In our last post, we alluded to an emerging alternative to the traditional print server architecture, which delivers a compelling TCO argument. Today, we will discuss direct IP network printing, which utilizes idle desktop CPU cycles and takes pressure off traditional network print servers. IT managers today face tough decisions when planning network printing architectures. Optimizing resources to optimize network bandwidth, while maintaining users’ print performance and security requirements, is a high priority.
In the case of direct IP network printing, there is a reduced need for print servers. Studies have found that desktop PCs and laptops have 60-80% CPU idle time that is largely underutilized. Why not tap into these CPU resources and leverage them? Direct IP printing does just that. Instead of print jobs being routed from the desktop client to a print server on the network, they are executed directly from the desktop or laptop unit to a local LAN printer. This network print management architecture offers tremendous value in organizations where there are large numbers of remote offices or branches. Examples might be banks or retailers. In this case, this architecture eliminates the need for a print server in each remote office or store.
The benefits of this architecture are many: With direct IP network printing, there are no print server costs. Print jobs use the local spooler on the user’s device to take advantage of local computing. Each user can manage printer settings direct for improved flexibility and control. Additionally, if a print job fails, it only affects one user, as opposed to many more users who might otherwise share a print server, dramatically reducing productivity barriers caused by offline printers.
A closer look
As previously discussed, IT organizations continuously seek ways to optimize their network infrastructure to ensure they are not only utilizing computing resources to support business applications, but also to support their users printing requirements. Direct IP network printing enables IT organizations to tap into desktop PCs idle CPU cycles and can reduce network bandwidth consumption.
This is a great approach from a CPU utilization perspective, but what about the other elements of print management? Print management means gaining control over your printing from a variety of angles:
- Centralized Resource management
- Optimizing printer and printing costs
- Optimizing print server resources and utilization
- Centralized Printing administration
- Managing the print spooler priorities
- Managing optimal print drivers
- Managing printer settings
- Tracking/auditing printer usage by user and/or department
- Prioritizing print queues and print jobs
- Secure (Authenticated) Printing
- Convenient Access for the mobile (BYOD) user
Develop the right strategy
In most cases, today’s print management solutions really only address these issues using traditional print server architectures. In general, while direct IP-based network printing provides an interesting use case from a resource optimization perspective, there are few direct IP-based print management solutions which truly tackle the IT and business issues outlined above. Learn how you can develop an effective print management strategy, one that focuses on fleet optimization, security, cost reduction and network infrastructure.
While this is an emerging solution area and only a few companies offer comprehensive print management for direct IP based network printing architectures, there also seems to be a lack of awareness in many IT organizations regarding the availability of print management solutions which can support the best network printing infrastructure – whether it be print server based, or direct IP network printing, or a combination of the two.
In a future blog article, we will take a look at where it makes sense to deploy traditional print-server based architectures versus direct-IP based network printing from a TCO perspective.