Digital transformation usually starts with moving business processes, including printing and print infrastructure, to the cloud. Universal Print is very welcome news as it provides an easy way to move printing to the cloud. If you are just starting digital transformation initiatives, YSoft OMNI Bridge, which enables Universal Print on in-market printers, comes at just the right time for you.
The Quocirca Global Print Security Report 2019, states that in 2018, 91% of organizations believed printing to be important in their business processes and 87% indicated it still would be in 2020. For on-premises print infrastructure, redundancies can be built-in, to ensure critical business processes are not interrupted. However, what happens when print moves to the cloud?
While Microsoft provides a Universal Print connector to connect existing printers to the Universal Print service in Microsoft 365, it must be installed on a Windows workstation or Server. YSoft OMNI bridge is adding value Universal Print as it is an intelligent edge device that acts as a connector. Not only can it connect existing printers to Universal Print without requiring a Windows print server, but it can also solve the need to have always-on print services. Our solution is YSoft OMNI Series.
YSoft OMNI Series™ consists of a serverless Edge device, YSoft OMNI Bridge™, and YSoft OMNI UP365™, which runs as an app on YSoft OMNI Bridge. With OMNI Series, in-market printers – those you use today that do not support Universal Print natively – can instantly and cost effectively connect to the Universal Print service in Microsoft 365. How can this help with always-on print services?
There are three different scenarios for how OMNI Series can be used, also shown in Figure 1:
One to one: One OMNI Bridge is connected to one printer.
Hub: One OMNI Bridge is connected to many printers.
High Availability Group: Two or more OMNI Bridges are grouped and connected to many printers, providing load balancing and failover for business-critical printing.
Scenarios 1 and 2 are simple; it is the High Availability Group where things get interesting!
Figure 1. Three scenarios showing YSoft OMNI Bridge printer support
Load balancing and failover are two important concepts. Together they provide what is often referred to as high availability. Let’s explore these concepts further and I’ll explain how YSoft OMNI Series provides the high availability businesses need.
You may ask yourself, why is load balancing necessary for my business? Load balancing makes sure there is no single bottleneck between the user submitting a print job and the job coming out at the printer. By having just one connector, regardless of whether it is the OMNI UP365 App, the Universal Print Connector Microsoft provides, , all your user’s print jobs must pass through that single point. Any clog or failure may impact employees’ ability to print. It’s similar to a single lane road between point A and point B. Heavy traffic or an accident can be a nightmare.
In Figure 2 below, one OMNI Bridge is serving three printers. Naturally, there are multiple users who would like to print to the available printer closest to them. If one user submits a large print job, other users’ print jobs are queued for processing causing delays.
Figure 2. YSoft OMNI Series 1:3 printers’ example
In figure 3 we see the High Availability scenario where two OMNI Bridges are grouped together. In this scenario, the print load is “normal” and everything is running smoothly. The company knows it has bursts of print activity that it needs to accommodate or that print is an essential business process.
Figure 3. YSoft OMNI Bridge – High Availability scenario with normal print traffic
How can we solve the scenario where there is a clog in the road – a lot of sudden print traffic, so that users can print their critical print jobs without delay?
In Figure 4, you can see two OMNI Bridges are grouped together. If one OMNI Bridge is busy delivering a large print job, since there is a high availability group created, the second OMNI Bridge takes care of delivering the other jobs to the printers and the users do not experience any delay.
Figure 4. YSoft OMNI Series High Availability when Load Balancing is required
Failover is a complementary concept to load balancing. With load balancing, multiple points are splitting the workload. With failover, when one connector fails, the others take over seamlessly; users are not even aware of the change.
Technology being what it is, it can fail – perhaps due to a power surge. If only one OMNI Bridge is serving a set of printers, critical business printing stops.
In Figure 5, should one OMNI Bridge fail, the second OMNI Bridge completely takes charge of delivering all the jobs to the printers transparently, without the users’ knowledge that something in the print job’s routing changed. As in load balancing, the YSoft OMNI Series group ensures the business-critical prints are delivered on time, every time.
Figure 5. YSoft OMNI Series High Availability when Failover is required
Both failover and load balancing have specifically designed technology behind them to provide a smooth user experience. With two or more groups of OMNI Bridges, you have the redundancy and failover you need for your printing process printers – all through an inexpensive, serverless device that requires minimal maintenance and works with your existing print fleet.
As a true intelligent Edge device, YSoft OMNI Bridge leverages the full power of Microsoft Graph, IPP infrastructure and IPP everywhere to enable organizations to eliminate traditional print servers. Further, by leveraging native cloud technologies such as Azure IoT Edge Platform, it delivers an enterprise grade experience and zero trust security, while maintaining high resilience and service availability. All this, while keeping security as a top priority; TLS is used by default when transferring jobs from OMNI Bridge to the printer.
In short, YSoft OMNI Series provides organizations using Microsoft 365 an easy, cost-effective way to get to cloud printing today with their existing printers as well as a resilient, reliable way to ensure printing is always available.
How does it work?
Login in to the YSoft OMNI Central Portal.
Register OMNI Bridge with Azure AD. When prompted, enter the code displayed on your OMNI Bridge.
When OMNI Bridge registration has successfully completed, your OMNI Bridge will appear in the OMNI Central Portal.
Once a second YSoft OMNI Bridge device has been registered, the two YSoft OMNI Bridges can be configured for high availability by assigning multiple printers to them.
As Universal Print by Microsoft and YSoft OMNI Bridge are both in public preview, real time customer feedback is being incorporated. Early YSoft OMNI Bridge beta customers can already expect a secure, reliable, resilient, and robust print platform. Contact us to join in public preview and let us know what you think.