SEH Takes Print Load Off Windows ServersBy Frank Ohlhorst | Posted 2009-04-21 Email Print
Spooling print jobs in the enterprise chews up clock cycles and devours system resources. SEH offers an appliance to shift the burden off busy servers.
Surprisingly, very little thought is given to processing print jobs these days. After all, network operating systems all natively handle print spooling and make sharing printer resources a snap. While that may sound like a good thing, managing print jobs can be a resource-intensive process for a server, especially in a busy enterprise. What’s more, today’s servers may live in data centers miles away from that local shared printer, creating a double penalty of distance and resource use, which adds up to a very inefficient process.
SEH is aiming to ban those inefficiencies with a line of intelligent spooling devices called spool servers. SEH offers several different spool servers, ranging from the ISD300 meant for workgroups to the ISD410, which is designed for enterprises needing management and spooling for hundreds of printers.
The idea behind the spool servers is simple—move all network printing chores to a dedicated appliance that combines advanced management with ease of use to build a centralized print solution.
All of SEH’s spooling devices can perform double duty as a "ThinPrint" Gateway, which receives compressed spool data from a centralized print server. The goal with a ThinPrint gateway is to reduce the amount of bandwidth that printing requires, especially over long-distance broadband connections. ThinPrint technology compresses printing jobs and delivers those jobs to the remote device, which then decompresses the data for local printing.
We took a closer look at the ISD300 to see what was involved in setting the device up, how well it integrates into a Windows network and how easy it is to use. The ISD300 is available in a number of versions, each of which functions the same, but offers slightly different capabilities. SEH offers the standard ISD300, a unit that uses an SSD hard drive (ISD300-SSD) and a device that supports power over Ethernet (ISD300-POE).
The ISD300 connects to the network using Ethernet or Fast Ethernet and is managed via a browser-based interface. The unit features an LCD panel on the front and a couple of navigation buttons, which makes it easy to set the IP address and other network settings used.
Once the unit has a valid IP address, all setup chores and management take place via a browser-based console. Initial programming of the device proves to be pretty straightforward; the ISD300 has the ability to detect all of the existing network printers and automatically configure print queues. In new networks, the auto-detect and wizard-driven nature of the device speeds things up, making installation almost a no-brainer for most technicians.
Established networks will need a little more work, mostly removing old print queues, changing settings on desktops and servers, as well as integrating the ISD300 with Active Directory, where applicable. Once the basic configuration is accomplished, administrators can drill down into other settings, ranging from job scheduling to user security to job management options.
Users will find the product very intuitive. The Web-based console makes it easy to control jobs, request multiple copies, schedule when jobs should print, store jobs for later output and so on. Advanced capabilities include the creation of "copy queues," which allow a print job to simultaneously print on multiple printers, as well as auto rerouting print queues, if the selected printer is down.
Usability benefits aside, the ISD300 offers another advantage—the ability to reduce server loads by as much as 40 percent. SEH claims in busy environments, print jobs can tax servers and increase utilization rates some 40 percent.
The ISD300 has an MSRP of $1,495. The company offers a partner program for certified resellers that offer margins as high as 25 percent. Street prices on the ISD300 run at about $1,300.