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Cirrato Technical Whitepaper

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Print management should be the least of a company\'s problems! See how Cirrato\'s unique setup takes care of the traditional annoyances that printing typically causes for a large organization.

Print management should be the least of a company\'s problems! See how Cirrato\'s unique setup takes care of the traditional annoyances that printing typically causes for a large organization.


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  • 1. White Paper
  • 2. Page 2 (15) Printing environment redesigned Managing large volumes of printed and digital output from disparate systems to diverse destinations is complex and error-prone. Standard print management capabilities are usually basic and platform-specific, leading to integration, network and administration problems. These problems are further compounded by the introduction of new electronic delivery channels. Operational efficiency gains and print cost reductions are offset by implementation costs, higher administration overheads and printer problems. Business is increasingly competitive and keeping control of costs are critical to success. Printed documents are fundamental to business, today and for the foreseeable future. Gartner research have found that knowledge workers waste up to 8 hours per week as a result of information delivery inefficiencies. Gartner also found that most organisations underestimate the cost of printing by 30 -50 per cent because only obvious hardware and consumable charges are included in the calculation. Printing has become a costly area of IT operations for today's large enterprises. In general the requirements boil down to being able to deliver application print data over IP networks to local and remote printers. The demands on speed, reliability, efficiency and control naturally vary depending on the nature of the print data. A company with an occasional need to print out email hard copies cannot be compared with a bank or insurance company printing large volumes of checks and/or invoices. Many professionals in large enterprises find the actual cost associated with printing surprisingly high. Very few realize just how much they are spending on printing and even more important, are not aware of what can be done to reduce these costs. Studies by independent market analysts indicate that few network managers and IT departments track printing costs at all. By carefully evaluating the total cost of printing and other hardcopy solutions plus the cost for supplies and support any enterprise can establish a correct base for a plan to significantly reduce the costs. Issues that affect printing and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) A number of trends drive hardcopy costs in today's large enterprise. Understanding these trends can help an enterprise determine what contributes to high costs in its specific environment.
  • 3. Page 3 (15) Requirements & Challenges A number of different technologies have surfaced through the years fulfilling the demands above to different levels. From methods that simply forward entire print packets encapsulated in TCP/IP, to sessions on host systems that convert data to ASCII and make use of standard TCP/IP print methods. All with their own advantages and drawbacks. Although a lot of effort has been made trying to make improvements, there is still no method available besides Cirrato that will fully match all aspects of printing and TCO. Traditional print technology In a traditional print environment documents are sent from the client to the spool server. After being queued on the spool server the print job is sent over the network once again, this time to the printer. Before being sent to the spool server the documents are converted into print data which are several times larger than the original document. Its not uncommon for documents containing pictures or colored items to grow up to ten times when converted to print data. Print data can make up a surprisingly large percentage of an enterprises network traffic. The amount of print data can even stress the local network, this becomes even more apparent if the client, printer and spool server are not geographically located at the same place and the print data must be sent over WAN links. The Solution – Cirrato Implementing Cirrato addresses known problems in enterprise printing environments. Cirrato captures output from any source and assures delivery to any printer or electronic destination - without any programming effort. Cirrato provides central control and document/device status alerts, for proactive problem identification and resolution producing custom auditing, accounting and statistics. Outline of Cirrato solution The system consists of three major components, the ticket server, the client application and the management GUI. The client application asks the server to issue a ticket that is used to track the created print job. The print job is then queued in the same way as it would be in a normal print environment with the big difference being that the physical print job is only located on the client, saving bandwidth between client and ticket server. When the printer is available for the specified print job, the ticket server contacts the client enabling the client to send the print job directly to the printer.
