How to Deploy Color Printing Optimally

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					How to Deploy Color Printing Optimally

An HP Planner

This planner is designed to help organizations deploy color optimally in everyday office-printing environments. Deploying color optimally helps ensure that an organization will reap all the benefits of improved communication that today’s color printing can deliver. It involves proactively planning for a wide range of issues, including technology infrastructure management, user training and support, and ongoing monitoring, measurement and maintenance. Proactive deployment planning in these and other areas enables an organization to maximize the benefits of color while minimizing the risk of problems. Think about it: Examine your current printing and imaging environment to identify issues that could impact the effective deployment of color. Act on it: Follow our checklist of key questions to ask yourself before, during and after deploying color. Work with it: Consider different scenarios for integrating color printers into the network to determine the most effective approach for your environment. Get help with it: Learn more about the choices in color devices available to you from Hewlett-Packard.

Think about it
There are important considerations in planning for a color printer deployment within a company. Network utilization and traffic. Deploying printers on an existing network requires a careful assessment of the network utilization levels of the servers that users will be printing to. This will help with decisions about optimally locating printers and servers on the network as part of the color deployment. It’s also important to analyze where color users will be located; understanding where the use of color will have an impact will help with decisions about which network segments can best accommodate the added traffic. Operating systems and printer drivers. In an optimal color deployment, servers, clients and printers all work together smoothly and efficiently. This is, to a significant extent, a function of planning ahead to make sure that server and client operating systems optimally support the printer drivers for new color devices. It’s important to keep in mind that different client operating systems may support different drivers, and that these differences can have an effect on network utilization and file sizes— especially when older operating systems are involved. Being aware of differences in operating systems makes it possible to anticipate where there might be driver-related performance issues so you can respond accordingly. Print network and device management. To enable interoperability with existing network management tools, standards-based output management tools should be part of any new color deployment. For device management, it’s critical to have management tools that allow tracking of device usage by a variety of criteria, including blackand-white vs. color pages. This information will be helpful in assessing how the deployment is working over the long term, so necessary adjustments can be made to improve efficiency and control costs. User training and support. New color devices may be in the form of multifunction products (MFPs) that users are less familiar with than the traditional printers they might be accustomed to using. It’s important to provide advance communication and training about these devices and their capabilities. This will help reduce the risks of mass user dissatisfaction after deployment, prevent a loss of productivity due to the inability to use new equipment, and lower the possibility of increased support costs resulting from post-deployment surges in help desk calls.

Ongoing monitoring, measurement and maintenance. Steps can be taken before deployment to make it easier over the long term to monitor and measure color device performance and maintain the devices. Such steps could include: > installing a monitoring solution such as HP’s free Web Jetadmin software to keep track of utilization and other activities. > establishing baseline measurements of performance factors such as printers’ speed, resolution and color accuracy to compare against over time. > creating a maintenance schedule to use over the life of the devices to keep them performing optimally.

 The Test Network

In The Definitive Guide to Office Color Printing, Don Jones recommends creating a test network to measure network traffic created by printing—before proceeding with full deployment of color on the production network. Such a test network should be: > a single-segment network isolated from the
 production network.
 > set up with only three devices: print server, client and printer. > used to measure network traffic from client to
 server and from server to printer.
 Network utilization can be measured on such a test network using tools such as Task Manager (in Microsoft® Windows Server™ 2003) or Network Monitor (a limited version of which is included with Windows). Source: Don Jones, The Definitive Guide to Office Color Printing, 2004


Deployment Issues at a Glance Benefits of Addressing in Deployment Network traffic and utilization Operating systems and printer drivers Optimized network performance Smooth interaction between servers, clients and printers Sound infrastructure for interoperability and long-term usage tracking More productive, effective use of color from the start Baseline for continued good performance Risks of Failing to Address Strained network capacity Compromised printer capabilities such as file compression Inability to detect and respond efficiently to changes in network and device environments Downtime due to unfamiliarity with functions; increased support demands Long-term difficulties in maintaining optimal state

Print network and device management

User training and support

Ongoing monitoring, measurement and maintenance

Act on it
Here are some key questions that organizations that are deploying color should ask themselves before and after the process. These are the types of questions that will generally arise in any environment; there may be others that come out of your specific environment. Your deployment team should take the time to brainstorm in the general areas described in this planner to come up with additional questions that may need to be addressed. Before deployment: > What are the current levels of network utilization? > Where will the use of color most likely affect network traffic? > Which servers will be used as print servers? What are their utilization levels? > What is the server OS? > Which client OSs will users be printing from? > Which OSs do the new color printers support? > What network and device management tools will you deploy with the new devices? > What usage tracking tools will you use? > How will you establish baseline measurements for printer performance? > What new functions are available with the new devices that will require user preparation and training?

