Thursday, 16 October 2014 09:27

Novell iPrint tames TAFE printing

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Holmesglen TAFE uses Novell iPrint to simplify on-campus printing.

With around 50,000 students a year, Holmesglen TAFE is a sizeable institution.

According to technical services operations manager Chris Puchalski (pictured), it faces similar challenges to other organisations, so it needs to be flexible and respond to user demand.

But funding cuts have made this difficult. The way 30 staff are able to manage the infrastructure across four campuses "is a testimony to the productivity we are achieving by using the right tools," he said.

Printing "shouldn't be an issue, but it can be," he said. There are around 700 printers distributed around the campuses producing around 5 million pages a year, and that's just the devices that the IT staff know about.

"We support any brand," Mr Puchalski said, "there's no discrimination."

Novell's iPrint software has proved very reliable, he said.

Profiles have been created for each computer lab, so student printing is quite straightforward as each computer is associated with the appropriate printer(s).

But staff need more flexibility, so iPrint delivers a list of the available printers organised by campus, building, floor and room. This allows staff members to select the desired printer and install the appropriate driver without the involvement of IT support.

iPrint also integrates well with the PaperCut software used by Holmesglen for cost recovery.

Mr Puchalski said Holmesglen has recently begun exploring iPrint's support for mobile printing.

At this stage there is limited demand for this facility, but it is seen as a way of enhancing the student experience.

The outcome of the initial testing is that it "pretty much works from anywhere," he said, so the next steps will be to work out which printers should be included in this service, and to confirm that the PaperCut integration is as seamless as expected.

Novell principal technologist Ted Tronson said it is important that organisations do not leave decisions around mobile printing to end users, as the risk is that an excessive number of different systems will be adopted.

In general, he said, organisations need to consider issues around cost control (don't replace equipment unnecessarily, don't buy special-purpose products if more broadly applicable ones are available, and look for solutions that reduce support costs), identity (ensure that the mobile printing system can integrate with Active Directory or whatever system is in use), and risk (look for vendor independence, the ability to accommodate future products, and take compliance issues into consideration).

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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