Condensing server printer drivers

When employees from around the globe access Open Text Corp.’s financial application sitting on a centralized Citrix Systems Inc. server, it no longer needs to host dozens of unique print drivers to enable them to print to their local printer. Today the company has one agnostic UniPrint driver for everyone.

The Waterloo, Ont.-based content management software company has about 10 to 15 applications that reside on one of eight Citrix boxes (two legacy boxes running Microsoft Corp.’s Windows NT 4.0 and six running Citrix MetaFrame XP on Windows 2003), said Mike Willson, senior IT administrator with Open Text.

Traditionally, identical print drivers would have to reside on both the server and an individual’s desktop or workstation in order for a document to be printed. From an administrative perspective this is a nightmare, since every user’s printer driver — in some large companies there are literally hundreds of different drivers being used — has to exist on the server for the document to be spooled and printed locally. “I would have to have all those drivers installed on the Citrix box,” Willson said.

In order to deal with this problem, the trend is for companies to convert a server-based application into some form of PDF (Adobe Systems Inc.’s portable document format) so it can be sent to any printer without the specific driver residing on the application server, according to Ken Weilerstein, a research director with Gartner Research.

This is precisely what UniPrint does. But there is a difference. Uni

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