Digital clutter is no different to physical clutter. At the very least, it hinders efficiency. At its worst, it can cause serious complications. In the realm of print server management, too many drivers cluttering a repository can result in software conflicts, user confusion and background processes that hog resources. That's why eliminating unnecessary drivers is considered best practice in print server management.
How can you tell if there are too many drivers hosted on your print server? First, there's the simple sight method. Take a look at your driver repository and determine how many of those drivers are actually in active use and how many are remnants of legacy machines you replaced long ago, how many were simply swept up in past print server migrations, and how many are outdated versions you've kept for rollback purposes. With all the day-to-day busyness that print server management involves, sometimes it's easy to forget to do the necessary housekeeping.
Next, consider performance. Are jobs taking forever to spool? Are users complaining of a long delay between clicking "Print" and actually getting their print jobs? Is your print server crashing or hanging more than usual? That could be a sign that the monitoring services that (often very poorly coded) drivers typically install are getting out of hand. Even when you uninstall those drivers, they tend to leave their monitoring services behind. Sluggish print server performance is a key indicator that this monitoring software is building up or that there are too many drivers for the print servers to handle comfortably in high-volume print environments. Proper print server configuration and a proactive approach to driver management can help alleviate some of these performance problems.
Finally, examine the end-user experience. If end users are encountering basic issues like failed printer installations and printing errors, there's a good chance that too many drivers are hosted on the print server and are causing conflicts—especially in mixed 32-bit and 64-bit environments. Provided you're able to absorb the additional costs of hardware and management, a print server configuration that puts 32-bit drivers on one server and 64-bit drivers on another could prevent some of these driver conflicts from occurring. In other cases, standardizing drivers or switching to universal printer drivers might be the best solution.
Print server migration is a great opportunity to begin sorting through the clutter in your driver repository. The upgrade and migration process gives you the chance to review your existing setup and start somewhat fresh. However, it might make sense to avoid automated print server migration tools, as these make it all too easy to transfer even the messier aspects of your existing print server configuration. In the name of saving time, you could end up with a brand new server that has just as much clutter as the old one. And that will only cause the same problems down the road.
Instead of engaging in the long, expensive process of print server migration or wasting hours trying to tweak your print server configuration, why not do away with print server management altogether? PrinterLogic's next-generation print management solution allows you to eliminate print servers completely while actually gaining functionality.
PrinterLogic's centralized administration console lets you manage printers as well as drivers from a single pane of glass anywhere in the organization, making it easy to clean up your repository, disable or completely remove drivers with a click, and avoid the accumulation of legacy drivers.
With more than 15 years of product marketing experience, Jordan has been been instrumental in helping IT software companies produce valuable software solutions and achieve growth. From IT desktop operations to infrastructure and security, Jordan has talked and written about sound IT best practices, amazing time and money saving products, and industry trends. At PrinterLogic, he leads the company's product marketing efforts and loves talking about how organizations of all sizes can eliminate the need for print servers.