After deployment: > Are you monitoring network utilization on an ongoing basis? > Is network utilization meeting your expectations? Exceeding them? > What steps can you take to address unanticipated excessive network utilization? > Are you tracking printer utilization as well as network utilization? > Are printers being used about as much as you anticipated, or have circumstances changed to drive up demand and require an adjustment in the environment? > Are you regularly updating printer drivers to use the newest versions? > Are you using device management tools to control user access to color printing when appropriate? > Are you tracking black-and-white vs. color usage on the color printers in your deployment? > What trends do you see in the use of black-and-white vs. color? > Are your expectations for where users will need color holding up, or have circumstances changes to warrant some sort of adjustment in this regard? > Are you monitoring performance to determine whether devices are performing up to your expectations? > Are you using management software to help ensure that printers are available to the people who need them, when they need them? > Have you scheduled regular printer maintenance as recommended by the manufacturer to keep printers in optimal working order?


Work with it
Incorporating color printers into your office environment requires planning to help ensure that the printers are placed and networked for maximum effectiveness in the environment. Here is some useful information for dealing with this aspect of your deployment. Where to place printers in the environment. Common sense tells you that color printers should be physically placed as close as possible to the people who will be using them the most. Once you have created a plan for physical placement based on specific user needs in your environment, tracking usage over time will tell you whether your initial expectations in this area continue to be valid or whether circumstances have changed to warrant an adjustment. For example, if you anticipated that certain groups of users would need color only rarely, but a subsequent reorganization changes their job responsibilities to require it often, you may want to move the users or the printers to accommodate the change. (And if those users initially had limited permission-based access to color printing, you will want to adjust your device-management parameters accordingly.)

How to integrate printers into the network. How and where you place printers on the network is important because it can affect network utilization. For example, if you locate printers on the same network segment as clients, it can be inefficient for network utilization because the data will have to go from client to server, and then from server to printer, using up network bandwidth on the server and client segment twice. You might instead consider placing clients and printers close to the print server, but not on the same network segment as the server. Creating a dedicated server for printers is a quick and simple process, as described by Don Jones in The Definitive Guide to Office Color Printing.*

This diagram illustrates an optimal configuration for integrating printers into the network. The use of printerdedicated bandwidth helps to ensure efficient network utilization.

Color printers

Print server
Based on information from The Definitive Guide to Office Color Printing





Get help with it
HP offers an extensive line of color printers in a variety of categories to meet your specific needs for everyday office printing. Go to the HP Color Printing Center to learn more about: > HP DeskJet and Mobile Printers > HP Business Inkjet Printers > HP Color LaserJet Printers > HP All-in-One Printers and Multifunction Products (MFPs) that combine printing, scanning and faxing > HP Designjet Printers for wide and large format output HP’s printing experts can also work with you to develop an effective strategy for color printer acquisition and placement.

Want to know more?
At HP we understand that knowledge is the most important tool for business, government and education. Please visit our dynamic repository of informative white papers, business cases and hands-on training resources online at You’ll find everything you need to know to understand what’s going on in your printing and imaging environment and what you can do to get the most from your investments.

How HP can help
HP is the industry leader in printing and imaging innovation and reliability. Whether you need to buy one printer, develop a strategy for effectively deploying color, multifunction and document management devices, or you want to completely transform your printing and imaging environment, HP has the experts, experience and technology to deliver the right solution, right now. Call us at 1-800-407-9701 to talk about how HP can help you save money and increase productivity today.

*Don Jones, The Definitive Guide to Office Color Printing,, 2004.

© 2005 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. The only warranties for HP products and services are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. HP shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein. Microsoft is a registered U.S. trademark of Microsoft Corporation.

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