Ready for Serverless Printing?

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When dealing with print devices, you and your clients want things to be as easy as possible.

Copiers are big, complex machines made of many different parts working together to process orders from their users. This makes print management taxing, and complicates the print vendor’s, and the IT staff’s job.

On top of managing devices, network administrators historically deal with the print servers that all of a user’s print devices connect to and rely on to function.

But using print servers creates another variable in the managed print world, and businesses and MSPs want to minimize the number of points of failure. Print servers can have issues and go down for periods of time - even with the most diligent care possible, downtime will always occur.

Plus, a lot of IT infrastructure is moving to the cloud, where MSPs are not necessarily setting up the same infrastructure that previous generations of engineers were accustomed to (Azure AD, anyone?). As a result, serverless printing is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to traditional server-based print management.

At Print Partner, our #1 priority is to keep our MSP partners informed on the latest trends of the solutions we are using within our managed print ecosystem. We work with hundreds of MSPs throughout the country handling our partner’s printing needs so that your MSP can focus on your higher-priority tasks.

In this article, we will review what serverless printing is - how it works, how it compares to traditional print servers, and how we expect it to impact the corporate and managed print services industry as a whole.

What is a Print Server?

Before print servers, setting up an office’s print fleet was an all-day, or sometimes multi-day sluggish process. Technicians needed to go to every computer and install all relevant print drivers to each workstation and configure all the specific paper trays, accounting, and other device-specific settings.

Print servers eliminated this manual work, allowing admins and MSP to configure print devices once, set the drivers and then push printers to designated users and workstations using group policy. Print servers also allow users to self-deploy by browsing to the print server and selecting their desired print devices. Setting up and managing devices became infinitely easier!

But our industry has come a long way since then. While print servers have made print management more convenient, they’ve also brought their share of frustrations, as anyone from the IT industry can surely attest to.

If the server goes down for any reason, so does the entire print fleet - no printing for anyone.

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This level of vulnerability can lead to understandable anxieties for both IT and office staff, knowing that all operations would come to a screeching halt should the server have issues.

And a larger user base means a greater risk. The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

It’s no wonder why the community has begun exploring alternatives to server-based printing.

Azure Active Directory

Enter the age of Azure AD.

To make matters more complicated for MSP and IT staff, the introduction of and slow/uncertain migration to Microsoft’s Azure AD has presented a confusing fork in the road for things like print devices.

For the longest time, Microsoft didn’t make provision for print management in their cloud offering. So MSPs actively moving their client base to Azure AD and using Intune for cloud deployment were forced to consider spinning up a traditional print server for continued print management.

Over time, Microsoft introduced Universal Print, which still has yet to be fully embraced by the MSP/IT community. We all know how long it took for Sharepoint to stake its full claim as a cloud-based file system - expect no difference here.

How Does Serverless Printing Work?

Let’s recap: in the beginning, computers required the installation of drivers to connect to print devices. Print servers enabled IT teams to deploy the proper drivers and a consistent configuration to simplify installation.

While print servers made installation more manageable, the reliance on the health of a single server OS hosting the print server role makes users vulnerable to even minor issues, sometimes crippling the entire office workflow. 

(And with the migration to Azure AD, most MSPs are still using a print server to deploy printers, unsure of how to bridge the gap to serverless print)

Serverless printing is the solution to this reliance.

In a way, “serverless” may be a misleading term, as this type of managed print can still use servers, just not in the same way.

Many “serverless” print applications actually use servers for installation, but not for day-to-day print operations. Here’s how it works:

  • When a new device is added to an office’s managed print services, that device connects to a server that automatically installs drivers for all copiers and printers that the user needs access to.

  • Afterward, when the user goes to print, their request goes directly to the copier or printer rather than through a print server. If the server used for installation goes down, it will have no effect on users that already have print devices installed.

  • If the user transfers the computer elsewhere, such as another office or another division of the company, it can be set up to automatically install the devices and drivers for the new location, and uninstall the devices and drivers for the old site.