  • 4. Page 4 (15) Application overview
  • 5. Page 5 (15) Cirrato Server The Cirrato solution is resource effective and very powerful making it possible to consolidate print spool servers with a ratio of 100:1. Each Cirrato server can handle up to 20,000 printer queues. The Cirrato server application runs on a Windows 2003 Server™ system and is based on a set of modules, key modules are listed below in this document. All modules will come with APIs making it possible to tailor the system for customer specific wants or demands. The new technology introduced in Cirrato makes it possible to print directly to printers using the local network whilst still maintaining the ability to manage printers centrally with proactive monitoring for maintenance, minimizing downtime and user intervention. Centralized print management. The Cirrato printing solution centralizes printer driver management. This is done by storing and managing the printer drivers in the Cirrato system centrally as well as cached locally on the client to speed up reinstallation of driver compatible printer models. Printer install points will speed up remote installations. Since there are fewer servers to monitor fewer resources will be needed to perform the monitoring. The central costs for an IT Department are difficult to measure. One of the reasons for this is the difficulty to assign print cost to the right place. With the Cirrato embedded statistics function it becomes easy. All costs can, down to page level, be assigned to the place from where the resource usage originated, including toner, paper and ink cartridges. Since costs are visualized in a new way, the task to reroute resources to the correct place is easy. Possibility to implement a quota-based system for usage of high-end and expensive equipment ensures correct usage of systems. All printers, local or networked, are monitored in the Cirrato system. Cirrato can even work together with existing systems. This means that the rollout of Cirrato can be handled in a controlled manner when the organization is ready to adopt the new printing system. Migration of Active Directory printers already present on workstations is easily done through the built in migration tool. Local printers can also be integrated into Cirrato management. This gives organizations the ability to supervise and collect statistics from local printers in the same way as is done for networked printers. This can eliminate the need of unnecessary printers. Administration is handled via a Microsoft Management Console snap-in or by a web interface
  • 6. Page 6 (15) New modules introduced with the version 2.x Cirrato System. Follow Me Printing Cirrato introduces several new ways of handling “follow-me” printing. Advanced solutions with a graphical user interface on the printers allows the user to perform a variety of tasks (selecting which jobs to print, how many copies etc) Easy, simple to use, solutions are also possible to implement. An example of a easy to use solution would be for the user to simply swipe a personal id card at any “follow-me” printer to initiate printout of all the users current print jobs in the “follow-me queue”. Quota 1. Currency based quota Introducing currency based quota into the Cirrato system. This new feature will allow administrators to track costs more precisely by adding a currency quota to each printer queue and to each kind of print out. Meaning for instance an A3 color printout will cost more than an A4 black&white duplex printout on the same queue. 2. Transferring of quota between users. For instance within a school project each project member can contribute with enough quotas to share the costs between each other. 3. Possibility to log print jobs to a specific client debit account Introducing the possibility to tie printouts to a specific client debit account making it easier to track costs per client. Each Cirrato user can have several client debit accounts. When a printout is made the user can choose which client debit account to log the current printout to. These logs are stored in the Cirrato database and can later be used for invoicing.
  • 7. Page 7 (15) Security 1. Encrypted printjobs Introducing encrypted print jobs (only on supported devices), eliminating the possibility to eavesdrop the network to acquire sensitive / classified information. The print job is not printed until the one time password (unique PIN code for said document) has been entered on the panel (supported devices only) or sent to the Cirrato server through the IVRinterface (see below). 2. Strengthening the quota module by blocking unauthorized print jobs Introducing IPblocking to ensure no unauthorized print jobs will be printed on network printers. 3. Archive functionality Introducing an archive functionality that stores print jobs in a non Cirrato document handling system. 4. Forced Watermarks Forced watermarks can be put on to entire queues, selected users or triggered by keywords. This together with the archive feature makes it easy to keep track of classified documents since every document has a unique watermark containing timestamp, username, serial number and other optional information. 5. Preprint auditing Using the features above, printouts can be sent to security personnel for auditing before commencing or declining printout of sensitive documents.
  • 8. Page 8 (15) Surveillance 1. SNMP monitoring Introducing the next version of SNMP monitoring, which will allow the system administrator to add custom MIB objects which adds more value to the proactive surveillance and service functions of Cirrato 2. SNMP traps The Cirrato server will have the ability to receive SNMP trap notification messages from the printers directly, making it possible to passively monitor Cirrato printers. 3. Action plans and alarm features Introducing an enhanced and easy configurable action plan and new alarm features to Cirrato including dispatching alarms selectively. 4. Error traceback Cirrato can, if needed, backtrace events prior to an incident helping the administrators to locate errors in the printing system. Driver handling 1. Manage drivers and settings Cirrato can store the default settings for all printer queues removing the need to manually configure each printer set up on the client computers. In case of the printer being physically reconfigured (e.g. sorting device fitted) a new configuration file needs to be created and will be pushed out to all client computers that have that particular printer installed. The configuration update is automatic and occurs when the user tries to print using that particular queue for the first time after an updated configuration file has been made available on the server. Different driver languages are also supported. 2. Use several drivers for one printer In many cases, there are reasons to use different printer drivers on the same physical printer. Cirrato can manage several different printer drivers for each physical printer while maintaining the queue functionality, meaning print jobs get printed in the same order as they where queued.
