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June 26, 2019 by Bas van Kaam
Last month I (virtually) sat down with Andrew Parlette, CTO of Tricerat. We’ve been in contact before and I was wondering if they have anything special up their sleeve regarding the upcoming Windows Virtual Desktop release. As it turns out, their Simplify Print Suite fits in very nicely. Of course, if you know their product stack this doesn’t come as a surprise.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out their portfolio, and/or you’re not familiar with terms like ‘ScrewDriver’ and ‘Simplify Printing’, I would advise you to stop reading and head over to this post for some more detailed information. You’ll need it to get a better understanding of what it is they do from a printing and traffic flow perspective.
Even though they were not listed as one of Microsoft’s partners when WVD was announced a couple of months ago, there have been talks with Microsoft for some time now. Both parties are exploring how they can benefit from each other, and things are starting to look promising. When it comes to the WVD there are two specific Tricerat solutions that stand out, Simplify Profiles and Simplify Printing. The latter being the main focus of this article, and part two as well.
Easy Print, Microsoft’s RDS printing solution, which was introduced with Windows Server 2008, allows the mapping of client printers into the an RDS session. It uses the Easy Print universal print driver, so you don’t need to have separate drivers installed for the printers that are being redirected.
One of the downsides is that Easy Print is specific to client printer redirection and doesn’t work for network printers. Another drawback is that Easy Print cannot be set as default. Meaning that Microsoft-native drivers automatically get installed when the server detects a new print device with no compatible drivers on board. It being a universal solution, also means that more advanced printing features won’t be available. This is where Tricerat comes in.
In short, here are some of the benefits that Tricerat brings to WVD:
In a future post I’ll make sure to talk a bit more about how the Proxy mechanism works, the ports used, print traffic flow, what other sub components are needed and where they are installed, the protocol used and more. For now I’d like to leave you with the above Visio. Although it doesn’t disclose any specific technical details, it does give you a nice conceptual overview of how all components fit together.