Enterprise Print Management Blog

Print servers: are they history or still serving a purpose?

Posted by Linda van der Westen on Mon, Mar 27, 2017 @ 13:03 PM


Do we need print servers? Can we print without them? The answer can be both yes and no to these questions. You need print servers unless you have a solution like Cirrato*. And you can print without them if you have a solution like Cirrato. But does that mean that print servers can officially be called a thing of the past, or do they still serve a purpose?

We all know it: print servers are a bit of a nightmare to manage. But as long as they were required (which they were for a long time), there was no way around them. in particular the part of applying updates to the servers can cause headaches. There is not a single IT professional who will say that it is a fun task. They can also be slow in processing print jobs, but there are ways to speed them up. Still, print servers have challenges and problems. And printing (nearly always) relies on a connection with the print server, so it can turn into a real problem when that server cannot be reached.

It comes as no surprise that a solution was found to help deal with these trouble makers. And this solution is based on direct IP printing. No need for a print server to process print jobs. Instead, print jobs go straight from the user workstation to the printer. But as great as this sounds the print servers are also the place where many organizations have software installed to control and manage printing. So if such a solution is installed, print servers are still back in the game and far from being history. Or are they not?

That is the part where it gets interesting. With Cirrato, you can remove all print serves, but one. That one server will receive information about each job being printed and it will check four things:

  • Is the user allowed to print?
  • Do rules need to be applied?
  • Is the printer available?
  • Is the correct print driver installed?

The server also stores a record of each print job for reporting purposes. This one server offers control and the software includes all of the common print management features. And by using direct IP printing, the one server is enough. So even those organizations that have a print management solution implemented, can remove the print servers and switch to Cirrato while they enjoy the same control over their print environment.

The above describes our solution. Earlier we said that print servers are not needed if you have a solution like Cirrato. Keyword being ‘like’ as in ‘similar to’. Fact is, there are quite a few of them out there. Some might serve certain organizations well, while others have limitations that make them unsuitable. We listed some of the key questions to ask in this article: http://blog.cirrato.com/blog/what-to-look-out-for-when-selecting-your-single-server-printing-solution-part-i

There are scenarios where print servers are still required. So they are not (yet) ready for retirement. Not even a solution like Cirrato can provide a way around them in some cases. They still serve a purpose in VDI environments for example. But for many organizations, IT professionals can say goodbye to their print servers. To logging changes and repeating the changes for each individual server. They can also say goodbye to the many helpdesk calls when printing does not work as it should. They can enjoy one single point of control over their printing environment. It saves them time and the company money. So goodbye print servers and hello Cirrato.

* Some environments will depend on print servers, such as companies working with Citrix

Topics: consolidating print servers, centralized print management