  • 9. Page 9 (15) Enhanced printing features 1. Duplication Introducing duplication to the Cirrato system making it possible to duplicate the last print job either by IVR (see below) or through a Graphical User Interface. The user can print one copy of a document and when he has verified that the printout looks as expected he can use his cell phone to request X number of additional copies. The Cirrato server then contacts the computer that printed the users last print job and instructs it to print the additional copies. 2. Persistance It’s possible to set print jobs to persistence mode to override TTL (time to live) and other attempts to remove or block a print job. 3. Printer Pools In many cases when fast printouts are needed, several printers have been set up at the same physical location. Cirrato enables grouping of printers into a single virtual printer (printer pool). A client can then print to the virtual printer, thus reducing the time to wait for a print job to be printed. After the printout the client receives a message with information specifying on which physical printer the print job was printed on. 4. Redirection of print jobs Print costs can be reduced by the possibility to deny or redirect large printouts on high cost per page printers. This is made possible by setting a max cost (in currency) for a print job on a specific printer queue. When an expensive printout is requested, Cirrato will inform the user that the print job is not allowed and can suggest another, more suitable printer queue 5. Batch jobs It’s possible to set date/time when a specific batch job should be sent to the printer. 6. HTTP administration for handheld pads/computers Cirrato can now be administrated through handheld devices. 7. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Introducing IVR (phone control) to the Cirrato system which ads a new dimension in how to interact with the Cirrato system, anything from PIN codes and secure print jobs to ‘buying’ more quota can now be done through the cirrato IVR system.
  • 10. Page 10 (15) Client Application The windows client is run as a service installed under, Microsoft Windows 2000™, Microsoft Windows XP Professional™ or Microsoft Vista™. The printers created on the client appears as normal Microsoft Windows printers and are used in the same way with the added advantage that the output is sent to Cirrato locally instead of to a remote Spool Server or directly to a mapped printer. From a user’s point of view, nothing is changed compared to normal printing. The client interface is optional but can be used to give more extensive information to the end user regarding the users queued print jobs. The client interface will, if configured, act silently in the background producing pop-up messages when needed. The Interface also gives the end user the ability to perform a variety of tasks such as redirecting print jobs to a driver compatible printer model or manage queues. The end user can instantly get a status overview of the installed printers. The information is shown to the end user in real time. The client also supports a wide variety of languages. Also with the new Cirrato system 2.x a Unix/linux/MacOsX client based application will be introduced to incorporate all kinds of client based system into Cirrato. The printout When a print job is initiated on a client, the Cirrato client first contacts the Cirrato ticket server asking for permission to print on a specified printer. The ticket server looks up the user and verifies that the he or she has permission to print on the printer. The server also checks if the user has enough quota left and the printer drivers loaded on the client machine are verified and deployed. If the print job is allowed, the print server issues a ticket number that is sent to the client, enabling the Cirrato client to spool the print job to the local hard drive. When the print job is spooled, the client tells the server that the print job is ready to be sent to the printer. When the server finds a ticket that is first in queue to a specified printer, the server contacts the Cirrato client with a message saying its ok to start printing. The Cirrato client opens a TCP/IP connection, either to a raw port or using LPR, to the printer and starts sending the print job and also notifies the ticket server that printing has commenced. If there is a problem connecting to the printer and / or sending the print job to the printer, the client contacts the ticket server which adds the printer for immediate check by the monitoring application. After a successful printout, the client connects to the ticket server reporting number of pages printed and that the printout was successful. The ticket server sets the queue as available for new print jobs to be printed and logs the statistics from the print job in the database.
