As part of the natural upgrade cycle, it's not uncommon for organizations to migrate to the latest Windows Server release out of familiarity or force of habit. And even though Windows Server 2012 R2 (or 2016, for that matter) have some useful print-management benefits, they don’t do nearly enough to solve the underlying problems with print servers.
As a result, many organizations still struggle with longstanding print-management problems—even after a server upgrade. Let's look at some of the perpetual issues associated with the latest Windows Server iterations and consider why your organization may want to move to PrinterLogic or PrinterCloud for print management instead.
Print servers, regardless of their underlying OS, are typically deployed in one of two configurations: distributed or consolidated. Both have serious drawbacks. When localized print servers are distributed throughout an organization, it creates a fragmented environment that complicates centralized print management—especially when it comes to managing drivers.
When print servers are consolidated, centralized print management is somewhat easier, but network performance takes a hit because print jobs need to travel to the main server and then back to the local printer.
This is especially problematic with remote sites, where the WAN connection becomes the lone lifeline to the primary server. To sum it up, when it comes to print management, using print servers in either scenario leaves organizations with a difficult choice between a rock and a hard place.
Most organizations using Windows Server 2012 R2, 2016, or earlier iterations rely on group policy for printer deployment. This would be okay if setting up group policy objects (GPOs) were straightforward and reliable, but nothing could be further from the truth.
The harsh reality is that GPOs are a tangle of hierarchies and contingencies that are notorious for interfacing poorly with Active Directory in enterprise environments. When print-management GPOs malfunction, printers fail to deploy correctly and users are left with the inability to print, grayed-out printers, missing printers or a jumble of duplicates. That invariably leads to a call to the help desk, where the support team can be thwarted by group policy's strict rights management, which restricts control of certain deployments and printing properties to administrators in the name of security.
The result: The failed deployment then becomes a time-sensitive support ticket waiting on admin intervention.
Limited control, limited oversight
You wouldn't know it from their popularity, but print servers don't make print management easy or intuitive—and that's as true for admins as it is for end users. Adjusting printing properties or driver profiles for groups of users or departments can take an admin hours, and still not result in the desired default settings.
The simple act of installing a printer can force end users to hunt through confusing directory trees and force them to guess at the correct printer based on cryptic naming conventions. What’s more, print servers offer limited visibility into the print environment, making effective auditing a challenge that can lead to the added expense of a third-party solution.
PrinterLogic and PrinterCloud: The next generation of printing solutions
The problems IT and users suffer through with Windows print servers are solved with PrinterLogic. Our enterprise print-management software enables you to eliminate your print servers entirely while retaining the benefits of centralized print management from a single pane of glass.
With PrinterLogic, you’ll have granular control over printing properties, powerful print-management options and oversight, and precision deployments with none of the GPOs and rights management headaches that come with servers.
Whether you use our traditional, on-prem solution, or the SaaS version, PrinterCloud, both solutions reduce physical infrastructure (and the attendant hard and soft costs), slash print-related help-desk expenses, and improve performance, manageability and user satisfaction.
And whether you deploy PrinterLogic in a mid-sized, one-location firm, or across a highly distributed enterprise, you no longer have to worry about print-related network bottlenecks. PrinterLogic’s patent-pending approach, using centrally managed direct-IP printing, relays print jobs direct from the client workstation to the destination printer. No WAN hops are necessary.
Printer deployments are easier and more convenient for both the admin and the end user. Admins can deliver printers to users via PrinterLogic's easy-to-configure automated deployments through a seamless Active Directory integration, or users can install a printer on their own by visiting our acclaimed self-installation portal to install a nearby device, using a visual floor plan map, on their own, with a single click (and without costly help-desk interventions).
Check out these stats: PrinterLogic enjoys a customer retention rate of 97 percent. More than 85 percent of PrinterLogic customers report an ROI within one year, and many see a 200% ROI within two years. And if that weren’t enough, PrinterLogic’s Net Promoter Score (NPS), a broadly accepted customer loyalty metric, is higher than Sony and Apple.
Seeing is believing, though, which is why we encourage you to sign up for a full-featured demo today. Test drive PrinterLogic or PrinterCloud for 30 days. Experience how its effortless, enterprise-class centralized print management stacks up against Windows print servers in your organization.
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.