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Citrix slow printing across WAN

Posted on 2010-09-13
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
We recently moved all our servers to a colo facility including our presentation server 4.0 and Xenapp (4.5) servers and I'm trying to figure out how to improve the printing performance.  We have some large print jobs that will need to be printed on the printer at the remote office.  The remote office has a 1.5meg T1.  It's the only option for a carrier in the building.  The colo where the Citrix server is has a 10meg connection so that shouldn't be a problem. Is there any way of improving the print speed?  For example a 50 page color technical manual in a 2mb pdf file spools as 30mb on the Citrix server and takes about 5 minutes to spool to the client and print on the color Canon.  Oddly enough, the same pdf on the Citrix server spools as 81mb to my own client at home which is a Brother printer, and if I print it in the session to my local Adobe pdf printer it's 183 mb!  That's the least of my worries as we also have a mail merge word document that prints different pages to different printer drawers.  Some of these print jobs can be 500, 1000+ pages.  Any suggestions shy of putting the doc on a disc and mailing it to them to improve the speed?  Is there a 3rd party software that might compress and send these jobs faster?
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Question by:Brian_MB
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by:tgtran
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nappy_d earned 167 total points
ID: 33670782
How many users are there at this branch location?

In general, a spooled print job can balloon to as much as 10x the original file size. I don't think there is a way around this. Your T1 line is also a bottle neck. Possibly I install a 2nd T1 or bond multiple T1s together to improve throughput at the remote office.

You might want to also consider shaping traffic to help gaurantee bandwidth to the Citrix farm colo.
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by:Brian_MB
ID: 33674631
There's only a handful of users.  We don't print too much, but once in a while these big print jobs.  I'm going to test after a change I made to the local printer driver.  It was set for RAW and I changed it to LPR which then gave me the option of printing DIRECT from the remote workstation to it's attached network printer and NOT spooling the job to the hard drive in the printer 1st.  The 1st job I tested of 50 pages took about 8-10 min to print.  With not spooling to the hard drive in the printer, the document started printing AS it was being spooled from the citrix server to the client which sped up the overall print job significantly.  This might be acceptable as I don't think the printer could have printed these pages any faster than they were coming anyway.  I'll keep you posted.
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by:atigris
ID: 33676469
You said " Some of these print jobs can be 500, 1000+ pages"

If I print this number of pages to a local printer it would take forever to print, how would you expect it to work on a WAN via Citrix?

Printing directly to the printer without spooling the job is the best thing you can do. I can't think of any other solution for this issue other than increasing the internet speed.

Tricerat is a great product but I don't think it would increase printing speed.
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by:Brian_MB
ID: 33676965
I know that many pages will take a long time to print, I'm just hoping to speed the transfer.  What I discovered with changing the port from RAW to LPR was I was able to get the Canon to print without waiting for the ENTIRE job to spool to it's hard drive, which sped up the printing considerably by not waiting for the entire job to spool.  However, now I have another problem related or not to this setting in which the spoolers on BOTH my Citrix servers keep crashing and I'm not sure if it's related to this setting, or a newer canon driver on one of the workstations or what.  We also just moved the Citrix servers to a colo site so now they are remote from the workstations, plus I disjoined the workstations before the move and now they are autocreating each others printers on the local network which means all of those autocreated local printers also get autocreated on the citrix server.  Needle in a haystack so now I've got to try to find out what's causing the spooler crashes before I move on with the print speed.  Unfortunately we've made so many changes in the last week this is going to be difficult.
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by:atigris
ID: 33677173

Try to use Citrix Printing Tool  http://support.citrix.com/article/CTX122962

This tool will help you narrowing down printing problems as you can filter event viewer error messages and hook you up with right Knowledge Base to fix them.

You may need some additional files to run it so you better off downloading it from this link:

http://www.citrixtools.net/Default.aspx?id=33&tabid=63

when the print spooler crashes - that means the driver or it's settings are not compatible.  

you said: "now they are auto creating each others printers on the local network which means all of those auto created local printers also get auto created on the citrix server."

That is simply not possible. Each workstation should have it's own list of printers that should be available via a print server ( good administrator will design it like this)

if the driver is installed on the Citrix Server match the one on the client machine then it will auto create a mapped session on the Citrix Server. (that depends on your printing policy)

what I would do is use the printing tool to help diagnosing the problem and I would select "disable retained Printers" as start.

