Serverless Printing in Global Enterprises
Wednesday, September 06, 2017
by Linda van der Westen
The term “serverless printing software,” some people claim, is inaccurate at best. Software must be installed and run on some computing platform — a server — so how can anyone offer a truly serverless print solution?
However, if you define “serverless printing” as printing without the use of a print spool server, it is more than possible. It is available today and running in customer environments around the globe. LRS offers serverless print software that lets you eliminate print spool servers from your infrastructure while maintaining a high degree of management and control. The LRS software has to run on some server in your environment, although it does not have to be a dedicated server. Efficient and elegant, but is this truly serverless? Let me explain.
First, let’s take a closer look at the way Windows printing works. Normally a file would be submitted for print and it would travel to the server, go through various checks and then be sent to the printer. When you implement the LRS serverless solution, the print job (data) does not travel to the server. Instead it stays on the user workstation. All of the information about the print job is sent to the server, so all checks can be performed, policies can be applied and records can be stored. Then, when the system is done performing checks, the print job will go straight from the user workstation to the printer.
This system offers a number of benefits. First and foremost, it allows large organizations to consolidate their print servers, which greatly reduces overhead. Second, it greatly reduces the time IT needs to spend on managing the printing environment. Think about the driver and configuration updates needed to maintain print servers in a typical environment. With the LRS solution, administrators are able to monitor and maintain the print environment from a central location. They can troubleshoot problems without tracking down each corresponding server. Companies that have gone serverless report dramatic improvements in their IT department work processes.
End users also enjoy two benefits from going serverless. Since no spool server is required in the print process, employees can continue to print their files as long as there is a connection to the printer. Another benefit is the ability to validate print drivers before sending data to the printer. Each time someone hits print, the system checks to see that the proper driver is installed. If not, the system automatically installs it so the document prints correctly without any user intervention. Imagine the alternative; if users experienced errors or were not able to print, they would call the helpdesk. Unhappy users and a busy IT department… a bad combination. Luckily, LRS software prevents this.
Serverless printing saves the organization a great amount of money. It simplifies life for IT and it increases printing availability. So why aren’t we all going serverless for Windows desktop printing? That’s a good question, but one for which we do not have a clear answer. Traditional Windows Print Server environments still dominate the majority of large enterprises, along with the associated costs. Alternatives are available, but they come with uncertainties.
We previously created a list of 10 questions to ask when selecting your print solution. This is a place to start if you are trying to decide which printing approach best meets your needs. You might find yourself switching to a serverless printing environment as well. Those who have gone before you will tell you it is well worth it!