Print Services - Pandemic Planning

Introduction

In a pandemic situation you would expect that most of us would be off site and that printing wouldn't be used very much. However, assuming there is a skeleton crew on board someone should try to keep the printing services ship shape.

Overview

All printers in the school are now Cloud enabled Xerox SelectPrint devices.

The print setup has been simplified considerably by the introduction of centrally managed cloud printing within the School. The School isn't entirely out of the loop however because we still have two cups servers (one for taught students, the other for everyone else) which provide queues which pass on jobs to the cloud queues. The non student server also serves an ever decreasing number of legacy queues for the Forum printers. The intention is that the last of these should be gone in early 2019.

The two print servers have DNS aliases - infcups and atkrbcups, where the krb stands for kerberised, though in practice kerberos authorisation is no longer used for student printing, all authorisation being done at the printer. MDP machines, and many self managed machines, route their printing through the IS print service, which is sometimes better at dealing with Microsoft based outputs. When investigating printer problems, make sure you know which server the jobs are going via. The E-Financials system also routes directly from an IS server completely by-passing our print servers.

Staff and Postgraduate Printing (AT Offices and Forum)

The main server for the Forum and AT Offices is infcups.inf.ed.ac.uk. This is also the router between the printer wire and various services outside such as the IS print servers and the Xerox supplies system. It is also the mail gateway for scan to email and the DHCP server for the printer wire. If this server goes down then a lot can break. If it needs to be replaced then all those services need to run somewhere else. There is a suitable LCFG header for setting up a new server.

Undergraduate Printing (Student Labs)

The main server for Undergraduate teaching labs is atkrbcups.inf.ed.ac.uk. This offers two queues, each with two names: cloud-mono or cloudm0 for the mono cloud queue and cloud-colour or cloudc0 for the colour queue. As mentioned above, student printing is no longer authorised at our end, all authorisation being done at the printer.

E-Financials and MDP printing

E-Financials has two different ways of printing information. The basic printing from web pages just works the way this would normally, but the printing of Purchase Orders requires set-up by the user, and in the case of setting up a new printer liaison with IS/FIS. Any difficulties here are usually in the setup stages and printer selection. Printers that are E-financial printers have firewall holes so that the IS print server can access them.

Scanning

All scanning is now scan to email. We don't support scanning to file anymore. This requires that all MFDs know to send mail to the gateway/router machine currently infcups. In the event that Infcups is down it should be possible to get the backup print server to act as mail router by copying the configuration from the main one.

Supplies and Support

The Xerox MFDs order their own supplies when needed, usually reasonably well in advance. Each consignment should carry the serial number of the machine requiring supplies. (Note separating boxes tied together can lead to boxes with no destination serial number on them). Forum reception has a list of serial numbers and MFD locations and contacts the relevant admin office to arrange collection. Each admin office stores their own MFD supplies. AT supplies are delivered to the CO area on level 7 and are stored in a cupboard in the teaching office on level 6.

Sometimes the Xerox supply mechanism slips up and we find ourselves short of something, usually exactly as it needs to be replaced. In this situation you can try to find a spare locally, in the first instance try Level 1 admin office. If we don't have the relevant part then sometimes it is possible to get them from the IS Select Print team who can be contacted through the usual IS channels. If you've borrowed a spare from somewhere or just want to order a part then you can do it through the Xerox Fleet Management Portal (FMP)

For details of how to access the FMP and other useful Xerox information, see

/afs/inf.ed.ac.uk/group/services-unit/printing/xerox/useful

You can use the Xerox FMP to arrange a visit from an engineer to fix any problems requiring technical support.

This FMP service unfortunately has a bad habit of expiring passwords if unused for a while. In a pandemic situation someone should check we have access and keep it live. All Xerox MFDs have firewall holes so that they can communicate with the xeroxserver system.

Monitoring printing and diagnosing faults
Queues on our own print servers can be monitored using the
lpq
command. It's very unusual to see anything sitting in these queues since jobs should be passed straight to the cloud print servers. If something has stuck, it's probably because there's an issue at the IS end, however there are instructions below which may help get the queue moving. To see what is happening at the IS end, go to manageprint and click on the blue circle on the top left. click on
Print Queue Status.
This will let you see if there are jobs queued up for any printer (these are jobs which have been released on the printer but have not printed for some reason). If there are jobs queued up, contact IS. It is planned to add facilities to manageprint to allow School COs to restart and clear queues but it's not there yet. You can also use the manageprint interface to give users print credit should their job have failed to print.

Print Credit.

A charge is now made for all printing. Apart from an amount of print credit given at the start of each semester designed to cover the needs of their coursework, taught students are expected to pay for their own printing. Research students and staff credits are topped up to 500 every week by IS. Exactly who gets this credit is controlled via AD groups. This isn't something you should need to change and as mentioned above, should a user need more credit, it can be given via the manageprint interface.

Some Technical details

The header files controlling the infcups and atkrbcups are cups-server.h and cups-kerborised-server.h The component is lcfg-cups. There is a backup print server, borges.inf.ed.ac.uk, which sits mostly idle but gets used for testing etc. It could be used to stand in for one or other of the main print servers, although it is only currently configured as a non-kerberos server. The printer network is wire-N. Nearly all of the Xeroxes have their network configs set manually rather than by DHCP because they were frequently losing their configurations and then were unable to post scans to users. This means that if infcups was moved then they'd need to be reset to the new smtp server manually.

Information on how to configure Windows Managed Desktop Printers can be found on the computing help site.

Instructions for disabling and clearing a print queue

To set up a new print queue follow the instructions on the ServicesUnitPrinterSetup page.

-- GordonReid - 06 Apr 2015

-- CraigStrachan - 27 Feb 2019

Topic revision: r6 - 27 Feb 2019 - 09:19:39 - CraigStrachan
 
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