Printers are still integral to most businesses, a fact that is a contributing factor to burgeoning printer market, which is expected to reach $83 billion in revenue by 2026. Losing access to print functions via any number of factors, from software glitches to hardware breakdowns can cause a tidal wave of negative impacts, from skyrocketing labor costs, lost productivity, the cost of recovery, and don’t forget the reputational damage that can result when business continuity is affected.
For those reasons — and more — smart companies are laser-focused on fixing glitches in their print infrastructure, typically tagging overburdened IT or system administration personnel to put out the fires. However, there is inherent cost in this method, and some businesses do not have ample human resources budget to hire enough IT talent to handle these issues.
Many companies choose to outsource oversight of their print environment to a third-party partner that can help them make smart decisions on choosing the right infrastructure to prevent this kind of print holdups. In this article, we will take a closer look at two options to optimize printing: print servers and direct IP printing.
Choosing Between Direct IP Printing and Print Servers
Making the choice between print servers and direct IP printing is typically the job of system administrators or in-house IT personnel. However, often these individuals don’t have an in-depth knowledge of print infrastructure, so making this choice can be a difficult one. Here are some basics to consider about each:
The function of a print servers is to connect client endpoint devices like desktop or laptops to printers. The servers will take the print job from the endpoint and send it to the printer designated for that device.
There are many advantages to using print servers to handle your printing tasks:
- They can scale easily, even in complex print environments.
- It is easy for servers to handle increased loads.
- Servers can prioritize jobs on the fly.
- Server setup is simple, and servers can be updated without fussing with settings on each endpoint device.
- Print management can be consolidated on one system to reduce user error.
- Protocols, including job processing, print policies, and job deletion can be controlled by admin.
- Servers provide simple end-user interface.
- Print servers support print reporting and auditing for clarity and visibility.
Of course, the drawback is that print servers increase the workload for your in-house IT team, and if you don’t have one, they can be difficult to deploy and manage. Plus, they are a single point of failure, putting you at risk of downtime in the event of a malfunction.
Direct IP Printing
Direct IP printing works just as it sounds: A user sends a print job directly to a printer from their endpoint device, without a server in the middle to distribute the job. There are advantages to using this style of printing for your business, including:
- Increased efficiency by allowing workers to send jobs directly to printers.
- Any problems with the system such as printer driver issues affects only one user at a time rather than your entire infrastructure.
- Your end users are empowered to manage their own printing, perfect for departments with various needs.
- Relieves your network of the workload of print traffic and reduces the need for IT intervention.
However, printer drivers must be configured for each endpoint, which can be time consuming. Software updates and printer changes become onerous, with modifications having to be conducted on every workstation. Oversight and management is reduced and it is more difficult to scale.
Partner with Perry proTECH for Your Printing Needs
It should be apparent from this article that the right solution will very much depend on the goals and challenges your business is facing. If your company is more centralized, with little need for scalability or dynamic change, then direct IP printing may be the best choice. However, if you operate within a hybrid or remote work environment, or your business is growing or evolving quickly, print servers will give you more control and allow for faster expansion.
At Perry proTECH, we have a team of print management experts that can assist you in designing and maintaining the best print environment for your business needs and budget. No in-house IT? No problem. Our team can help you create and sustain your print environment from start to finish.
Get expert help designing the right print scenario for your business. Contact a Perry proTECH consultant and discuss which printing options are best for the specific needs and challenges your company is facing today.