Solving the Cloud Printing Conundrum

One of the most critical parts of your application that often gets overlooked when migrating to the cloud is PRINTING!  Think about it; your on-prem printers and server are literally several feet away from each other or all connected on your local internal network.  Once you move your MultiValue PICK application to the cloud, how do you print now that your server is thousands of miles away from your on-prem printers?  This is often a daunting task as your business may be behind a sophisticated network firewall that would prevent any inbound communication from an unknown source – like your printers. Will you still be able to use the traditional PICK Spooler method you have grown accustomed to with your PICK system?  What about your current printers when you move – what if they are legacy printers like Okidata or Printronix? Or do you have to get all new printers?

And even though it is one of the most oft-asked questions, it is the least tested when it comes to the migration itself. It really shouldn’t be – printing is an integral part of business operations. Consider this – what happens if you can’t print checks or invoices to send to your customers?

There are several ways you can print from the cloud. We have been doing this for a long time, so we know the ins and outs all too well. No printer will be left behind!

VPNs

This is typically the first choice as private VPNs are a very useful method in securing your connection and giving you the ability to see your server “locally” on your internal network.  However, oftentimes they can be difficult to configure, maintain a persistent connection, and can get expensive as most cloud providers put a premium on this sort of service. They even meter your data traffic to-and-from your cloud server.  You can use a VPN for printing as well, but you are not only charged an additional monthly fee but can be subject to additional fees based on the amount of bandwidth you consume. This can become very costly – especially if you do a lot of printing or your print jobs are large.

New Rocket Software Updates – mvWorkstation

With the new version of D3 10.3 and as has been the case with mvBase for years, the workstation can be used as the conduit to print –  that is to say, you can see any printer that is connected to that client workstation, but the connection is not secure (assuming you’re not using a secure VPN connection) and it takes a bit more bandwidth as data is most likely not compressed during transmission.

Third Party Products – CirrusPrint

Here at Pick Cloud, we provide a secure, low latency, cost-effective cloud offering for the MultiValue community. We choose partners and products based on this premise and have since day one. In the case of printing, we use a product called CirrusPrint. For as low as $5 per output device per month, you can keep your existing printing infrastructure and print from the cloud much like you can today. The connection is secure (SSL socket) and prints directly to your on-prem printers via a local designated print-server on site.  In addition, you can email your printers and print from your hosted ERP to local ports. Integration with applications is simple and flexible; print to it like any network printer, email files to it or drop files into it. You can also send files directly to your users. CirrusPrint compresses print jobs so it lowers your bandwidth consumption to avoid costly data bandwidth charges.

We have been a proud purveyor of CirrusPrint since we opened our doors and we recommend it to all our clients and prospects because it works so well.

Conclusion

When it is all said and done make sure you do your due diligence and choose the most reliable and secure method when connecting your printers to your MultiValue cloud server.  Last but not least test each and every printer from simple one-page invoices to month-end reports and check runs.  Trust me, you’ll thank us later.

Mark Pick

Mark Pick 3 Posts

Mark Pick - CEO (Cloud Evangelist Officer) Pick Cloud, Inc. Mark Pick comes to Pick Cloud, Inc. (PCI) with almost a lifetime of experience in the MultiValue arena. Pick whose name is synonymous with MultiValue thanks to his father Dick Pick, who is widely credited as a founding father of MultiValue software, is commonly recognized as an expert in the Pick arena. As CEO of Pick Cloud, Inc., he oversees the successful migrations of companies of all sizes from on-premise to a fully managed worry-free cloud environment. These companies also enjoy 99.999% uptime and full redundancy. Mark’s unique and wide-ranging skill set has enabled him to contribute to the success of several companies in a variety of roles throughout his career. He has participated as a speaker at various MultiValue User Groups, led lunch and learn seminars as well as had numerous articles and interviews published.

1 Comments

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    Doug Averch Reply

    December 10, 2019 at 8:56 am

    We ran into this problem more than 10 years ago. We had moved to cloud computing in the early 2000s. We used every open-source and paid software we could get our hands on to satisfy our customer’s needs. None of the tools we found allowed us to write a single program that could produce for example PDF, XLSX, DOCX, or HTML. It just was not the thousands of lines of code that was the problem. It was our customers would then say can you add a sub-total here, or can you add a column here, or can you add a page break on this column. All of this required many hours of work that resulted in big billing but little value.

    Eventually, we settled on an open-source tool called BIRT (see: https://www.eclipse.org/birt). We did have to add an interface using Open Data Access (ODA) for Universe and Unidata since it did not support those databases. BIRT, nonetheless, allowed us to reduce our code to only generate JSON and pass that through our ODA to the cloud. BIRT did the aggregation, page breaks, sub-totaling and everything else. Our customers are happier and able to get reports changed or created quickly.

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