Archive for the ‘printing’ tag
One of my customers had a requirement where they wanted there users to not copy & paste from an application and also being not able to print documents. How could you resolve that requirement? Quite easy with ThinApp as I’ve learned. I’ve asked my fellow colleague Tim Arenz, who’s a ThinApp specialist at VMware Professional Services and he came of course up with a solution. I’ve asked him if he could write a blog post about it and he did! Please visit his blog to see what ThinApp is able to.
Great article on configuring location based printing for VMware View desktops on the VMFOCUS blog. Check Craig’s article if you want to learn more about ThinPrint, Printer Drivers and how to setup the printing in VMware View.
Several times I’ve written about the VMware View Virtual Printing on this blog, but mostly about the functionallity, not about the fundamental printing concepts of the solution. This is what I want to achive with this new article. With the Virtual Printing component you can compress and encrypt the print stream from the virtual desktop, to reduce the bandwidth consumption on the network, LAN and WAN. This article will show you which concepts can be used for printing, to get use your network ressources as efficient as possible. Let’s take a look at the fundamental information about printing in physical and virtual environments.
The concept of printing in a physical desktop environment should be familiar for you. The printer is connected via USB or the network to the client computer. Of course there are some cases where customers still use parallel or serial printers but those should be rare. The print job is generated by the application i.e. Microsoft Word and then send to the local spooler on the desktop and after that to the printer via USB or network connection for printing. Only when printing to a network based printer, the network is utilized by the print stream. In those scenarios the network printers are usually in the same network segment what means that you don’t need to print over a WAN.
In a VDI environment this printing behaviord change slightly. The fundamental printing is the same: The application on the virtual desktop generates the data, sends it to the spooler of the Windows OS and then transfers it to the printer. The difference here is that the printer is not directly connected to the virtual desktop but to the access device, like a PC or a Thin- or Zero-Client. This means that the virtual desktops firstly sends the data to the access device and from there to the printer connected via USB or the network. In a VDI environment without Virtual Printing components this means an overhead of data communication between the virtual desktop and the access device. Depending on the network bandwidth, the line could be utilized. In a LAN environemnt you won’t have an effect on the network but in a WAN with low bandwidth it could affect your network performance.
For this reason VMware integrated Virtual Printing in the enterprise desktop solution VMware View. VMware has signed a OEM agreement with ThinPrint/Cortado and used their efficient .Print Engine for print stream optimization. The compoenent offers you a seamless compress and encryption solution. The client and server componets will be installed with the VMware View Agent and Client software. The print job which usually would affect the network bandwidth is compressed and encrypted and sent through a virtual channel in the display protocol. This helps to reduce the network bandwith. The Virtual Printing component is free and comes with VMware View.
Windows and Linux access devices are supported for the .Print Engine. If you’re using Zero-Clients where you don’t have a chance to install additional software and drivers you can use other ThinPrint techniques to optimize the print stream. Additionally to the .Print Engine, ThinPrint offers internal (i.e. HP, Kyocera, Epson…) and external print server modules with partners like SEH. With those boxes you can directly print from the virtual desktop, to a connected network printer without the need for installing software or drivers on the access device. SEH offers for example the TPG60 and TPG120 box. They can be installed and configured very easily. For more information please check the ThinPrint and/or SEH website. If you’re using such a box, the printing scenario again changes a bit. Now the virtual desktop is printing directly to the print server box, without going the detour over the access device and uses the compression and encryption functionallity of ThinPrint.
The setup of a homogene IT environment with a mix of virtual and physical desktop + Terminal Servers is no problem at all. You can use the free Virtual Printing option of VMware View and for the other devices you can get the .Print Engine or ThinPrint Print Gateways and manage the whole infrastructure with the ThinPrint management tools.
A great enhancement in VMware View 4.5 is the Location based Printing feature. With Location based Printing you can always print on a network printer, which is located nearest to you. The feature can be enabled via a Microsoft Windows Group Policy option and is computer specific. The functionality is relatively easy. There is a translation table which contains rules e.g. Map printer NP54621 if the client’s IP address is in the range 192.168.178.10-192.168.178.40. If the user logs on from a client device which is in the given IP address range, the network printer will automatically be mapped into the virtual desktop session. This is great for people who often change their workplace as seen in the healthcare or financial areas but there are a lot more good use cases for that.