mreferre
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Printer configurations philosophies

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I have always thought about VDI as a mean to simplify the distributed infrastructure using thin clients with basically no on-board configurations.

The only thing that I found to be still bound to the local thin client config is printers. Everything in a VDI deployment is typically bound to a user but printers. Printers need to be bound the the physical local device (doesn't matter whether it's a local network printer in the office or a locally attached printer by mean of LPT/COM/USB).

Printers are indeed the only thing that prevents a VDI administrator to distribute thin clients with 0 configuration but the connection broker IP address (which would be the same for all the devices).

Not sure what I am trying to achieve with this post though ... comments ? thoughts ? your experience ? I guess Steve will have something to say .......... Smiley Wink

Massimo.

Massimo Re Ferre' VMware vCloud Architect twitter.com/mreferre www.it20.info
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epping
Expert
Expert

we treat lick we do with the physical PCs.

if a user wants to add a printer to their VD they have to walk to the printer and see the sticker with its on the printer with its name on and then add it in themselves, if they can't do it they need to call the helpdesk.

not ideal i know but that is there current expectation and i am in no rush to raise it.

By the way we use a one-to-one relationship not pools

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yorkie
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

Who, me? Smiley Happy

I guess it comes down to numbers..

In your 'average' office env the majority of users (80/20 rule?) can print to network printers with the special cases being folks like HR and Snr. Managers.

Can't this be part of a drive to reduce printers and move finally to a paperless office?

Smiley Happy

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mreferre
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I was actually referring to the other Steve () as he seems to like these philosphy discussions ...... but if it's enough to call you by name to get into a thread I'll keep that in mind ..... Smiley Wink

Joking aside I don't think that being the printers "networked" or "locally attached" makes any difference. Say, for the sake of the discussion, you have two offices 5 Km far away. Each office has 20 seats and 1 network printer. When your user logs on in office #1 and need to print something it will have to print on network printer #1 located in the same office (you don't want his/her print to go to the other office 5Km away.

So you need to configure the devices (i.e. thin clients) to print to the more appropriate printer ... this can't be a user specific configuration if you follow me. User mobility is a double edge sword......

Massimo.

Massimo Re Ferre' VMware vCloud Architect twitter.com/mreferre www.it20.info
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yorkie
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I guess you should refer to me as yorkie then Smiley Happy

I was thinking that network printers are configured in the remote, centralized desktop and via user setup, not from thin client..

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mreferre
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I have for first suggested that at VMworld they put the VMTN nickname other than the actual name so ... I agree ... "yorkie" Smiley Happy

>I was thinking that network printers are configured in the remote, >centralized desktop and via user setup, not from thin client..

Well if the printer is configured in the remote / centralized desktop ... which one of the 2 printers you configure since you do not know upfront the location where your end-user would log in from ? In this simple example you could certainly configure both printers and let the user choose but in a more complex scenario you can't think about pre-configuring 100+ printers in each remote desktop and let the user choose the one "closest" to him/her at any point in time (well you could .... but ....).

Massimo.

Massimo Re Ferre' VMware vCloud Architect twitter.com/mreferre www.it20.info
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yorkie
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

Aye aye..

VDI is like Perl with TMTOWTDI.

If you have a mobile user who moves locations I agree.

I am picturing a decision tree in my head of possible solutions.. It would be interesting to put frequency numbers against them to see what is common.

epping
Expert
Expert

we treat lick we do with the physical PCs.

if a user wants to add a printer to their VD they have to walk to the printer and see the sticker with its on the printer with its name on and then add it in themselves, if they can't do it they need to call the helpdesk.

not ideal i know but that is there current expectation and i am in no rush to raise it.

By the way we use a one-to-one relationship not pools

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sgrinker
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

Wow, I haven't had a chance to check things out here for a bit, and I come back to find my name being dragged through the mud! Smiley Happy I see how it is...

Actually for the record, I don't really have much to add to this one. We haven't started to toy with the printers too much yet, so that probably has a lot to do with it. Right now we are pretty much going by the same philosophy as epping on this one. ...walk up to the printer, find the sticker, etc, etc. That will likely change down the road, but it's the case for the time being anyway.

mreferre
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Champion

Epping ... that is interesting ...... thanks!

Massimo.

P.S. Steve (sgrinker) ....... you disappointed me a bit with this ..... nothing to add ? Smiley Wink just kidding ........

