Enterprise Print Server Deployment Strategies

Posted by Devin Anderson

Deploying print servers in the enterprise is no small task. Given the number of variables and moving parts that must be dealt with to ensure a smooth roll-out, it’s best to have a strategy in place beforehand. And that’s true even when using something automated like a print server migration tool to expedite the process of deploying a new print server to replace or supplement an existing one.

The first choice you’ll have to make is whether you want the network print server to be centralized or localized. A centralized print server is simpler in theory because it involves deploying a single print server for the entire organization. The advantage of this method is that it’s more consolidated and allows for easier oversight. Yet the overarching problem when implementing the centralized strategy is that printing could be halted or disrupted across the enterprise while the network print server is being deployed and the printers, drivers, users and workstations are being configured.

There are more persistent problems when deploying print servers according to a centralized strategy. In distributed environments, remote sites rely heavily on the WAN link to the central print servers. If the WAN link goes down at the remote site, so does printing. If the WAN becomes overtaxed for any reason, the potential exists for printing to slow down. You will also need at least one up-to-date, fully coordinated secondary print server for the sake of redundancy in the event of a primary print server outage, which significantly increases the costs associated with maintenance and operation.

Instead you might opt for the second general strategy: deploying print servers locally. This avoids some of the WAN risks of centralized deployment but it creates a very fragmented environment that is more difficult to manage. In many cases, it requires onsite support for each network print server location, because the inherent problem with print servers—namely, single points of failure—doesn’t change in a decentralized distributed environment.

Let’s say you already have one of these strategies in place and you’re deploying print servers using a print server migration tool with the intention of upgrading or consolidating. As handy as these automated tools can be, it’s not unusual for them to end up saving very little time in the long run. They can choke on customized driver profiles or fail to import devices according to existing group policy object (GPO) configurations. Any custom scripts you might have in place will also likely have to be rewritten. The cleanup and verification process after using a print server migration tool could take as long as it would have taken to add everything manually from scratch.

But any strategy you use when deploying print servers is predicated on the notion that print servers are actually necessary.

They’re not.

With PrinterLogic, it’s possible to eliminate every network print server in your organization through a single instance of our next-generation print management solution. You can even use our simple migration tool to import all your devices and configurations unchanged into a brand new PrinterLogic deployment. From there, you can leverage our intuitive centralized console to install and deploy printers without ever having to touch a GPO or script again.

That’s why the best enterprise print server deployment strategy isn’t deployment at all – it’s eliminating them for good using PrinterLogic. In return, you’ll get reduced infrastructure, decreased costs of maintenance, increased ease of management and greater reliability.