Printing has traditionally been one of the more challenging areas of VDI and SBC projects for reasons such as third-party drivers, challenging network conditions and employee mobility. The good news is that Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop provides the features you need to be successful. Citrix Consulting recently updated the printing section of the Virtual Desktop Handbook (Design / Resource Layer / Personalization / Printing) with details on these features and the printing related design decisions that you must consider.

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Some of the areas covered include:

Printer provisioning

–       Deciding which printers will be created in the user’s session. Will they see their default printer only, all of their printers, locally attached printers or session based printers defined by the administrator?

–       Determining if users will see the same printers in every session or if it may vary.

Print driver management

–       Deciding which print drivers to use: Windows native, universal, manufacturer’s or a combination of all.

–       Determining how the print drivers will be installed if the universal driver is not used.

–       Applying print drivers consistently to all XenApp servers to ensure the same user experience in each session. Knowing when to deploy the Citrix Universal Print Server.

–       Developing a plan for updating print drivers.

–       Determining if there is a need to support users printing from thin clients, or non-Windows based devices like a Mac or Chromebook.

Print job routing

–       Determining how print jobs should be routed. Will all the components involved in printing (XenApp/XenDesktop controller, printer, client device, and/or print server) reside on the same LAN?

–       Developing a strategy for routing print jobs to a branch office with or without a local print server, or to a user working from home.

–       Determining how to optimize WAN printing when the print server and client device are not local to the XenApp/XenDesktop controller.

Printer selection

–       Deciding how users will select their printer: automatically, manually, Citrix Universal Printer, etc.

–       Deciding if users will be allowed to print to locally attached printers. For example, a company with highly sensitive information may prohibit users working from home from printing to locally attached printers.

–       Determining which printers will be available for users that roam throughout the day or users that travel to different branch offices periodically.

These are just some of the printing related design decisions. I encourage you to read the latest printing section in the Citrix Virtual Desktop Handbook for a complete list as well as details on how you can fully leverage the powerful printing capabilities included with Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop. The chapter provides guidance and best practices from Citrix Consulting’s experience working with a wide variety of customers. We welcome your feedback and ideas on additional content.

Ed Duncan – Sr. Consultant
Worldwide Consulting
Desktop & Apps Team
Virtual Desktop Handbook
Project Accelerator