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Routing printers through local a server instead of a remote server?

Posted on 2008-01-28
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I'm helping with a Citrix remote network setup.  The original servers are in another location, so everything was setup in location "A" originally.  We have a Domain Controller in location "B" with all of our local printers setup on it, but for some reason most of the printers are still routing through location A's servers causing slow printing.  Even if I setup one of the local printers using a local IP address it still ends up routing through location A.  Does anyone know what I'm missing?
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Question by:aloyd18
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by:Craig Roberds
ID: 20761132
I am not 100% sure I follow the setup.  Is location A where the citrix servers are?  Are you asking about presentation server or Access gateway?  I will assume it is PS since you are having print issues.  Are the users going through citrix to get to an application at location A?  If this is the case then the print jobs will have to route through the citrix server at location A in some way.  Is this on a WAN?  How are the users connecting (PN, PNagent, Web Interface)?  What version of PS (Presentation Server)?  Are they logging into the same domain at location B as A?

Give me more info and I might be able to help.
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by:aloyd18
ID: 20761289
Yes, Citrix servers are at location A.  Most users are using Citrix for printing.  It is Presentation Server 4.0.  I starting to think we should just invest in a Citrix load balance server for this location.  That would allow all local users to log on to the local server instead of the remote server, and allow us to have a local printer setup, right?
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by:Craig Roberds
ID: 20761421
What are they printing from?  They must be using some application at location A correct?  If it is just word, outlook or other office applications then you could put another citrix PS server at the 2nd site, but I wouldn't load balance across a WAN, just set up another server with it's own farm (depending on what you are doing you may not even need citrix).  Keep in mind citrix or TS is mostly designed to share information/files or access databases.  It is very inefficient to use as a type of print server especially across a WAN.

If you have some software that everyone must access via one citrix farm (say a database) then you will still need to address your printing issues.

Here are a couple of general citrix printing articles you may want to look at, but keep in mind there are many variables that cause citrix printing problems.  One of the main problems I have always had is users printing large pdf's or jpegs from Outlook running in a citrix session for example.
 
http://www.sessioncomputing.com/pdf/MetaFrameXpFR3PrintingOptimizationTechniques.pdf
http://www.brianmadden.com/content/article/Citrix-Rebuilds-Printing-from-Scratch-for-the-next-MetaFrame  (I know madden's site has another very good article, give me some time and I will find it)
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by:aloyd18
ID: 20761854
Yes, the current servers host applications like Great Plains, Printers, WinZip, Acrobat, Word, Excel, Outlook, Explorer, and ViewPoint our phone software.  If you think it would be possible to put another "farm" in this location I'd like to get more information on that.  I'm pretty new to Citrix.  I'll definalty look at putting a Print Server in this location.  Is this a hardware or software print server?  Would it still communicate with the 2 existing Citrix servers?  Also, i don't know if it helps, but our site to site communication is over VPN using T1 connections.
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Craig Roberds earned 2000 total points
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ok, now it's making sense.  We use Great Plains (as well as another SQL database) also so I am familiar.

You will want the citrix servers to stay in the A office.  You probably want a print server (no citrix) at location B.  It probably isn't feasable to make another farm for GP so I would leave the farms as is.  The complexities of citrix printing can be numerous.  

One thing to definitely consider also as an immediate solution is to use the universal print driver.  This works on many printers but is especially efficient if most of you printers are HP of some sort.  I believe if you have feature release 1 or 2 with PS 4 it is the same or similar to PS 4.5 so you make a policy in the server console.  You can also make policies regarding how much bandwidth is being used for printing and prioritize.  It is basic compared to some 3rd party tools available but much better than what we used to have.

In GP, if the users are mostly printing batch reports and FRX reports and the like then that should not be causing too many printer tie-ups.  Keep in mind there will always be some delay irregardless in a citrix session as the info does have to go to the citrix server and back to make the print job, unlike a local job that goes right to the print server or printer itself.

I had a lot of issues with printing and bandwidth when I inherited the office I am at.  Because we have so many pictures, manuals and parts catalogs emailed to us in large pdf or jpeg files I eventually took Outlook off of citrix because so many users were printing huge print files from outlook which was killing the other users even when I restricted bandwidth.  I moved Outlook to download via HTTP in cached mode and now when they print it goes to the local print server rather than through a citrix session.  This one step has reduced my complaint calls tremendously.  You may want to see what files are the ones that are taking so long to print.

I did find madden's other article, very good info-may help you to find the best way to set yours up:  http://www.brianmadden.com/content/article/The-Ultimate-Guide-to-Terminal-Server-Printing---Design-and-Configuration
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by:Craig Roberds
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BTW I forgot one of the most obvious ones.  Be sure the users having issues are not trying to print at 1200 dpi (or even 600).  Going to 300dpi will speed things up nicely as well.
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by:aloyd18
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This sounds great... one questions comes to mind.  How do you send Word and Excel docs via email while keeping the environment citrix?
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by:Craig Roberds
ID: 20763667
Are you talking printing or opening?  If you keep outlook in citrix you can set it up so it either opens the excel, word (or even internet links) locally (from their PC assuming they have Excel, etc installed) or from the citrix server.  Generally this shouldn't cause too many problems either way, although I tend to have the hyperlinks opened from the local internet browser rather than the citrix browser.

In my current situation most users have Office installed locally and in citrix so when I moved most users away from Outlook in citrix they could still open the files.  If you are running thin clients or not installing Word, etc locally then you may have to keep Outlook in citrix.

Once again, a lot depends on how many and the type of users you have.  Before I moved Outlook I would show my savvy users how to save their Outlook attachments first to their local drive and then print it.  But you try and show this to other users (even when you map it correctly for them) and they can still never understand the multiple C: and C$ drives and all of that, and they save their file and then can't find it resulting in another call to the help desk (me).

Good luck and let me know if you need more info.
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