Massimo Re Ferre' VMware vCloud Architect twitter.com/mreferre www.it20.info
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sgrinker
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

How about Thin Clients and printers with GPS systems that can locate each other, and find the closest printer... then it will automatically add the closest printer to the user, so that they don't have to walk very far.

How's that? :smileygrin:

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mreferre
Champion
Champion

Sounds good to me.

If you want to start developing some sample code .... go ahead .... Smiley Wink

Massimo.

Massimo Re Ferre' VMware vCloud Architect twitter.com/mreferre www.it20.info
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TomHowarth
Leadership
Leadership

Massimo

you are using RDP, script the logon to query the local device on logon and map the appropriate printer via the IP addrees of the user.

makes for a complicated logon script but it just automates the walk over to the printer and connect scenario.

my 2 pennies worth

Tom Howarth VCP / VCAP / vExpert
VMware Communities User Moderator
Blog: http://www.planetvm.net
Contributing author on VMware vSphere and Virtual Infrastructure Security: Securing ESX and the Virtual Environment
Contributing author on VCP VMware Certified Professional on VSphere 4 Study Guide: Exam VCP-410
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mreferre
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Interesting ..... thanks.

Massimo.

Massimo Re Ferre' VMware vCloud Architect twitter.com/mreferre www.it20.info
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Tim_Genge
Contributor
Contributor

Hmm printers are a pain even in the physical world. They're linked to users profiles when we all know they should be linked to current subnet of the client; the whole printing infrastructure is a bit screwy in my opinion.

A physical best practice would be a logon script which enumerates a list of printers based on a "preferred" list of printers from a resource on their home drive and a list of printers for the current location, based on a lookup of their CIDR address against a reference table (a local CSV or SQL, if you have the cash). It then connects any missing printers and clears out any currently connected that don't match. Voila, printers match physical location with functionality to allow connections to a home printer 200 miles away - if that floats their boat.

So, how does this translate to VDI?

Crucially, the VM needs to be able to access the thin clients / RDP's IP address. If it can, then that just needs to the substituted for the clients (the VM's) CIDR in the lookup. Everything else should remain the same. Soooo the $10 million question is; how do I find out in the VM the IP of the connecting client? I assume its a guest OS feature?

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TomHowarth
Leadership
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otaining the client IP address is a reasonablely simple task you can use

the terminal services API functions.

Check here and look for WTSQuerySessionInformation

http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa383838.aspx

http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa383464.aspx

http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa383857.aspx

Tom Howarth VCP / VCAP / vExpert
VMware Communities User Moderator
Blog: http://www.planetvm.net
Contributing author on VMware vSphere and Virtual Infrastructure Security: Securing ESX and the Virtual Environment
Contributing author on VCP VMware Certified Professional on VSphere 4 Study Guide: Exam VCP-410
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kreischl
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

We are a ZENworks shop so we will be assigning printers based on your user ID.

We realize that doesn't work if you happen to be on another campus but 95% of those users have laptops.

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Tim_Genge
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks for the links Tom. It looks like the WTSQuerySessionInformation can only return the calling clients IP Address, and not subnet info as well. I may be wrong, but I don't think you can figure out the CIDR address from an IP Address alone. It can be done around the other way; i.e. does this IP live in this CIDR address (for the site / floor), but that won't help any database queries.

My idea would probably come unstuck as a single subnet in a busy site is going to have lots of printers allocated; to have those added to the client during a logon could be timely and painful for the WAN / Print server (especially all at 9am, even if it is just the "transient" people).

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chouse
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

What we did was write a custom app that launches inside the VM when the user logs on. This app goes out to the thin terminal they are connecting from (running winXP) over the network to see which printers are on it (
thintermID\Printers & Faxes) then it installs those printers in to the VM session.

Each thin term when imaged prompts for its general location as part of the imaging process so the network printers in the area are installed on it.

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mreferre
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>Each thin term when imaged prompts for its general location as part of

the imaging process so the network printers in the area are installed on

it.

This is clever.

As per the custom app you mentioned..... isn't that mapping done by the RDP protocol itself automatically if you configure it to automap the printers ?

Thanks.

Massimo.

Massimo Re Ferre' VMware vCloud Architect twitter.com/mreferre www.it20.info
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chouse
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Yeah, I just saw that when I was doing some testing. So I must not understand what this custom app does that we wrote - but i know it solves some major problem we were having with roaming users! (we are healthcare)

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