Good Luck
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by:TreyBcool
ID: 33684907
First, upgrade, man technology changes too fast for you to be running 3-5 year old versions of presentation server aka xenapp - and then ask how to make it faster??? Upgrade, they have done tremendous improvements since 4.0 and 4.5 to the ica protocol.
If you are lucky enough to be on the platinum edition then download the branch repeater vpx (virtual machine) and put the BR client on your remote office users PC's and printing will be turbo charged.
http://deliver.citrix.com/go/citrix/trybranchrepeater

Turbo charge your CTX farm
http://support.citrix.com/servlet/KbServlet/download/23285-102-642629/How%20to%20set%20up%20a%20self%20contained%20Repeater%20VPX%20demo%20environment.pdf

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by:Brian_MB
ID: 33707857
I removed all of the Canon drivers and printers on the remote workstations and it appears to have stabilized the Citrix Servers.  I'll probably wait a couple of days and attempt to add them back.
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by:Brian_MB
ID: 33744208
An update.  
1st, TreyBcool,  an upgrade is in the future, but setting up a new Xenapp server takes me weeks to get all the users apps installed, configured, and working, so that is backburnered as the virtualization/colo relocation has enough cleanup/issues right now to keep me busy for a while.
Removing all the canon stuff from remotes and servers did stabilize both Citrix server spooler.  After waiting a few days to make sure, I reinstalled the drivers on two of the clients.  They've been working for a couple of days and so far, no issues with the server spooler crashing.  In researching, there was a minor driver version difference between what I was installing on the clients and what had been installed on the server.  So I'm back to where I started where the printing works, but the spool jobs are huge.
I think my next step will be to demo Uniprint and maybe Thinprint.  Not having used or installed them before, does anyone know if, for testing, the environment will coexist with the current way we print?  In other words, can I install and test it without having to make all the users install the Uniprint client on their end, but still be able to print like they always do while I'm testing the products functionality on one or two clients?
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by:atigris
atigris earned 166 total points
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In my environment we use Tricerat and it dose not rely on windows drivers. you can actually remove all windows drivers and keep Tricerat driver only "at least  it works this way for 99% of the time"

The way it works and I do believe that Thinprint or Uniprint works the same way.

you will need to install the Tricerat - aka "Screw driver" (Screw driver server version) on both of your XenApp servers and install Tricerat (Screw Driver client version) on all of your client workstations. and that is all there is to it. No additional settings are required. when the user try to print users will be able to see all the printers via ScrewDriver

you can keep your Citrix printing unattached while you do this. again it dose not rely on windows drivers or Citrix printing. so you can have both at the same time.

we use Tricerat for 90% of our clients and it works grate. not sure about Thinprint or Uniprint but they may work the same way.

Thanks

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by:Brian_MB
ID: 33862451
Still working on this, not much time to test.  Thinprint has some bugs I'm working out. Still want to evaluate a couple of the other products.
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by:Brian_MB
ID: 33898009
Quick update, have a nasty cold and haven't gotten back to the office for testing yet.  Something regarding thinprint that may be of interest to other readers.  We have a lot of custom fonts installed on the Citrix servers.  In the brief testing I did, some of the fonts did not render correctly.  The answer and solution from Thinprint tech support was fonts are not embedded in the print job, instead the job is rendered at the client (which helps account for a smaller print job to transfer).  However that means that the same font must be installed at the client as well.  This will not work well for me as the graphics designer that works for us has over 1000 custom fonts and adds more all the time, and I never know what client he might be working from.  Thinprint has a registry tweak that will supposedly embed/tranfser whatever fonts are in the print job to the client so it will render properly without having to install the fonts on the client.  Of course the more fonts in the job, the larger the job.  I have yet to test this, hope to be back to the office next week.
Does anyone know if I will have the same issue with Tricerat?  I'm still thinking about demo'ing that as well.
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by:Brian_MB
ID: 34673637
Sorry to have abandoned this question for so long.  In the interim we moved this office and printer to a new location and I'm now on a higher bandwidth connection so the large print jobs are not as much of an issue as before.  At this point, I'm going to accept the 3rd party printing programs as solutions as I'm sure they'd work for many people.  Out of the 2 I tested, I liked Thinprint better, however with all the special fonts we use, I did not get to test the registry fix they mentioned to download the server fonts instead of relying on what's installed on each client.  
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by:nappy_d
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Interesting...My comments here http:#33670782 recommended that you increase your internet bandwidth yet no acknowledgment of this was given.
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by:Brian_MB
ID: 34678129
nappy d,

Just an oversight.  As is evident bythe delay in this thread, I don't have much time to work on some of these issues.  I'm the only admin here with a plethora of issues I'm working on all the time, not to mention full time I dispatch service techs realtime for the same company. I't's really 2 full time jobs.   My apologies, is there any way of correcting it?
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