to accomplish the goal, there are always obstacles. There will always be that one person who doesn’t want to learn how to double-click a printer they need and instead wants the printer to show up automatically whenever they log into their computer no matter where they are geographically. There are also those times when your automatic process simply doesn’t work because of unpredictable computer flaws that can happen. Worst of all, what if you are in charge of figuring out how to auto-deploy printers to not only Windows workstations but Mac workstations as well? The task can be daunting and frustrating.

There is a solution that makes all those headaches go away. No need for end user training, no need for writing scripts, no need for print servers, and it’s not a problem if you have Windows and Mac users. The solution is a part of the print management software from PrinterLogic. It allows IT staff to auto-deploy printers based on specific criteria. You can auto-deploy printers based on Active Directory User, Computer, Group, Container, or OU. You can also deploy printers based on the end user’s computer IP Address, Hostname, or Mac address. It works across both Mac and Windows to provide a unified experience that automates printer installation as well being consistent in its performance.

The best thing about auto-deployments through PrinterLogic is how easy it is to implement the solution. You spin up a virtual server running Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, or Windows Server 2016 and run an executable provided by PrinterLogic. That will take you to an administration web page where you add printers. The software is designed to directly migrate you either off your existing print server or take your direct IP connected printers and add them into the solution. There are import tools that help facilitate that process so it’s smooth and easy. Once you have the printers added just simply push out a software client to each workstation (Windows and Mac). The client is programmed to take over the existing printers on the workstation and provide a seamless transition into a new way of print management. With PrinterLogic, you manage direct IP printers connected to computers. That allows the workstations to spool and submit jobs locally. It’s designed to remove the bottleneck that a print server is and give you improved tools that you previously needed with a print server.

My favorite deployment type is the IP Address deployment option; it allows you to specify an IP Address range that you want printers to be deployed to. If a user enters that IP Address range on their laptop then they will automatically get that site’s printers installed. When the laptop leaves the IP Address range then the printers will be removed and a new set of printers can be added for a new range. The printers essentially follow the traveling users and they never need to call the help desk to get printers installed when they go to new locations.

Finally, if you run into that one user that prefers their printers added manually by selecting from a list, then PrinterLogic can help. PrinterLogic provides users a self-service web page where they can access printers they have permissions to view and install them with a single click. You can even upload a map to help users identify where their nearest printer is. Gone are the days of scripting, GPOs, and user trainings to auto-deploy printers. You can also say goodbye to print servers on top of all that!

Enterprise Cloud Printing Trends for 2018

As cloud-based solutions become more widely adopted among organizations of all sizes and sectors, keen-eyed observers are watching specific trends develop within that field. Those broader trends naturally also apply to cloud-based printing solutions such as PrinterLogic SaaS (formerly PrinterCloud), which combines the convenience of centralized printing with enterprise-grade print management.

So, as 2018 fast approaches, what emerging trends can we expect to see when it comes to enterprise cloud printing solutions?

1. Security, security and more security. Even as cloud-based solutions become more widely accepted, our faith in enterprise security has been shaken by major, highly publicized data breaches. In the coming year and beyond, it’s safe to say that cloud print solutions will join the rest of the industry in doubling down on security measures.

For cloud-based printing solutions, security will involve features like pull printing, which intentionally turns printing into a two-step process: The user prints a document in the usual way, but that print job is not executed at the printer until the user “releases” that job using an authentication mechanism like a badge or card reader. This helps to ensure that print jobs aren’t left in the output tray where they can be read or accidentally taken by unauthorized users.

PrinterLogic SaaS already features tried-and-tested Pull Printing with the same flexible feature set as its on-premise counterpart. Users can release their jobs using badge/card readers (integrated or external), the printer’s embedded control panel, or any Web browser.

2. Mobile and BYOD support. The mobile revolution is still going strong, yet many enterprise cloud printing solutions have been slow to offer full and seamless support for BYOD and mobile devices. With any luck, that should change in 2018 as more and more end users untether themselves from their desks and use devices of their choosing.

However, any cloud print solutions that scramble to implement mobile/BYOD support will still be playing catch-up with PrinterLogic SaaS, which leverages its proven Mobile Printing feature to provide all of your mobile users and guests with universal, easy-to-use printing capabilities. There’s no client-side software to install, and it works with any mobile device and any printer—even legacy models.

