As static, deskbound workforces morph into dynamic, mobile ones and IT departments take steps to maximize functionality while reducing infrastructure, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions have already become attractive options for organizations that want to cut down on overhead without sacrificing flexibility or features. However, one sticking point in the adoption of virtual solutions is VDI printing.
This has created what you might call two general virtual desktop printing scenarios. One involves making do with the virtual solution's built-in printing capabilities. Admittedly, with the addition of features like location-based (proximity) printing, this native functionality has progressed by leaps and bounds over the years in major VDI solutions like Citrix and VMware. Yet it still has its share of shortcomings, particularly with regard to print management.
The second scenario involves adding a dedicated VDI printing solution to the environment in an attempt to replace the native VDI printing capability outright. These extra solutions might make it easier to introduce sought-after features like secure printing into the print environment, but they also add another layer of complexity. Instead of dealing with just one virtual solution, admins now have to oversee and manage multiple solutions that each address a discrete aspect of the virtual environment.
Perennial Pain Points in Virtual Desktop Printing
Depending on the approach to VDI printing that an organization chooses, it stands to experience multiple pain points that never really go away. For example, native printing functionality is typically undermined by a lack of control over printer deployments. Admins simply don't have tools with the granular precision they need to provision the right printers to the right users reliably and automatically across the entire organization.
Meanwhile, despite their compatibility claims, third-party VDI printing solutions are often hamstrung by poor integration with the primary VDI solution or the organization’s wider IT environment. Each use case is a little different, and many VDI printing solutions lack the versatility and scalability that are necessary to adapt to every single implementation. To overcome this, they’ll place restrictions on software and hardware that can severely limit the organization’s room to maneuver.
One pain point that’s common to both types of virtual desktop printing approaches is the extra burden they place on the IT support staff, whether that be the help desk (which fields the reports of the issues) or admins (who are then tasked with troubleshooting and correcting the problem). The increased volume and frequency of support tickets and help-desk calls from VDI printing errors creates a drain on resources that can be expensive, time-consuming and ultimately a hindrance to the organization’s success.
The PrinterLogic Solution to VDI Printing
Rather than try to replace the native virtual desktop printing capabilities of a particular VDI solution, PrinterLogic augments and enhances those capabilities. That enables our advanced print-management solution to integrate seamlessly with popular virtual solutions like Citrix and VMware in even the most specialized and challenging environments. By the same token, PrinterLogic introduces more control and flexibility into the print environment, providing admins with a VDI printing platform that works with them, not against them.
Here are some of the specific ways PrinterLogic transforms VDI printing:
- Effortless location-based printing: Also referred to as proximity printing, this deployment method provisions printers to users automatically based on criteria such as their IP address. This allows all users—even roaming employees—within a particular IP range to print to a nearby printer with minimal configuration on the administrative side.
- Dynamic and automated deployments: In addition to proximity printing, admins can automatically assign printers to users based on a number of Active Directory (AD) criteria, including user, group, and organizational unit (OU). This gives admins the ideal tool to set up deployments with surgical precision under ever-changing conditions. Furthermore, PrinterLogic eliminates the need for GPOs and scripts in these advanced deployments, which can speed up login times and avoid common installation errors.
- Direct IP connections: Depending on the provisioning method, PrinterLogic's next-generation VDI printing solution establishes one-to-one connections between the client and the printer. In addition to making virtual desktop printing faster and more robust, this cuts down on the excessive WAN traffic that can adversely impact the user experience in VDI environments.
- Self-service installation: PrinterLogic features a convenient self-service printer installation portal that empowers end users with the ability to easily identify and install printers that are close to them. They simply visit the web-based portal through their browser, view printers that are laid out on an optional floor plan map and then install their desired printer with a single click.
The proof of the effectiveness and efficiency of PrinterLogic lies in the implementation. Hrvatska pošta (Croatian Post) considered PrinterLogic to be a pivotal component in the success of its Citrix-based Private Cloud initiative (detailed in this case study), and La Roche College found PrinterLogic's versatile VDI printing solution to be central to its migration to VMware (as they explain here).
To see how PrinterLogic can enhance your current VDI printing experience or aid in your organization's migration to a VDI environment, sign up today for a free 30-day trial of our serverless software solution.
Chris is a Product Manager at PrinterLogic and focuses on the end-user experience and add-on modules. He has degrees in mechanical engineering and accounting, and has owned several small businesses. Chris organizes IT customer requirements and funnels them to the development team for use in future software releases. His goal is improving PrinterLogic’s solution to help IT be more effective and to ensure a smooth end-user printing experience.