  • 11. Page 11 (15) Cirrato inventory The built in inventory tool collects information about printers installed on client computers and sends it to the server. The tool can be used when migrating from a non Cirrato print system to get a complete overview of all models and queues that are currently used. This information is later used to make the migration semi automatic. The Cirrato web GUI provides a checklist/wizard functionality using this information. Cirrato inventory can be run by an administrator/user or invoked via login scripts and is able to discover both local and mapped network printers. Summary: Reduce your network traffic Consolidate your servers, two are sufficient Fewer resources to administer print systems Track your spending Easy installation Use your present structures in AD Local printer support included with the same possibilities as full fledged networked printers Statistics available on locally attached printers Patented
  • 12. Page 12 (15) Strategic redeployment of internal resources Cirrato relieves internal IT personnel for purchasing and managing equipment and supplies. It also eliminates the need for end user support personnel to spend a disproportionate amount of time on trivial tasks allowing them to work in a more proactive manner. Cost visibility Enterprises that outsource their entire printing solution no longer have to calculate hardcopy costs themselves; instead, they can choose to receive regular statements detailing these costs. They can then use this information as a basis for decision making. To evaluate printing fleet uptime, printout statistics and resource utilization. Improved productivity An enterprise that chooses to outsource the maintenance of its hardcopy assets is assured of having a planned fleet of well maintained, up to date equipment. This can help to improve productivity through:  Elimination of print failures  Reduced demand on helpdesk resources regarding printing  Strategic placement of equipment for more efficient use in cooperation with Multi Function Printers and access to the latest features and functions associated with new equipment. Return On Investment (ROI) Rapid payback, low risk implementation, Cirrato solutions are fast to implement - in weeks, not months, so any enterprise can start reaping the benefits sooner rather than later. A future proof investment.
  • 13. Page 13 (15) Summary Allow Cirrato Technology to make your business more competitive, by turning imagination into reality, there has never been a better time to make this happen. Print solutions that meet the networking requirements of today and tomorrow. Cirrato is a breakthrough in output technology that is designed to form a integral component of a total IT strategy. Built on a robust, scalable an secure architecture that consistently outperforms other products. Cirrato manages the information supply chain from document creation to printing all from a single point of control. Conclusion The cost of printing in today's large enterprise is likely to be far more than the enterprise realizes. To accurately calculate hardcopy TCO, the enterprise must take into account a variety of factors for both direct and indirect costs. Gartner has defined these factors in terms of specific cost categories and cost elements. A calculation of TCO based on common cost categories can serve as a sound basis for a plan to reduce printing costs.
  • 14. Page 14 (15) Notes “Gartner, "Managing Office Document Output in the Digital Era," J. Lundy, October 2000.” "Gartner, "CEO and C10 Alert: Nine Ways to Cut Costs and Save E- Business Initiatives," K. McGee,May 2001.” “Lyra Research, "Network Printing in Corporate Environments Part 2: Cost of Ownership Awareness and Concern," D. Rocheleau, October 1998.У "CAP Ventures Ltd., "Digital Convergence and Total Cost of Ownership, Drivers, Development and Dangers," March 2001.” “Gartner, custom research commissioned by HP, March 2002.” "Hewlett-Packard Digital Workplace Services, Distributed Print Services customer studies, 1998-2000.” ”Giga Information Group, "Printing Your Own Money: Workgroup Printer vs. Personal Printer Operating Costs," D. Friedlander, February 2000.” ”Gartner, "Rightsizing Output Fleets: The Hidden Goldmine," J. Lundy, March 2001.” Trademarks and specifications All trademarks and registered trademarks mentioned in the document are the property of their respective owner. Technical specifications is subject to change without notice Reproduction, adaptation or translation without prior written permission is prohibited except as allowed under the copyright laws.
  • 15. Page 15 (15) About Dipritec Dipritec develops software that improves performance of IT, lowers administration overhead and offers much needed functionality. Dipritec products are based on patent pending Cirrato Technology, which integrates cost efficient, compatible and streamlined network and web server capabilities into any architecture. The technology is optimized in order to deliver superior cost efficiency, multi- vendor compatibility and ease of use, compared to general purpose servers. Founded in 2002, Dipritec started to develop Cirrato. Since then, the company has been focusing on expanding to common platforms for almost any company entity. Cirrato is privately held and employs 15 people and has an international presence through close relationship with partners that form strategic alliances. Cirrato products are only sold through a network of distributors, resellers and partners. Contact Us For more information on enterprise print solutions, please send us an email at info@dipritec.com or have a look at our product offerings at http://www.dipritec.com