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March 18, 2022

Print Servers vs Direct IP Printing

Choosing which way to support printing at your organization can be difficult but it does not need to be. Tricerat sat down with our CTO and Lead Architect for a recorded discussion about print servers and direct IP printing. Learn more about the pros and cons of each approach and check out the full video for even further insights.

Pros and Cons of Print Servers

Benefits of Print Servers: One of the primary benefits of print servers is that they are very straightforward to install and implement. Print servers also provide a central pathway for complex environments allowing Windows, Mac, and Linux (along with all sorts of printers) to communicate and work together. In addition to these benefits, end users are able to easily browse the active directory and can even add printers quickly under a centralized print server. 

Downsides of Print Servers: The biggest downside of relying on a print server is that it is a single point of failure. When the print server goes down, printing for the whole organization goes down. Though print servers can scale with an organization, you need to be sure to have servers that support your scale. This can become complex for system administrators as they need to follow the same patching architecture and have the appropriate licensing for their servers. Another downside is that when using a legacy system such as Windows for your print servers, you could become susceptible to unforeseen vulnerabilities such as the recent PrintNightmare vulnerability

Pros and Cons of Direct IP Printing

Benefits of Direct IP Printing: The biggest benefit of direct IP printing is all in its name. Print jobs flow directly to the IP address of the printer they are intended for and leave administrators with a clean network layout. Keeping a simpler print path can also lead to improvements in printing performance. User enablement is another big perk of direct IP printing that allows end users to have a bit more control while freeing up IT teams and administrators to do deal with more pressing tech issues. 

Downsides of Direct IP Printing: Giving end users more control isn't something that every organization is comfortable with as it can lead to more help desk tickets and problems for users. Where direct IP printing really lacks in comparison to print servers is in scalability. When an organization reaches hundreds or thousands of printers, the manual touching up that administration teams need to do can become overbearing and time consuming just to keep printing running.

Tricerat in Conversation: Print Servers vs Direct IP Printing

Which Approach is Right for You?

Many organizations use some combination of print servers and direct IP printing to fulfill their printing needs. Though the hybrid approach is common, usually only one of the two is heavily relied on. For many businesses that use VDI or terminal servers, print servers generally make more sense but not always. If you have a desktop based environment, then direct IP printing may be a better fit for you. It is important to note that there is not a one size fits all answer when it comes to the print server vs. direct IP printing question. Organizations should consider what is most important to them when making their decisions such as how it will impact your end users, administrative staff, and your overall efficiency. To learn more about how to enable effective printing, check out Tricerat's printing solution ScrewDrivers® in a demo today!

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