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Cloud Printing: A Technical Overview

Posted by Chris Summerhays on June 22nd, 2017

As cloud printing gains popularity and organizations begin to weigh their long-term print management options, they typically find themselves asking two important questions: First, how does cloud printing stack up against traditional print management paradigms? And second, how do cloud printing solutions stack up against one another?

To help you better understand cloud printing in general and answer those questions in particular, what follows is a very concise technical overview that will cover the basics of what software-as-a-service (SaaS) cloud printing is and how it compares to traditional print management solutions.

Traditional enterprise print management infrastructures generally consist of a fleet of networked printers and one or more print servers. Those infrastructures could be physically separated across multiple sites or they could be confined to a single building. They might have ten printers or they might have 10,000. Irrespective of those parameters, these print environments adopt one of two models: consolidated, with a single centralized print server, or distributed, with multiple localized print servers spread throughout the organization. A third type of print environment is direct IP, in which no print server acts as a "middleman" and clients are directly associated with network printers. In some respects, cloud printing solutions are not all that dissimilar to these models.

Where SaaS cloud printing solutions differ is that they take the administrative component of these on-premise print management paradigms and transfer it offsite, making it accessible through an online portal. That provides obvious benefits such as centralized administration, reduced hardware infrastructure, and seamless upgrades, but it also increases dependence on the wide-area network (WAN) because printing is now managed and relayed via the cloud-based hub. If the WAN becomes inaccessible for any reason, cloud printing becomes unavailable through most cloud printing solutions.

Furthermore, the limitations of some cloud printing options make these next-gen solutions incompatible with legacy printers, forcing your organization along a narrow upgrade path in the future. In some cases, cloud printing solutions are designed to work better with certain brands of software and therefore confine your organization to a specific app ecosystem.

When cloud printing solutions operate in this way, they replicate a few of the unwanted shortcomings of traditional print infrastructures and even introduce a few of their own. PrinterCloud, on the other hand, is a SaaS cloud printing solution that has been developed to overcome all these issues and deliver all the cloud printing options and cloud printing functionality you expect.

With PrinterCloud from PrinterLogic, your organization can easily migrate its print servers to the cloud using a simple import tool that copies printer names, location, IP address, drivers, profiles and other vital information right into PrinterCloud. Then, using any software distribution mechanism, you'll silently deploy the PrinterCloud client onto any print-enabled workstation. From that point on, you can completely eliminate your physical print servers and let PrinterCloud handle print management and negotiate cloud printing. The key benefit that PrinterCloud has over other cloud printing solutions is that an Internet connection is not necessary for printing. That's because PrinterCloud establishes reliable direct IP connections between workstations and printers.

Through PrinterCloud's unique paradigm, admins enjoy the convenient centralized administration of cloud printing along with the ability to deploy printers individually or en masse without having to rely on group policy objects (GPOs) or scripts. Your end users, meanwhile, experience a stability and an availability that is hard for other cloud printing solutions to match. PrinterCloud is also compatible with all printer makes and models right out of the box, so you can imbue your existing printer fleet with cloud printing functionality in one fell swoop. PrinterCloud even integrates seamlessly with virtual environments like Citrix or VMware.

Whether you're comparing it to traditional print management solutions or other cloud printing solutions, PrinterCloud is the flexible, cost-effective, next-generation print management paradigm that comes out head and shoulders above.

Chris Summerhays
Chris Summerhays
Before becoming PrinterLogic's Technical Marketing Engineer, I spent more than two years as as a Systems Engineer and Sales Engineer working side by side with IT professionals to eliminate print servers from their environment. I have a Bachelors in Information Technology and love learning about all of the new and innovating solutions that continue to revolutionize the IT industry.

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