Posted by Chris Poole
Citrix Virtual Desktops is the go-to virtual desktop interface (VDI) solution for thousands of organizations. Whether large or small, niche or mainstream, they use Virtual Desktops to deliver a consistent, centrally managed desktop experience to their users.
Yet there’s still one challenge that almost all of them continue to face, and that’s with Citrix printing. In this post, we’ll explore those challenges—and identify a single solution to them—by looking at how VDI printing in Virtual Desktops compares to integrating with PrinterLogic.
Of course, in VDI environments like Citrix, virtual device printing doesn’t take just one form. When provisioning printers, organizations can opt to use the Citrix Universal Print Driver (UPD), they can auto-create client printers, or they can assign network printers to individual users through, say, proximity (aka location-based) printing.
Each provisioning method has pros and cons. With the UPD, for instance, thin clients and mobile devices with limited functionality enjoy the ability to print to network printers, but the ability to configure local printer settings is disabled. In other words, advanced features are exchanged for broader support. When setting up location-based Citrix printing, configurations have to be mirrored and painstakingly maintained across every print server in the print environment.
Which Citrix printing method an organization chooses will depend on its priorities and the intricacies of its environment. But here, too, they all face a common challenge—namely, that enterprise print management in Citrix is simply overwhelming, regardless of how printers are provisioned. The group policy objects (GPOs) and scripts that admins use to deploy printers are complex and unreliable. Hard-to-pinpoint rogue printer drivers—or simply having too many print drivers—can cause the print spooler to crash, which then results in costly and frustrating print downtime for end users. The heavy WAN utilization of the traditional VDI printing model slows all network traffic, including print jobs, and can create bottlenecks and single points of failure.
These issues naturally tend to generate an excessive number of help-desk calls, and this has knock-on effects of its own. It drains support resources, drives up IT costs and kills end-user productivity. To try and keep Citrix printing under control, organizations often go out in search of additional print-management software, but many of these solutions are just bolt-on products that restrict them to a particular method of VDI printing and don’t feel like a native complement to Citrix.
Seamless integration, enhanced Citrix printing options
PrinterLogic is a next-generation print-management software solution that integrates seamlessly with Virtual Desktops and preserves the native printing options in Citrix. Unlike traditional VDI printing solutions, PrinterLogic deploys right alongside Citrix to enhance its existing provisioning methods and bring order and ease of use to the Citrix print-management experience.
With PrinterLogic, there’s no need to use GPOs and scripts. Admins can deploy printers easily, accurately and reliably to end users—both individually and en masse—using basic Active Directory (AD criteria) or other parameters like IP ranges and MAC addresses. This makes it possible to capitalize on features that are vital to many VDI printing scenarios, such as proximity printing, while eliminating some of the biggest enterprise print-management headaches in Virtual Desktops.
And PrinterLogic eliminates more than just provisioning headaches. One of PrinterLogic’s chief strengths compared to Citrix printing and other print-management software is its ability to eliminate print servers altogether. The unique direct-IP printing model that PrinterLogic leverages allows print jobs to take the simplest route from the local Virtual Desktops client to the local printer, which reduces print-related WAN traffic, avoids common spooler issues and minimizes the number of potentially problematic network waypoints.
A proven solution to VDI printing challenges
Banner Bank, APi Group, VCPI and Children’s Bureau have all implemented PrinterLogic’s print-management software to regain control of Citrix and VDI printing. APi Group took advantage of PrinterLogic’s centrally managed unified driver repository for its 160 global locations, making the driver update and installation processes in its massive Citrix environment effortless and error-free. In a highly distributed Virtual Apps Citrix printing environment, Banner Bank shrank its remote server infrastructure to zero while also doing the same for print-related WAN traffic—two outcomes that are usually mutually exclusive!
If you’re under the impression that robust Citrix printing and hassle-free enterprise print management are also mutually exclusive, we encourage you to try a full-featured demo of PrinterLogic for 30 days at no cost. We’re confident it will change your opinion of what’s possible with VDI printing.