RTFM Education – Virtualization, VMware, Citrix

Feb 29 2008   12:50PM GMT

VMworld Europe 2008: Day Three: Breakout Session: VDI and “High” Performance Printing

MikeLaverick MikeLaverick Profile: MikeLaverick

Anyone who has done even a little bit of Microsoft Terminal Services or Citrix WhatEverWeAreCallingItThisYear 4.5 will know that THE biggest pain point in a thin-client environment is printing. Sure we have come along way from Windows 9x drivers getting “accidentally” installed to Window NT4.x TSE and causing a BSOD. But a lot of back slapping from MS and Citrix is not the order of the day. Printing is still a problem. What exactly are the issues? Well, for the uninitiated thin-client virgin (is that you? Keep your head down, nobody will notice) it boils down to this. Printer drivers suck. I speak from a position of knowing some guys at HP who will involved in printer driver management/creation who almost had nervous breakdowns (it’s a long story) because of damn things.

Anyway, rant apart its stuff like massive ballooning of print job size – from a file that 10MB you can have print job that’s 200MB. You try putting that down a 128kps/256kps/512kps pipe. It’s call network constipation. You gonna need a major suppository after trying this – and will be looking for solution pretty quick. Secondly, solutions that have attempted to solve this inherent logical problem – the Virtual/Citrix desktop is in the Corp Datacenter is in Palo Alto but the user is Papa New Guinea have invariable compromised functionality in order to reduce job size. Whether its Citrix Universal Printer Driver (oxy-moron/contradiction in terms anyone?) to UniPrint’s PDF solution.  By no-means the new-kid-on-the block – thinPrint (founded circa 1999) is a solution which I’ve never tested/used/played with. So in the spirit of curiosity and also this VDM project I mentioned earlier I attended this session. Other issues you find with printing aside from obese print jobs – is the mapping process. How do you map network printers and client printers in the RDP session, to the actual destination device.  Sure all the major vendors have a technology that simplifies the problem. They call it by number names – but the main word is “Automatic”. You see this is a sunny day process – sometimes it works, and yes you guessed sometimes it doesn’t. Anyone who’s had fun with Wyse terminals on the CE platform will know what I’m talking about here. But hey, never mind – just log out and login again.

This is the just the kind of nitty-gritty thorn-in-the-side, PTA issue that curiously does not get address in C-class Keynote session. The inconvenient truth as some guy in the US put it. You might not know this that this apparently a very strong relationship between Citrix and VMware. From what I’ve heard there is an awful lot of bodies at VMware who are former Citrix personnel.  So you would think this one that VDM would have well taped. However, it does seem that VMware is leaving this up to the mature 3rd party print solution market. Make sense. That would be expensive, plus it gives you someone to blame it all on when it doesn’t work.

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