One of the major challenges facing an Architect in a VDI environment is Printing. Why you may ask? The reason is there are so many use cases for printing, each presenting its own challenges that need careful thought and planning to address. So I intend to write a few posts dedicated to printing for both VMware and Citrix VDI. But first let me start with the basics. So today, I will start the series with covering the basics of Citrix printing for those who might be new to Citrix.
Not too long ago, administrators used to install all print drivers on Citrix XenApp servers so users can print directly. The issue was too many drivers got installed on those clean pristine XenApp servers which often led to driver conflicts that lead to server crashes. Another added challange, was keeping track of all the these drivers and updating them on a regular basis on all the Citrix servers. A full time job on its cown! So Citrix came up with Universal Print Server (UPS) which is basically a simple code that creates a soap interface that connects your XenDesktop server with print server. The UPS is installed on your Print Server. UPS allowed Citrix servers to communicate directly and forward any print jobs from users to the print server. This worked out great, as you no longer needed to install print drivers on your Citrix Servers.
Below is a basic diagram to explain the two basic components in Citrix printing, UPS and UPD. You can see a user in New York connected locally to the Citrix Server and his print job is sent to the local print server which has UPS installed on it.
This worked perfectly until you introduced remote users. Example a remote user in London working from his home. When he connects to his Citrix XenDesktop in New York and he needs to print, he will want to use his personal bubble inkjet printer located in his home and not the office printer in New York. Often administrators would install these personal printer drivers on the Citrix XenDesktop server. Now imagine you have 500 remote users located all over the world with their different personal printers. Do you really want to install and update and risk manage all these drivers on your XenDeskop servers? Most likely not. So Citrix again came up with a solution called Universal Print Driver (UPD). UPD is a universal driver that works (communicates) with most printers and eliminates the need for personal print drivers. You install the UPD on your Citrix Servers so when users connect to Citrix Servers and want to print, the print job will be sent directly from the Citrix Server back to the personal printer located at users home office. So UPD is a great choice when you do not have access to a print server locally.
I hope this basic review of Citrix printing was helpful. I plan on having more in depth coverage of different use cases and their unique challenges that I have run into on client sites and how I resolved them.
Thank you for reading.