Landes­ober­be­hörde IT Baden-Württemberg (BITBW)

Police Baden-Würt­­te­m­­berg builds on AKI: Auto­mated processes instead of a proli­fe­ra­tion of drivers

The customer

The higher state autho­rity IT Baden-Würt­tem­berg (BITBW) is one of the larger IT service provi­ders in the public autho­rity envi­ron­ment and supports a large number of public service custo­mers – inclu­ding the police of the state of Baden-Würt­tem­berg. Its tasks include the control and moni­to­ring of client/server systems, network services for voice and data trans­mis­sion as well as the deve­lo­p­ment and opera­tion of specia­lised appli­ca­tions for admi­nis­tra­tive tasks. In addi­tion, BITBW, toge­ther with the Baden-Würt­tem­berg Logi­stics Centre (LZBW), is respon­sible for the central procu­re­ment of infor­ma­tion and commu­ni­ca­tion tech­no­logy (ICT) for the state admi­nis­tra­tion of Baden-Würt­tem­berg. Another main area of respon­si­bi­lity is user support. BITBW curr­ently employs around 300 people.

  • Sector Authority
  • Task Unify printer drivers, reduce the number of drivers and simplify printer administration
  • Top chall­enge Many prin­ters and high driver diver­sity – unifi­ca­tion of printer drivers and auto­matic driver distri­bu­tion to 668 servers
  • Solu­tion AKI Prin­Taurus Commander, Prin­Taurus Driver­Server and Prin­Taurus ResQueue
  • Top bene­fits Simple driver manage­ment and distri­bu­tion, auto­mated update and reco­very, uniform drivers on all servers and much less admi­nis­tra­tive effort with fewer prin­ting problems at the same time

The task

The Baden-Würt­tem­berg police force has about 6,000 prin­ters from diffe­rent manu­fac­tu­rers in use at 668 loca­tions – inclu­ding the State Criminal Police Office, govern­ment and police head­quar­ters and police direc­to­rates. “The majo­rity of our prin­ters come from a small type fund, as they are procured centrally throug­hout the state,” explains Karl Leidig, project manager at BITBW. The prin­ters are replaced every four years. In addi­tion, however, there are other devices for special tasks. “Our appro­xi­m­ately 80 ‘exotics’ are natu­rally used much longer than the ’normal’ printers.”

The prin­ters have diffe­rent purposes: from pure work­place prin­ters with a low print volume, to floor prin­ters, to central prin­ters with 6,000 sheets of paper per month. Further­more, indi­vi­dual copiers are addi­tio­nally used as prin­ters. “From the big Ricoh 5000 to Konica Minolta Bizhubs – we have almost ever­y­thing available,” explains Karl Leidig. Espe­ci­ally for the police, it is simply expected that the prin­ters work around the clock without any problems: Witness state­ments have to be printed and signed, arrest warrants issued to several teams.

The biggest problem was the many diffe­rent drivers. “Before we intro­duced our nati­on­wide domain, there was a huge variety of drivers: diffe­rent loca­tions used diffe­rent drivers for the same prin­ters,” says Leidig. In addi­tion, 50 direc­to­rates procure their copiers – which are also used as prin­ters – them­selves; iden­tical devices are not always purchased. “In the end, we had far more than 200 printer drivers for consider­ably fewer than 200 printer types,” Leidig recalls.

Unicat’s Opera­tions Manager is used to create and confi­gure the prin­ters on site. This is a soft­ware system for auto­ma­ting opera­tional processes in distri­buted and inho­mo­ge­neous IT infra­struc­tures. BITBW only had stan­dard board tools at its disposal for the admi­nis­tra­tion of the prin­ting envi­ron­ment – this meant a lot of manual work, a huge amount of time and high costs. Conve­ni­ence: a dead end!

