System administrators always have to deal with the intricacies of print management. Although this is part of their job description, it can be challenging to figure out the best way to configure the printing environment.
The question is: “Should you use a print server or would direct IP printing be better for your print environment? Both methods have upsides and downsides that are worth noting.
Direct IP printing
As most businesses carry out their everyday processes, they cannot do without direct IP printing. For admins, this configuration is straightforward to set up as all they need to do is locate model numbers and IPs. Then, they create a link to the machine of the user manually. This style of printing has benefits like:
- The local machine spools print jobs which leads to reduced network traffic.
- You enjoy reduced cost and very minimal need for maintenance
- Users have direct control over their print settings, as well as drivers.
- Since you won’t find a central print server here, the network is devoid of any failure points.
Even if direct IP printing comes with significant upsides in terms of lowering costs, as well as eliminating printing downtime, they have to be managed manually. Admins must give individual machines specific attention.
Using a print server
Direct IP printing may look like a viable solution for small print environments. But what happens when you need to expand? It becomes more challenging to manage and is no longer a good fit. This is where print servers come into the mix, and they have lots of upsides in corporate settings:
- They eliminate issues related to printing while boosting organizational
- They require print management from a central point which is more convenient for system admins.
- You can quickly implement driver updates on a large scale since they are automated.
- Using a server guarantees you a more secure environment as it becomes easier to monitor what, where, and who is printing.
- You get the ease of control over printer profile settings for users.
- The task of managing diverse print jobs and ascertaining their sizes and statuses in the queue is easier.
The risk that comes with using print servers is the vulnerability you experience from having a single failure point. You also have to deal with heavy costs arising from vital activities like maintenance, software licensing, as well as procuring expensive hardware.
The verdict – direct IP printing vs print servers
As you can see, using any of the two environments will present some upsides or downsides. Choosing what configuration to go with for your printing environment has more to do with the nature of your business needs.
Are you a small office that runs on a small desktop environment and needs a simplified solution? You might consider direct IP printing which is well equipped to handle all your needs. But if the desktop environment is larger, it may be a good choice to opt for a print server. On the contrary, if you want to have the best that both worlds bring, you can find a solution that integrates both configurations.
No matter what your choice of configuration is, here’s an important point to keep in mind. You need to go with a print solution that helps to achieve your goal of productivity and efficiency. Such an environment must create fewer issues for the IT department, reduce the costs of operations, and enhance workflows.