High Availability Printing
When it comes to patient data in the emergency room, every minute counts! Admission papers, laboratory labels, medication and treatment plans must be printed out quickly and reliably in order to guarantee the patient the best possible care. If the printer fails or the documents are not in the printer tray as planned, time-critical processes come to a standstill. This results in unnecessary waiting times and helpdesk calls. The hospital staff and patients are annoyed.
But it’s not only when the health of patients is at stake that printing must not be disrupted or fail. If a print server is not available at night, e.g. if picklists from SAP® are to be printed out time-controlled for order processing the next day, deliveries of goods cannot be picked and shipped on time.
The consequences are dissatisfied customers, stressed personnel, time pressure and unnecessary costs.
Challenges in detail
When considering a failure-proof printing environment, it is important to rely on the highest possible degree of automation in order to avoid time losses due to time-consuming troubleshooting and manual intervention.
In addition, the chosen concept should be based on standards and be easily integrated into the existing environment with printers, print servers and systems in the company.
The entire printing process and all error sources that could ultimately lead to a print failure must be included for a total high availability solution. Each sub-process should be checked and maintenance cycles of the systems involved should also be taken into account.
The advantages at a glance
- Maximum security through high availability on several levels
- Automated back-up concepts (no interaction of user or helpdesk necessary)
- Time critical processes and productivity are not interrupted
- Use of standards
- Easy integration into existing printing infrastructure
- All operations of the BC-XOM interface are supported (printing from SAP®)
- Availability of the systems even during maintenance periods (back-up system/alternative printer takes over)
- Supported print server systems: Windows, Unix, Linux
- 24/7 availability for all companies with time-critical and sensitive processes
- Helpdesk is relieved, ticket volume reduced
- Relief for the IT department
- Satisfied users and customers
AKI’s concept for a high-availability printing environment covers the three essential parts of the printing process.
- Availability of the print server
For a print job, e.g. from SAP®, the system first checks whether the responsible print server can be reached. Otherwise, the request goes to a redundant print server. All relevant status feedback for the print job continue to function and all operations of the certified BC-XOM interface are supported. The solution works for Windows, Unix and Linux print servers.
- Availability of print paths and print devices
If a print device has a malfunction, the system automatically re-routes to an alternative device. The monitoring of the printer queue also detects problems such as empty toner or no paper. Printer groups with up to 10 devices can be configured.
- Availability of the printer mappings for the user
The configuration for the printer assignments on the client PCs are kept on several print servers. If the master server fails, the printer mapping data is pulled from a backup server. The user does not notice this during his work.