The solu­tion

In the course of migra­ting the regional domains into a single, central domain, the clients were reinstalled and the server land­scape stan­dar­dised, but at the same time the prin­ters were adopted one-to-one. The focus was on the migra­tion into one domain. The prin­ters just had to work. After the upgrade to Micro­soft Windows Server 2008 and later to Micro­soft Windows Server 2008 R2, the print servers were also to be reor­ga­nised. BITBW, toge­ther with the Baden Würt­tem­berg Police, decided to imple­ment a new print manage­ment solu­tion. The primary goal was to stan­dar­dise and harmo­nise the driver land­scape and to signi­fi­cantly reduce the number of drivers. “Regional” drivers were to become a thing of the past.

In addi­tion, BITBW natu­rally needed a suitable distri­bu­tion system that would make the appro­priate drivers available at the respec­tive loca­tion on the corre­spon­ding print server. Further requi­re­ments were the backup and restore capa­bi­lity of the prin­ters of the print server (spooler confi­gu­ra­tion) and simpler, uniform admi­nis­tra­tion options. An addi­tional requi­re­ment: inter­faces to Unicat’s Opera­tions Manager and to BITBW’s internal systems. The conver­sion of the print manage­ment had to be carried out during ongoing operations.

“After a compre­hen­sive market review, the decision was made in favour of AKI and the Prin­Taurus soft­ware,” says Karl Leidig. The intel­li­gent print manage­ment solu­tion works across manu­fac­tu­rers, has a modular struc­ture and ensures economic, conve­nient and secure prin­ting in printer land­scapes of all sizes. The Prin­Taurus Commander is the single point of control. It enables easy admi­nis­tra­tion and manage­ment of the printer network with an intui­tive graphical user inter­face. It is not a rigid solu­tion, but can be adapted to the indi­vi­dual requi­re­ments and needs of the network.

BITBW also relies on the Prin­Taurus ResQueue module: it backs up complete Windows spooler confi­gu­ra­tions, provides daily backup and restore routines and shor­tens the migra­tion of print servers. Another module – Prin­Taurus Driver­Server – auto­ma­ti­cally updates, manages and installs printer drivers on the network’s print servers. This means that the times when the team around admi­nis­trator Helmut Vogel had to do this work manu­ally in a tedious and time-consuming way are over.

“With AKI we have backed the right horse. Driver distri­bu­tion on 668 print servers is now fully auto­matic and we have iden­tical, up-to-date driver versions ever­y­where. If indi­vi­dual drivers have to be restored, this is now also done auto­ma­ti­cally!”, reports Karl Leidig. “This saves us a lot of time. Last but not least: we were able to reduce our number of drivers from well over 200 to about 85.” This also reduces the possible sources of errors.

“The graphic inter­face has made the entire admi­nis­tra­tion clearer and easier. In addi­tion, we now have much shorter response times to prin­ting problems,” says Karl Leidig. Although there were typical minor diffi­cul­ties during the intro­duc­tion, for example some drivers were not yet available for Windows Server 2008 R2, AKI and BITBW were able to work toge­ther to get the problems under control.

Print manage­ment has now been intro­duced for 668 loca­tions, each with a print server and appro­xi­m­ately 6,000 prin­ters. 30,000 users access the prin­ters from 20,000 clients. “With the AKI solu­tion, we save a lot of time and money. In addi­tion, our help­desk has seen a signi­fi­cant decrease in printer fail­ures and the end users are obviously satis­fied. Our police want to print, not wait!”

“I parti­cu­larly like the ability to auto­ma­ti­cally provide and distri­bute drivers across the country. Unifor­mity of drivers is an issue that comes up in every network at some point. We have solved that very well with AKI.”
Karl Leidig

Police officer, Landes­ober­be­hörde IT Baden-Württemberg (BITBW)

“Mana­ging print servers, queues, ports and drivers: all with a single point of control.”
Helmut Vogel

System admi­nis­trator, Landes­ober­be­hörde IT Baden-Württemberg (BITBW)

The bene­fits

  • Single point of control – central admi­nis­tra­tion of the printer network with intui­tive graphical interface
  • Comfor­table and auto­matic instal­la­tion of printer drivers in the network
  • Uniform printer drivers on all print servers
  • Always up-to-date through auto­mated driver updates
  • Fewer prin­ting problems – help­desk needs to inter­vene much less frequently


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