At some point during your MetaFrame XP system design you'll remember that your users will probably want to print something sooner or later. Printing is an important function to users within their MetaFrame XP sessions, yet it has traditionally been the biggest nightmare for MetaFrame administrators. Ideally, printing from applications via ICA sessions should be no different than printing from any other application. It should be seamless to the user, allowing them to click the print button within their application, easily select a printer, and quickly receive their printout.
All server-based computing environments pose unique challenges to printing. This is not due to any Citrix or Microsoft design flaw, but rather with the way processing occurs in server-based architectures. Because all application processing occurs on the server, users' print jobs are also created on the server. However, users' printers are usually located or configured at their client devices. The process of getting server-generated print jobs to a client-specified printer can be complicated.
In this chapter, we'll look at how Windows printing works and the printing options that are available when using MetaFrame XP. We'll also look at what it takes to assign printers to users when you have dozens or even hundreds of users connecting from the same server. We'll close this chapter with an in-depth case study that examines the challenges faced by one company's multifaceted printing environment.