Just like urban environments, enterprise IT environments can experience a phenomenon known as sprawl—or more specifically, server sprawl.
In this blog post, we're going to look at what exactly server sprawl is, how it's often exacerbated by VDI printing and traditional enterprise print solutions like print servers, and why you really ought to take steps to curtail it. We'll also examine how serverless printing infrastructure solutions like PrinterLogic make it possible to avoid server sprawl by eliminating print servers from your environment without compromising functionality.
What is server sprawl?
Server sprawl is a gradual, insidious process that can affect any IT environment, although it tends to be most severe in enterprise environments where the size of the organization increases the scale of the technology infrastructure. Generally speaking, server sprawl comes about when organizations grow and either deploy or assimilate new infrastructure to accommodate that growth; or it happens when organizations want to add new server-based functionality and don't have the time or resources to consolidate existing infrastructure beforehand.
So, in basic terms, what is server sprawl? As its name suggests, it boils down to the addition of more and more servers to the environment, which in turn creates more moving parts that require additional oversight and maintenance. Another name for it might be solution overload.
Too many servers, too many solutions
Paradoxically, server sprawl can become an issue in organizations that make use of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions. Even though this virtualizes the computing experience for end users with the aim of reducing infrastructure, VDI printing typically relies on a server-based architecture that admins try to spread out to minimize the strain on individual servers.
VDI printing is not the only scenario that can result in server sprawl. Any enterprise print solutions that make use of multiple server instances are potential culprits, and that means most of them.
Some best practices, for example, recommend that discrete print servers and redundancy servers be deployed at each remote site in a distributed organization in order to limit user pools, decrease WAN dependence and ensure high print availability. That's sound advice if you're determined to stick with print servers. But, like warm, moist conditions are conducive to mold, distributed print servers also create the ideal circumstances for server sprawl.
Consolidate and centralize your print environment with PrinterLogic
The remedy for server sprawl is to consolidate and centralize your print environment—ideally through an enterprise print solution that can actually eliminate print servers, as opposed to something that just claims not to expand your infrastructure any further.
PrinterLogic is the next-generation enterprise print solution that combines direct-IP printing and centralized management. That unique combo offers the same advantage of a single consolidated print server but with the distributed stability of one-to-one client-to-printer connections. Admins can monitor and manage the entire print environment—even in global organizations—from a single pane of glass while end users enjoy the straightforward ease and reliability of printing directly to their desired printers.
While it's tempting to say that PrinterLogic simplifies your print environment, simplicity is often synonymous with fewer features. That's not the case here. PrinterLogic is able to integrate seamlessly with any environment and provide more capabilities than organizations had access to with their previous enterprise print solutions. Optional mobile printing, secure-release printing and print auditing modules can be used to augment powerful core features like PrinterLogic's self-service installation portal for end users and the freedom from GPOs and scripting for configuring advanced printer deployments.
Even VDI printing, notorious for contributing to server sprawl, is something PrinterLogic handles with ease. In Citrix and VMware environments, PrinterLogic enhances those solutions' native print capabilities to make printing more manageable and more reliable.
Eliminate servers to eliminate their sprawl
Whether you’re faced with the issue of server sprawl or the challenge of trying to prevent it, PrinterLogic's serverless print infrastructure is the ideal solution because it enables organizations of any size to fully eliminate print servers from their environment. At the same time, its architecture is far more robust than print servers. Thanks to a common driver repository and an intuitive admin console, PrinterLogic is also far easier to manage. That win-win scenario is precisely what QTC discovered when the organization implemented PrinterLogic across three regional headquarters and 70 remote clinics (read the case study here).
To start down the path toward eliminating server sprawl in your own organization, sign up today for a free, 30-day demo of PrinterLogic and see it in action.
Julio Garfias is the Product Support Manager at PrinterLogic, where he oversees the company’s post-sales support operations and provides vital product-development feedback based on customer needs. His previous experience includes 10+ years as a product support engineer and help-desk analyst. Julio has Windows Server Administration certifications from Microsoft and is a Certified SAFe 4 Product Owner/Product Manager. He is currently working towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications from Dixie State University.