When I started my career as a programmer, one of my Project Manager’s had a mantra, “A good programmer is a lazy programmer, as he will always try to have the machine do the task for him”. That is the essence of the IT and digital world we are living in, having machines do the repetitive tasks that we don’t like to do, removing many manual steps and having it done repeatedly with accuracy. As an IT professional we are faced every day with a new opportunity to automate annoying tasks, so we jump into any scripting language that we know and spend a few minutes programming the routine that will make our life easier; that’s the one click or one command syndrome, the reward to our laziness that turns us into a cool guy who does the job quickly and properly. Since the beginning of my programming career, on the most famous computer of that time, the IBM 36 mini-computer, I was assigned tasks to automate processes for end users. Regardless of the environment, there was always a reason to make the user’s life easier with a ‘button press’ solution to their daily business needs and routine.
Since these early days, I’ve evolved into different positions, followed IT trends and innovations, but I was always challenged at some point with the need to create or follow a process that looked too cumbersome and convoluted that I was always trying to figure out how to simplify and make it dead simple. Nowadays, in the smartphone era, everyone can jump to a software store, do a search, tap an icon and have a new app up and running on his device in a couple of minutes. In the IT world, where people have to install and maintain business applications, that’s not always that simple, and our partners and customers are facing many roadblocks before they have their enterprise software solution installed, setup and running.
An area where this is especially true is Printing Infrastructure, for those outside of the enterprise printing world, they don’t always imagine the number of pre-requisite that you have to go through until even the installation process can even begin.
– First, you need to have a server provisioned with the proper OS and features installed; this looks simple with virtualization, because most of the time there is a VM template somewhere that will be used. Even this can cause issues. I remember once our application failing because of an obscure network security setup that was hidden and unknown from the IT guy I was working with; the result was a morning spent trying to figure out what the problem was when generally the application would have been installed in 10 min.
– Second, you have to make sure all OS features are installed and active, patches and service packs are installed, network setup is correct etc…
– Because the solution requires a database, you also have to make sure it has been installed separately or in advance, or you’ve asked the customer’s DB manager to allow installing a new database in their existing server; this takes time and can lead to great frustration, as it’s often not easy to obtain the rights to do this.
These are burdens I encountered all the time, either when doing a pre-sales PoC, or while providing post-sales support. I know perfectly why it would be super cool to have most of these difficulties made a thing of the past.
This is where our Hybrid Cloud Platform (HCP) comes in. This solution revolutionises the way customers manage their printing infrastructure. HCP simplifies daily operations with its central administration from the cloud-based management console. Whether you have a simple installation, or a multi-tenant multi-site installation to manage, everything is controlled remotely and securely from the same web admin page; that’s great, but before administering the solution, you need to install its components.
The HCP Gateway is one of these components that needs to be put in place at customer premises to manage specific communications within the LAN, either for security or operational reasons, for example: local LDAP authentication, communicating and sending print jobs to the MFPs, providing Mobile Print access on the internal WiFi network for smartphones and tablets.
This Gateway can be installed as a virtual machine on a VM host, or as a physical appliance in the form of an Intel NUC appliance (we provide guidance for selecting the correct model). This is where laziness comes into play: because we know that you won’t like to spend hours doing an OS installation as per our specs, check installed packages and updates, install a database, figure out how to configure network settings etc… we here at EveryonePrint have developed a strategy with pre-configured Gateway images that you can deploy in just a couple of minutes.
From our Partner Portal you can download this tiny appliance image (less than 1.5 GB can be considered small size these days…) and following the instructions in our documentation, you’ll have your Gateway up and running and attached to the cloud infrastructure before your cup of coffee has had time to cool. For those that plan their day around these mundane, time-consuming tasks, we apologize. You will be finding other business-centric tasks to fill your time!
– Pierre Laurier, Customer support at EveryonePrint A/S