Posted by Chris Poole
The thin client architecture is ideal for environments that want to maintain a high degree of flexibility and a relatively low level of maintenance. Instead of having to touch each workstation when a change is needed, admins can often make single server-side changes that affect the entire client pool. That can save them as well as their end users a ton of hassle. But thin client printing? Well, that’s another story.
Owing to the very nature of the thin client setup, basic printing and print management can be exponentially more problematic even in these centrally managed environments. Instead of trying to address every one of those problems in this brief space, I want to look at one of the most universal issues: slow thin client printing.
Server-side computing is, of course, heavily dependent on the WAN connection, which links the local client to the server in the data center. If WAN throughput is diminished or interrupted in any way, client-side performance and functionality will invariably be compromised. This is especially true with routine printing, because it requires print-related interactions from the user on the endpoint device followed by print data being sent back and forth across the WAN to the local printer. When either one of those steps is affected as a result of limited bandwidth or a broken WAN connection, the user is bound to experience thin client printing issues in the form of speed or just general errors.
That’s a big vulnerability to contend with. Although WAN connections usually aren’t prone to daily or weekly outages, their performance can be seriously impacted every single day during high-traffic periods. And because printing can be fairly data-intensive, even when jobs are compressed, the demands of print-related network traffic can affect the bandwidth required for an optimal thin client computing experience throughout the day.
WAN load balancing or failover strategies can certainly be implemented in mission-critical scenarios, but these can also be expensive and require more admin oversight. That would unfortunately offset some of the inherent advantages of thin client solutions. As a result, many organizations simply accept slow thin client printing as a necessary drawback.
The good—and possibly surprising—news is that you don’t have to compromise. Thin client printing problems that stem from network bandwidth can be addressed quickly, seamlessly and cost-effectively with PrinterLogic, a next-generation, on-premises print management solution that leverages proven direct IP printing and uniquely combines it with powerful centralized management.
By establishing direct IP connections between clients and printers, PrinterLogic helps to reduce the print data traffic that travels across the WAN. Print jobs no longer have to make multiple network hops to arrive at the local printer, which circumvents a major cause of slow thin client printing. No print compression or WAN accelerator technologies are needed.
Another great advantage of PrinterLogic is that you can eliminate print servers from your thin client environment, regardless of whether you have them deployed locally or centrally. This not only removes another potential slowdown or point of failure from the network path, it also helps address longstanding thin client printing issues with driver management, printer deployment and downtime from spooler crashes.
PrinterLogic deploys rapidly even in large or customized environments, such as Citrix and VMware, and through the elimination of GPOs and scripts and the introduction of a self-service installation portal, it simplifies print management as effectively as it addresses the underlying causes of slow thin client printing. If your organization migrated to a thin client environment in part to reduce the time spent on management, you’re not enjoying the full benefits until you’ve implemented PrinterLogic.