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Is Serverless Printing Right for You?

February 19, 2018 No Comments

Featured article by Henning Volkmer, President and CEO of ThinPrint Inc. and Cortado Inc.

Do you remember your Exchange server? Gone. CRM and accompanying database servers? Gone. “XYZ” server. Gone.

My point being: IT has undergone a rather quick shift from a focus on infrastructure to a focus on service. Applications and functions are now provided as an on demand service, consumed as needed to lower cost and increase operational efficiency.

This trend is on the verge of consuming another long-standing server role: the print server. It has great advantages in certain scenarios, but it was never truly loved. However, for a lack of alternatives print servers stuck around. Attempts on its life have been made, but they really just replaced one server with another to manage printing.

Now, solutions like ezeep Dash capitalize on a recent trend from the Hybrid Cloud category where management functions move to the cloud, while more sensitive data handling remains on premise. In this scenario, users have access to a managed direct-IP system where drivers are installed directly on a Mac or PC, enabling the ability to print directly to a printer on the network.

By using a hybrid cloud approach, admins can easily customize usage parameters based on a group membership, location or preference. In each case, the correct printer driver and configuration is automatically downloaded and installed to the user’s machine, no admin rights or know-how required.

User experience is also an important consideration for everyone involved. From the user of the Mac or PC to the person in charge of setting up and supporting each computer – serverless printing can play an important role in accomplishing productivity goals. This is primarily due to its key feature of extremely easy onboarding of users and printers.

A solution like ezeep Dash is unique in coming pre-loaded with a driver store to eliminate the traditional setup process of gathering all the drivers needed for the printers in the environment. This is a significant advantage over other solutions that replace print servers with other print management servers that are essentially a blank slate.

Instead of focusing on user needs and preferences by drawing on pre-loaded resources, admins without a pre-loaded driver store need to find, package and load drivers, setup complex mapping tools and most importantly deploy, secure and manage the servers to run these solutions.

With ezeep Dash, printers are quickly located by combining the driver information with the printers IP address, name etc., and then ready to be deployed to the user’s computers.

The final step in the process is the serverless printing roll-out process that deploys a user agent to each computer. There are two options to accomplish this. The first is to install printers automatically based on a users location or group membership. The second is to enable a user self-service option. In this scenario, users are presented with the ability to pick printers from a (curated) list and add them to their computers without any driver searches, admin privileges or other costly assistance from the IT team.

It’s important to note that serverless printing might not be the best option for everyone. As much as print servers may not be the favorite server of IT teams around the globe, they can be a great option in certain scenarios. This is especially true when they are not run as a bare bone Windows Server installation, but properly configured and enhanced with enterprise print management tools like ThinPrint Engine.

Such use cases include applications run centrally in data centers or cloud services like AWS or Azure that need to send out large amounts of print data to different locations. It also includes virtualized environments, especially those run buy SaaS or PaaS vendors for their customers. And, they certainly include companies that are looking for centralized monitoring and access controls or a separation of workstation and printers into different networks (to prevent easy access to valuable data stored on printer’s memory from a rogue workstation).

Third-party print management solutions can add proper, print-specific high availability, eliminate printer specific drivers on workstations without sacrificing functionality and significantly reduce print data traffic through advanced, adaptive compression and speed cache methods. This not only reduces network congestion and ensures other services are delivered with high quality, but also ensures that printing is quick, productive and meets users needs.

However, if your organization does not fit into the above circumstances, serverless printing can deliver significant benefits. Cloud-based management and local print processing and printing is an incredibly simple, easy and affordable choice for all organizations using a more workstation-centric approach where applications are installed on the users Mac or PC and print data is generated by these applications. They can greatly simplify print management, virtually eliminate help desk calls and ensure users are always happy and have access to just the right printers to finish their tasks.

Just how easy is serverless printing? With the right solution a rollout of a couple of printers to an initial group of users is easily completed in 15 minutes or less. You can’t beat that.


volkmer 150x150 IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: Market trends, Innovation and Cloud Managed Printing

Henning Volkmer is the president and CEO of ThinPrint Inc. and Cortado Inc. He drives the execution of ThinPrint’s strategy as the leading provider of print management software and services for businesses across the Americas. Volkmer has been at the forefront of technology trends for the past seventeen years, helping to shape both the future of desktops, as well as printing. In addition to holding various positions within the Cortado group, Volkmer served as part of a project team focused on reducing costs in the network infrastructure division with what is now Nokia Networks. Under Volkmer’s direction, ThinPrint brand has increased its lead as the premier print management software, optimizing printing from traditional PCs, mobile devices, thin clients, virtual desktops, or from the cloud for over 25,000 companies across all industries and of all sizes.

Originally from Berlin, Volkmer currently resides in Denver.


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