Even the most hardcore proponents of Citrix environments will admit that Citrix printing leaves a lot to be desired. Part of this is because enterprise printing is already so fraught with complexity. Different operating systems running different versions of drivers for different printers produced by different manufacturers — the permutations of all the things that can go wrong are almost infinite, especially in large and distributed organizations. And printing through Citrix introduces a whole new set of possible variables that can result in all kinds of errors.
As this headache is pretty widespread, a list of best practices has sprung up around Citrix printing and how to maintain Citrix print drivers in order to smooth some of the turbulence when printing in your virtual environment. These include:
- Printing directly to the printer or print server instead of falling back on the virtual platform. This generally keeps print traffic at a minimum as it passes through the WAN to the Citrix server, which can consume valuable bandwidth and negatively impact network performance.
- Avoiding third-party drivers. Instead most admins and Citrix veterans recommend using native drivers or the Citrix Universal Printer Driver to minimize incompatibilities. At worst, these incompatibilities can crash user workstations. At best, they can hang the spooler or the print server.
- Using a common set of limited drivers (or remapping to similar client drivers) as a way to achieve stability — albeit at the risk of sacrificing basic printer functionality.
- Batch-purging old or "ghost" print jobs periodically.
- Holding out on Citrix hotfixes for fear that they might introduce new incompatibilities while addressing old ones.
- Disabling automatic driver loading to prevent the dreaded third-party drivers from being installed.
- Installing a print server at every unique physical location to help with load distribution and print management.
That's not a bad list as these things go, but it's still far from ideal. Avoiding third-party drivers? Limiting the driver pool at the expense of printer functionality? Installing print servers at every location? Those sound more like restrictions and unnecessary impositions than best practices.
When it comes to Citrix printing, PrinterLogic is the best practice you can have. Our enterprise print management solution integrates seamlessly with Citrix while leveraging its strengths and compensating for its shortcomings. That means everyone in your organization can print reliably and consistently without having to worry about conflicts between Citrix print drivers, loss of functionality, stuck jobs, heavy WAN load, additional hardware, and other Citrix printing issues.
By using PrinterLogic in conjunction with Citrix, you're able to choose between three printing methods:
- Citrix Universal Printer: PrinterLogic provisions direct IP printers to the endpoint device and then prints to the Citrix Universal Printer. This enables print job compression, driverless printing and streamlined print management.
- Session printers: Session printers are provisioned using direct IP but without the Citrix Universal Printer. This also allows for driverless printing and streamlined print management.
- Citrix auto-created printers: Here, too, direct IP session printers are provisioned. This method allows instant printer creation, improved server performance, support for the Citrix Universal Printer, proximity printing, self-service printer installation and much more.
Whichever of those Citrix printing methods you choose, it brings all the benefits—and more—intended by the best practices above, yet it shrinks the list to one quick, simple and cost-effective step: Implementing PrinterLogic.
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.