Why Print via NetWare?
Novell Cool Solutions: Trench
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Posted: 20 Apr 2004
We recently posted this Q&A, and have received additional suggestions.
Question: I've just been charged with upgrading our printing environment. The original thought called for building a print server, NW6, and moving to iPrint. Currently our "print queues" run on one of our NW6 servers, and were just pulled over from the NW411 server in the upgrade.
The one thing I like about iPrint is the website feature -- click a link, the drivers are installed and off the user goes on the new printer. However I was just speaking to someone who suggested just printing straight to the IP address and taking NetWare out of it.
In my environment, all the printers are on one LAN, no WAN connections, and no one will print from anywhere but in the office. All the printers are HP with JetDirect cards. All the users are running XP. If the printers are setup on the users by just pointing to the IP address, it seems to work pretty well.
I guess I'm wondering what the major benefit is to using NetWare to print? Our main use for NetWare has always been file and print services, and if I remove the printing services, it's just one more reason for my company to move off of Novell.
Answer: In our opinion, the biggest benefit, besides the fabulous user experience offered by iPrint, is speed and convenience whenever you need to make any changes to your configuration. If the printer's IP address ever changes, you'll need to hit all the clients. And printing straight IP won't give you some features such as automatic driver installation, device security, etc. Bottom line, if your office ever moves or configuration changes are made you will have to visit everyone or set something up to run automatically to change all of the configs.
(Of course, you might be planning to retire before anything changes, so maybe none of this matters to you. But spare a thought for the new guy!)
Anyone have any other benefits to add to this? Fire away.
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Because it's the best way to keep a list of all your printers! We have close to a hundred printers scattered around many sites and if we didn't have a central place (NDS) to see all of our printers we would probably forget where they are, or that we even have some of them!
This is another option rather than go to iPrint. You don't have to touch each pc. You can use the Windows 2000 and XP resource kit and install the printers via a batch file, that can run on login and update the printers. This eliminates the touch-a-machine option. Yes, if you have hundreds of printers then keeping track of them in NDS is nice, but you also don't need to actually use the queues to print. You can still do it straight IP via the workstation.
Update: One additional feature that I left out was that when the server crashes, the students can still print if they use IP printing. If you have the workstations setup correctly, they can still run and print, even with a downed server that is being rebooted.
Automatic driver installation is great. Especially if you ever upgrade your printers and the drivers aren't provided with the computer's operating system.
Update: I emailed a response recently stating that I prefer iPrint vs IP printing for security reasons. Since then I've done some testing and have discovered that iPrint doesn't provide the printer security that I thought I had.
With iPrint, I can "secure" the printer and only allow selected NDS groups or users access. If iPrint is using IP, then the printer isn't truly secure. Anyone with IP printing capability can circumvent NDPS security by printing directly to the printer's IP address.
Access control at the user or group level. YOU can decide which group of users gets to use the fancy new super-expensive color laser printer to print WORK related documents and keep those off that would use it to print up pics of their cat.
I don't know how big your environment is, but how would you manage all the individual IP printers? eDirectory gives you central management of printers and driver delivery (even with limited user rights!). And it gives you the chance to monitor the printing. Add in Pcounter or such and you have full accounting available whether you use queues, NDPS or iPrint.
More on the big picture... Have you introduced the other nice features of NW6 in your environment? Like Netstorage, iFolder, NSS, LDAP, CIFS, NFS and so on?
Printer driver distribution with ZENworks, central managment and security (we do not want the students in the labs to change the IP adress of their installed printers and print on other schools' printers!) are the reasons why we use NDPS.
Answer: The queue, silly! If the printer is down, the jobs still batch. Printer comes up, jobs print.
One other simple reason to keep NetWare printing is then the job can be handed off to the server and it can handle queuing. Otherwise the workstations will be doing all the work.
I have to agree with the above -- going to every workstation is a big time-consumer, especially in a school environment. With Novell ZENworks working for you, you can deploy printers in an hour to hundreds of workstations. Also, if the printer model is changed, all you have to do is change drivers and assign the same name to the IP address and the user doesn't feel a thing! Totally admin friendly!!
The best way to manage your print jobs. Keep big jobs in hold. Start smaller jobs. Move jobs to other PA?s. I can see no way to do this, when printing directly to the IP address!