Rather than everyone always relying on one server to carry the company, serverless printing uses servers only for installation during initial setup and when moving devices between offices, as well as to routinely check if there has been any change in the assigned print device configuration or group assignments.

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And this is only one form of serverless printing - other ways to print without a server may actually use no servers, opting for a cloud-based solution.

Bottom line: serverless printing gives users the ability to bypass the drawbacks of print servers.

Benefits of Serverless Printing

The most apparent benefit of ditching the print server is the freedom to stop relying on a central print server. Eliminating a massive variable in the workflow can offer users peace of mind and a more consistent print experience.

The amount of stress and headaches that serverless printing can save IT staff from cannot be understated. One of the primary reasons MSPs hate print is because of the high-priority, emergency situations managed print services can create.

Every MSP has that one CEO whose printer caused a five-bell alarm.

For more on why MSPs tend to dislike print, read: 5 Reasons Why MSPs Hate Print

Serverless solutions also tend to offer a higher level of confidentiality and security. Users don’t need to be as concerned about a single server getting hacked, allowing all of the company’s print workflow to be halted by an attack.

Serverless solutions also offer deeper insight into analytics and accounting, which is a huge bonus for both finance teams as well as IT folks who want to provide a more clear picture of what is happening in a typically obscure area.

Between the additional functions serverless solutions offer, paired with the stability it brings and the pressure it eases from IT staff, one thing is clear: serverless printing is here to stay.

Serverless Print Solutions

Here are some of the most popular serverless print solutions that our parent company, Green Office Partner, offers to clients.


PaperCut is the market leader in print management, cost control, content security, and mobility print software.

PaperCut is packed full of features that will encourage better printing habits, implement reasonable usage quotas, and enable full pay-for-print and print chargeback policies. 

Here are some of the benefits PaperCut offers:

  • Secure and Easy Follow-Me Printing: Everyday users can hit print and securely pick up documents on any device in your client’s fleet

  • Roaming Print: PaperCut gives roaming users the freedom to print at any office without assistance of IT support. PaperCut automatically installs print drivers for roaming workers as they move from office to office, saving IT countless hours and increasing the efficiency of your client’s mobile workforce.

  • Print Security: PaperCut helps clients authorize who, when, and how users print with ID cards or cell phones via embedded multifunction device software for quick 'tap and release' of print jobs.

  • Mobile Printing: Your clients can use mobile devices to send print jobs to any print queue.

  • Cutting Edge Scanning: Use cloud and OCR scanning technology to store documents in Google Drive, OneDrive, SharePoint, Box, Dropbox, etc.


PrinterLogic is another option for clients that allows them to eliminate print servers and deliver a serverless printing infrastructure.

PrinterLogic’s centrally-managed direct IP printing platform empowers end users with mobile printing, secure release printing, and various other high-level applications that many traditional server-based print services lack.

Here’s a quick summary of PrinterLogic’s implementation workflow, direct from their website:

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PrinterLogic has many MSPs licking their chops - Once implemented for a customer, it’s quite a game changer.

The Future of Serverless Printing and Print Partner

Serverless printing is an ideal print solution for any business large enough to benefit from it.

And while smaller offices can still get away with using print servers, it’s becoming increasingly evident for larger multi-site clients to make the move to serverless. 

The amount of deals Print Partner signs that include a serverless printing solution goes up yearly, and we see no signs of that trend slowing down.

But navigating and understanding managed print services gets confusing, and many of your less tech-savvy clients may struggle with shopping for what is the right fit for them.

If you have clients that need help with print, consider referring them to Print Partner!

We are the trusted partners of hundreds of MSPs throughout the US, handling your clients’ print so they can focus on their business, and your MSP can focus on your high-priority tasks.

We offer serverless options to keep your clients ahead of the print curve.

Plus, we pay you! For each qualified referral you send our way, we’ll pay you at least $250 for the introduction, plus $1,000 per copier sold and 5% of their lifetime print allotment.

So if you want to help your clients leap serverless while creating an additional revenue stream for your company, consider partnering with us, a Print Partner you can trust.

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