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