Print management and print server management aren't one and the same, although it's surprising how many organizations tend to assume that the two are inextricably linked. Print management is about administering your organization's entire print environment—installing printers, deploying drivers, overseeing printing activity and queues, and so forth.
Print server management, on the other hand, is a time-consuming subset of print management that primarily involves trying to keep a print server up and running or reliably performing its basic functions. The reason print server management is so resource intensive is because print servers have a number of deficiencies that actually complicate the broader process of print management.
But how can you identify and deal with those deficiencies? Here are some clues.
Slow printing and downtime: In distributed print environments with a centralized infrastructure, slow printing can be a telltale sign of a print server deficiency. What happens is that the WAN link, so crucial to print functionality, is overtaxed. Because all print jobs first need to travel to the central print server (via the WAN) then back to the local printer (again via the WAN), this can create a chokepoint during periods of heavy printing and Internet usage.
The first sign of slow printing will be frustrated end users! Some of those end users might suffer in silence, but it's more likely that they will call the service desk to report the problem, which often results in the support team wasting time fielding calls instead of dealing with the root cause. Although stopgap solutions like WAN accelerators might help speed up network traffic, they won't address this underlying deficiency of print servers—nor can they prevent the organization-wide printing downtime that results when the central print server crashes.
Driver conflicts: If you've ever encountered driver issues, especially with regard to 32- and 64-bit incompatibilities, you've come across yet another print server deficiency. One of the headaches of print server management is dealing with different versions of the same driver and ensuring that they aren't mistakenly deployed to incompatible clients when new printers are installed.
These driver issues are a perfect example of print server management adding extra hassle to print management in general. Over the years print servers have tried to avoid this confusion and put additional compatibility safeguards in place, but the fact remains that different driver versions and print servers rarely play well together.
Print-related service desk calls: Regular print-related calls to the service desk are a sure sign of a print server deficiency—although which deficiency in particular can be hard to pin down. It could be because an end user is unable to locate a printer or is having trouble installing one. Or it could be due to one of the many routine print server management problems: stuck print jobs, improperly deployed printers or drivers, hangs, you name it.
The easiest way to eliminate these print server deficiencies is to eliminate print servers outright. PrinterLogic makes that possible. Our tried-and-tested software solution removes the persistent, time-consuming problem (and cost) of print server management and gives you straightforward, streamlined print management for your entire organization with incredible features like enterprise-wide print administration from a single pane of glass, effortless printer and driver deployment, self-service installation for end users, and tons more. Why struggle with print server management when you can simply have print management instead?
Before becoming PrinterLogic's Technical Product Manager, Chris spent more than four years as a Technical Product Engineer, Systems Engineer, and Sales Engineer—working side by side with IT professionals to eliminate print servers from their environment. He has a B.S. degree in Information Technology and loves learning about all of the new and innovating solutions that continue to revolutionize the IT industry.