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March 6, 2018

Introducing, Simplify Driver Management

Ready to eliminate print servers?

If there’s one thing we know, it’s that printing is a fundamental aspect of any company's IT infrastructure-- take it from us, we’ve been leading the industry for 20+ years. The concepts around enterprise printing are simple: the computers that users log into need to be able to print to various printers. People need to be mobile, they need to be able to print wherever they are working. The issue most IT pros face? Keeping up. To accomplish enterprise printing success, multiple printer drivers must be installed on every computer in the company's infrastructure, which takes up a lot of time, effort, and causes countless issues that even the most savvy admins don’t want to deal with.

One solution to these common issues is the adoption of print servers. With this solution, the IT infrastructure is split into two parts: terminal servers or workstations for users to log on to, and print servers to store drivers. Software such as Tricerat's Simplify Printing can then empower this type of environment by providing connections between the two parts using a special driver. With this infrastructure in place, drivers only need to be managed on the print servers instead of managing them on every computer in the infrastructure. This approach works well for many environments, especially virtual environments.

However, (you did know there was a ‘however,’ didn’t you!) there are many other environments where print servers cause more problems than they solve. Print servers often require additional hardware that can be costly and require additional bandwidth over the network. They complicate the IT infrastructure, adding more points of failure and more pieces to maintain. When using print servers, certain advanced features of printers such as secure print, stapling, and hole punching are often challenging to interact with and therefore you lose the ability to utilize these time saving features. Facing any of these issues? Rest assured that our Simplify Printing solution solves these issues.

Our solution? One simple to use console.

To assist in these environments, Tricerat is offering a new solution: Simplify Driver Management. This solution allows the complete elimination of print servers from a company's infrastructure! Simplify Driver Management manages the print drivers for you, installing them automatically when needed. As with other Tricerat solutions, Simplify Driver Management was built with two concepts in mind: simplicity and consistency.

Simplify Driver Management is simple to use. First, a database is created on install of any Simplify Suite product. If a Tricerat database already exists, the existing database can be referenced.

Second, the Driver Management Console is installed on existing print servers or, if no print servers exist, on a staging server where print drivers can be installed. The Driver Management Console offers a list of drivers currently in the Tricerat database, and a second list of drivers installed on the computer running the Driver Management Console. For each driver in this list, a toggle is next to it that will add it to the Tricerat database.

Third, in the Simplify Console, a printer object can be created by giving the printer a name, referencing the printer's IP address, and selecting which driver the printer should use. Additionally, both a 64-bit and 32-bit driver can be selected, and the appropriate driver will automatically be chosen when the printer is built. This object can then be assigned to any owner in the Active Directory, as well as computer names, IP addresses, or IP address ranges. Additionally, a separate settings object can be created for advanced settings such as naming conventions.

Fourth, when a user that has been assigned a printer logs on to a computer where Simplify Driver Management is installed, they will have a fully functioning printer! This printer will use the selected print driver's native interface for printer preferences, and work with advanced features that require the native driver. It's that simple!

Consistency is key.

The other concept that Simplify Driver Management was built on is consistency. If you are already familiar with Simplify Printing and want to use Driver Management, or if you start using Driver Management and in the future want to add Simplify Printing to your environment, both products as well as other Simplify Suite products use the same consistent interface.

For Simplify Driver Management, the use of the Simplify Console remains the same as the other products. Objects are created, then easily assigned to any owner in the Active Directory. Simplify Driver Management also retains the naming conventions of ScrewDrivers and Simplify Printing. Printers are not created per computer, but instead they are created per user and their names are "decorated" to make them unique. This allows users to not see printers created for other users, and it allows the cleanup of a user's printers when they log off.


Simplify Driver Management Update

Several months ago, Tricerat began offering a new solution: Simplify Driver Management, which allows the elimination of print servers from a company's infrastructure. Simplify Driver Management manages the print drivers for you, installing them automatically when needed. Over the last several months we have continued to innovate and extend the Simplify Driver Management solution, empowering you to manage your print drivers with simplicity. As a result, the Simplify Driver Management Console has undergone a complete transformation.

SDM Intro

The Improvements

1.) The Simplify Driver Management Console has been changed from a tabbed window to a single window. This window displays the list of drivers in our database on the left, and the list of printers in our database on the right, making it even easier to use.

2.) Drivers are easier to select. To import new drivers, select the driver action “Import New Drivers”. This opens a popup window that displays the list of local drivers that are not in our database, and selected drivers can then be imported.

3.) Drivers are easier to import. To import new printers, select the printer action “Import New Printers”. This opens a popup window that displays the list of printers that have been discovered on the network, and selected printers can then be imported. These imported printers create Managed Printer objects in the database with printer names and IP addresses, but no drivers assigned to them.

4.) Driver are easier to assign. To assign a driver to printers, simply select the driver, select the printers, then choose the printer action “Assign Selected Driver.” Alternatively, you can drag and drop the driver onto a printer to assign it to that printer.

Additional New Features

We've added some additional features that improve ease of use. One is that lists of drivers and printers now have filters. These filters can be used to search for a specific driver or printer, or they can be used to hide irrelevant brands or IP addresses. 32 bit drivers are hidden by default, allowing the driver and printer lists to contain less columns, simplifying the appearance. Another option assists in the task of assigning drivers to printers by hiding any printers already with assigned drivers.

In addition to the Simplify Driver Management Console redesign, Simplify Driver Management now supports the Mac platform, through the new Simplify Cross-Platform Gateway. Simplify Driver Management for the Mac still relies on assigning users Managed Printer objects with specified printer names and IP addresses, but for use on a Mac, these objects do not require a driver to be imported or selected.

Simplify Driver Management for the Mac also installs the Manage Printers application. This application is also opened from the taskbar. It allows the user to assign user allowed printers, remove user assigned printers, and change their default printer.

We are constantly working to improve our products for the administrator and the end-user. Try Simplify Driver Management for free, and let us know how it works for you, or schedule a customized demo to see how it layers seamlessly into your existing environment. 

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Published: March 6, 2018
Edited: May 21, 2018

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