Tech Community Live: Windows edition
Jun 05 2024, 07:30 AM - 11:30 AM (PDT)
Microsoft Tech Community

Universal Print Billing, and Education customers

Copper Contributor

I've been using Microsoft active directory for the last 12 years, and Novell eDir for 10 years before that.

 

This year I have been working towards a clean break change to Azure AD / M365 Education A3. Everything has been going smoothly, until the issue of printing comes up.

 

The administration staff explode at me. It's going to cost us to print now? It's been free forever and now suddenly Microsoft wants to gouge our eyeballs out over printing?

 

The pay in advance bulk pricing is especially grating because as a school district we have no way to predict what the month to month costs will be, as staff work through their curriculum programs for the year.

 

Apparently we are going to be forced to pay year round for a peak job event that occurs maybe once a month for the entire year.

 

And then when our summer vacation arrives for June, July, and August, suddenly the staff and student combined print volume drops to near zero, but we're still going to be forking out for potentially hundreds to thousands of jobs per month that won't be used.

 

Why can't Microsoft just bill customers for the exact amount of print jobs per month? Is that somehow too hard for Microsoft programmers to implement?

 

,

People are demanding that I provide a way to continue using onsite local printing at no cost. Well okay.... I guess it's possible.....

 

Um let's see, domain controller, Azure AD Connect, set up local print server queues in Print Management, push the drivers via an Intune application install package, and then create the domain server print queue share paths via a Powershell script in the Intune application package, since no such functionality is provided in Intune.

 

This will be a challenge, almost as if Microsoft is trying to coax us in the direction of paying for something we never had to pay for before, by removing or just not providing built-in support for connecting local print shares natively in InTune...

 

2 Replies

Hi @Dale_Mahalko 

 

Thank you for reaching out and taking time to share honest feedback.

 

Universal Print is a very different product than traditional on-prem print management and is catered for customers who want to completely move to cloud and ease their deployment architecture. We expect that over time (may take several years) customers will replace their printers with Universal Print ready printers - this will remove a lot of components simplifying the deployments. It further removes the need for print drivers and is a catalyst for significant shift in industry.

 

Check out our architecture diagram to visualize the same. 

 

As we target simplification, we have taken over management of various components within Microsoft's infrastructure and provide Universal Print as a SaaS offering. However, for EDU the pricing already benefits from EDU specific discounting.

 

Your feedback about seasonality in print demand is valid and we will share the same with our business counterparts. 

 

We look forward to you trying out Universal Print and realize the potential benefits of a cloud offering. We continue to learn from our customers' experiences and look forward to hearing more feedback from you.

 

Thanks and regards,

Saurabh

The main issue to me is why Microsoft is choosing this particular hill to die on, charging education customers for print jobs, but not for example for OneDrive cloud storage and backup.

It is bizarre that each Education A3 user gets 5 TB of OneDrive storage and 365 days of file recovery.

My Active Directory onsite file servers have an average of 20-40 GB in teaching staff storage, with virtual machine backups stored offsite in AWS S3 Infrequent Access. I don't limit what they can store, that's just what they use on average.

For Microsoft to include 5 TB of OneDrive storage per M365 Education A3 staff user plus a year of file recovery... that has an astronomical storage and replication technology backend cost compared to what I have been doing onsite.

I really don't think the staff need all that pre-provisioned OneDrive storage, and they probably won't ever use all of it.

Yet Microsoft chooses to nickel and dime us over print jobs.

,

I suspect that what this comes down to, is that universal print jobs require instant on-demand CPU cycles dedicated to completing print jobs as quickly as possible, and Microsoft has to maintain a large collection of virtual machines on hot-standby to handle these end user jobs as quickly as possible.

The cost per universal print job is probably an indirect way of Microsoft billing Azure AD / M365 customers for those on-demand cloud-server hot-CPU cycles.

My main irritation is that Microsoft does not provide a way for "traditional" onsite IT departments to take ownership of these costs by themselves.

I would be fine with running an onsite on-prem Microsoft virtual machine that is Azure connected, provides universal print CPU job cycles for our tenant entirely internally, using my own hardware and VM hypervisor (VMware, KVM/QEMU, etc), and with flat-fee annual licensing from Microsoft.