Some of our users still need the ability to capture printer ports (because the software they use requires a printer attached to a LPT port). As far as I know, capturing is not an option in IP printing.
We had a remote office that was printing directly to a printer's IP address. When that branch drew close to 25 people, the printer couldn't handle the load. The users were printing large graphics that flooded the printer. We installed a NetWare server with NDPS printing and the problem was solved. The NetwWare server could queue up the jobs and feed them to the printer at a rate it could handle.
Ever open up a JetDirect card to the Internet? iPrint allows you to print from outside your organization's network without worrying about 'printer spammers'.
Another benefit we find with using NetWare Print Services is Job Ownership. The ability to identify who sent which print job is essential to our operation. With our Xerox DocuCentre Printer/Copier, for example, the user can see the list of job owners from the printer panel and perform many document management functions on his/her own. Also with the banner page print jobs are easily identifiable.
We recently lost the NDPS server and had to rebuild this over a weekend. Since all the NDPS data was in NDS we just needed to point at the BROKER and NDPS Manager and all of the printers were automagically created. This was a HUGE timesaver!
Don't forget print pooling.....the ability to send print jobs to a pool of similar printers and have the job routed to the most available printer. If one printer is down, for whatever reason, the job still prints!!
By using a NetWare(Queue) based solution, rather than direct printing you can introduce third-party tools that provide auditing information based on the jobs printed.
Uhhhh. Have you ever tried doing without it? The JetDirect cards and Windows clients cannot handle the queuing that is neccessary. As we transitioned from IPX to Pure IP we tried for a minute without, and users' print jobs were getting combined with other users' print jobs. Printers were running out of memory (HP8000, 4500, 5500, Xerox DocuCenter's etc...) As you can see they are Enterprise class printers that have plenty of memory and in some cases hard drives. IT technicians were having to visit users' desktops to install the printers. This is just the beginning of the list of issues that we ran into.
As for the argument of needing to re-install the printer on each workstation anytime you change the IP address, it doesn't hold much water if you assign the IP address a DNS name. Easy workaround.
Still, that workaround in my opinion is worth it for the value that a NW6 or 6.5 server gives you with iPrint. What is one thing that users across the world know how to use on a computer? A browser. The ability for users to go to a central place to find and install printers via a browser, wow. This has saved our company thousands of dollars in support calls alone.
As was stated in a previous reply, the ability for users to access the printers externally has shown a huge time savings to our users. For example, users will send a large presentation to a printer from home, then drive into work, pick up the completed job and go onto the customer or meeting.
These are just some of the benefits of iPrint. Best thing since sliced bread. :)
If security is not an issue and you don't have a cluster of printers, create two printers. Set up one printer through Novell for the queue management in case the printer is temporarily offline and you don't lose the job. The other Printer is setup with IP Printing to the printer directly, in case the server is down and you are unable to get to the queue.
Different answer/solution for everyone's different environment.
Also IP-only printing can do all of the automated printer/driver installs. You simply need the right tools/OS for your users needs.
Oh and best of all you CAN secure IP printing, there are SEVERAL ways to secure an IP printer so that only certain people can print to it. Again depending on your environment and how you want to do it, if you have/willing to get right tools, if you have enough time, and if you feel it is the best, feasible, time/cost saving solution.
From my experience, the NetWare Print Manager actually acts as a spooler for the printers. For example, you are printing a pretty big and complicated file. If you print it direct to the printer via the IP address, it might print out garbage due to insufficient memory. However, it can be solved by printing it via NetWare. Let the Print Manager handle it, and feed it to the printer as it can take it.
Printer installation as a restricted user!
We use descriptive names for our printers/print queues so the name changes when the printer changes. Not a problem for restricted users if you use iPrint 1.10 or greater; turn on user level printers and even the most restricted can connect to the queue and install the appropriate driver. No trips to the desktop, no remote control sessions, many happy users!
The "crock" comment at the bottom is a crock itself.
Set the security on the print server box to allow connections only from the iPrint server.
We print directly (and also via NetWare queues) to these servers without problems. Just use IPX (IPX???? yes IPX, for printing only). No installation changes needed after IP address modifications. If station and printer server are both connected to the same LAN segment, then the Novell server doesn't need to know about it. If they are connected to different segments, tell the server about the IPX protocol (and route IPX) and voila they print.
Ever have a print job bog down the printer? With straight IP printing it is almost impossible to determine which workstation is the culprit!
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