SAP is the world’s leading ERP solution that processes operational data and manages complex business processes in enterprise organizations. Organizations, like manufacturing and distribution that require continuous delivery of printed orders and invoices to keep their systems running, rely on highly available printing methods.
Print Servers and High Availability
The typical method of printing from SAP is through a print server—often Windows print servers. On the back end, SAPWIN hands an initiated job to a print server running SAPSprint, which then processes and delivers to a standalone SAP print queue to finally be printed.
Windows print servers may do the job of managing the high volumes of printing from your SAP environment, but what happens when hardware fails and halts printing? Microsoft deprecated print spooler clustering in Windows Server 2012 and instead, to maintain redundancy, put their print servers behind a load balancer to split print traffic. Unfortunately, when a print job has already been received or a print queue has an error, those jobs won’t print and often the load balancer won’t detect the failure.
Connection interruptions and hardware failures aside, print servers in complex print and output webs require continued maintenance by trained IT professionals which fills up daily schedules. We’ve spoken to admins like you who struggle with the demand of managing complex print server environments. We recommend:
- Reducing print server hardware
- Consolidating front- and back-end printing
- Adopting Zero Trust values
If you’re asking yourself, “Is this even possible?”, we have the answer, and PrinterLogic has the solution you’re looking for.
How can I reduce print server hardware while maintaining redundancy?
The end-to-end process without a print server is simple when you have PrinterLogic facilitating your back-end printing from SAP. Here’s what that process looks like:
All of your existing print queues are migrated into PrinterLogic using our built-in migration utility. From there, you can deploy those queues to your end users automatically. If you’re an existing PrinterLogic customer, you have likely already done this and are one step ahead!
Your print job originates from your SAP environment and is sent over TCP 515 to a designated Service Client, a lightweight desktop LPD Service that intercepts your jobs from SAP and routes them to your printers. These can run anywhere you want, but we recommend hosting them on an existing utility server used for other (non-printing related) tasks. You can spin up multiple Service Clients to achieve redundancy and high availability that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do with your old print servers. Your print job data and metadata are received and analyzed by the LPD Service to determine where and how it will be printed.
A copy of the job persists in your own configured storage solution until the job is printed; either via direct IP printing or held securely until manual release with no threat of interruptions from connectivity loss. That’s it! All without the need for print server clustering.
What is meant by front- and back-end printing consolidation?
There is generally a disconnect between SAP back-end printing, print server management, and general office printing. With PrinterLogic’s cloud-based Administrative Console, administrators can have control over all back-end configuration and redundancy and the entire printing lifecycle, while still maintaining visibility to front-end printers and print activity. No more managing a web of print servers and output locations when the entire process can be consolidated on a unified platform from a single pane of glass.
How can I adopt Zero Trust on top of all of this?
We understand that managing network security in a complex net of print servers is time-consuming and stressful (that’s why we got rid of our print servers). Zero Trust levels the playing field for all employees by demanding verification from everyone. There are a few print methods that follow this principle:
- Off-Network Printing allows your guest or contracted users to print without you giving them access to the local network. Off-network jobs pass through a load-balanced gateway on your instance, then release via authentication at the printer.
- Secure Release Printing holds print jobs on the queue until identity authentication at the printer to ensure all proprietary information gets into the right hands. PrinterLogic offers these features and more in our add-on Advanced Security Bundle.
In addition to secure print methods that help you adopt a Zero Trust environment, there are new features currently in progress with our development teams, which will offer even more output and print management capabilities.
It just works! PrinterLogic gives you centralized administration control to ease your security management burden while maintaining high availability in every print job. We think you’ll be pleased with what you see.
We’d love to hear from you and discuss the PrinterLogic Output Management solution further. If you’re interested in interfacing with a member of our team, contact your PrinterLogic representative or schedule a demo here.