Posted by Chris Summerhays
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.