3. Visibility and reporting. One of the advantages of cloud-based printing solutions is that they offer a window into your print environment that can be accessed conveniently from almost anywhere. But just how wide and transparent is that window? Typically, many of these cloud print solutions haven’t fared much better in that regard than their traditional forerunners, print servers.

The coming year will likely see enterprise cloud printing solutions trying to make up for this shortcoming by trying to implement more reporting features. This might include providing data above and beyond basic print activity, and improved SNMP integration could give an immediate and intuitive snapshot of how the print environment looks at any given moment. In short, there’s a lot of potential here.

PrinterLogic SaaS’s visibility and reporting are already at a level where other cloud print solutions long to be. Its console is incredibly powerful while remaining user-friendly, and it equips admins with SNMP monitoring as well as comprehensive reporting options and analysis. The information it delivers can be easily ordered by different criteria, automatically forwarded to decision-makers and department heads, and used for consolidation and cost-saving guidance.

PrinterLogic SaaS is setting tomorrow’s enterprise cloud printing trends in many other respects, too, thanks to its centrally managed direct IP printing. While admins will appreciate its effortless management and deploying printers without relying on GPOs, end users will enjoy the self-service installation portal and the ability to print as usual even if the WAN connection is interrupted. It might sound cliché, but PrinterLogic SaaS is the future of cloud-based printing solutions—today.

Branch Office Direct Printing Not Working: Solved

Beginning with Windows Server 2012, Microsoft introduced a feature called Branch Office Direct Printing for clients running Windows 8 or higher. This was done in response to longstanding problems with print servers, especially in geographically distributed environments with a consolidated infrastructure. In these scenarios, print jobs would be routed from the client workstation to the central print server (usually at the organization’s headquarters), then back to the local printer. All via the WAN connection.

Branch office printing was meant to limit these trips across the WAN, which would reduce the heavy network traffic caused by print jobs. By keeping print activity within the physical walls of the branch office, WAN bottlenecking along with the inevitable exposure to WAN vulnerabilities (for example, WAN interruptions preventing printing) would be diminished or even eliminated outright.

What’s Unique about Branch Office Printing?
Branch Office Direct Printing in Server 2016 and earlier makes use of direct IP connections. These are one-to-one connections between the client device and the network printer. Instead of printing to a shared queue, users instead print to their local printer along the straightest and most efficient network route. Direct IP printing also limits print activity to a per-user basis, which avoids the common problems of a shared spooler, like a flaky driver or a rogue print job crashing the spooler and stopping printing for the entire user pool. Branch office printing via direct IP printing is therefore robust and has a minimal network footprint.

However, some serious limitations remain with Branch Office Direct Printing in Server 2016. Its scalability is severely limited, users cannot easily install their own printers, it’s compatible only with certain versions of Windows, and features like logging and quotas are lost.

Why Is Branch Office Direct Printing Not Working for Me?
Now that we’ve briefly recapped why branch office printing exists and how it works, let’s move to the fun part: troubleshooting! As straightforward as direct IP printing is, there are a few possible reasons why Branch Office Direct Printing might not be working for you.

If you’ve locked the printer to accept jobs from a specific IP address for security reasons, branch office printing could fail. Printers must be configured to accept jobs from any IP address.

The problems that are typically associated with group policy printer deployments and scripting also apply to Branch Office Direct Printing in Server 2016. If you’re seeing users suffering from prolonged login processes or failed deployments, you might need to reexamine your group policy settings rather than spend time concentrating specifically on the branch office printing feature.

Some users have reported problems with Branch Office Direct Printing not working because of automatic fallbacks to server-side rendering (SSR) instead of client-side rendering (CSR). An improper printer deployment or network error can cause clients to revert to SSR when they shouldn’t.

How Can I Implement Branch Office Direct Printing without the Downsides?
Thanks to PrinterLogic, you can experience all the benefits of branch office printing—reduced WAN traffic, high availability—with none of the drawbacks. Our next-generation print management solution allows you to enjoy the simplicity and robustness of direct IP printing in any environment, including Citrix and VMware, while providing powerful centralized management, self-service installation and detailed reporting—not to mention access to advanced features like BYOD and guest printing and Pull Printing. Plus there’s no more struggling with GPOs or scripts. It’s how branch office printing was meant to be.