Printing in Cloud Desktop Enviroments
The question of how to print in cloud desktop environments keeps coming up. I have already heard „The world today is paperless“ as answer on this question. Well, when I look over my desk I am probably still in the past. I try to avoid printouts, but there are printouts that I simply want to have in paper form, or that I must have in paper form, because legally prescribed.
Cloud desktops are not per se connected to the end device (on which
the user is sitting in front). This is an enormous advantage of this
technology, because it allows you to work with cloud desktops from
almost anywhere without having to worry about viruses or malware being
infiltrated by the end device.
Unfortunately, this means that it is not so easy to access a printer attached to the local device or local network. Fortunately, there are now various possibilities that printing is also possible here. Which option is the right one depends on the use case, the way you want to print and also on your wallet.
Integrated Cloud Printing functionality when accessing desktop via browser
Various cloud desktop providers have integrated cloud printing
functionality into their solutions. Once set up, a special „printer“
converts the print job into a PDF document and sends it to the user’s
browser. The user can then use the browser to print the document to a
printer (local or network) set up in the end device.
The initial mapping between the virtual desktop and the browser is done quickly but should be certainly not ignored in larger environments.
Integrated Cloud Printing functionality for access desktops via native clients
Native clients are installed on the end device and used to access the
cloud desktops. They offer greater functionality and are faster than
WebClients through optimized transfer protocols. Printing is similar to
1. Once initial mapping is done, the document to be printed is converted
to PDF format and passed to the native client. Via this client, the
user can then print the document on a printer set up in the end device.
Via VPN connection
Most cloud desktop providers offer the possibility to connect the
cloud desktop environment to the existing corporate network via VPN. If
connected all corporate shares and printers are available which are
enabled to the user.
It is a proven solution which will of course reach its limits if the user wants to print something briefly in the home office.
Cloud printing tools
Cloud printing tools like ezeep don’t just work on cloud desktops.
Here a gateway service which is set up on a computer that is in the same
network as the printer and speaks to the cloud service of the cloud
printing tool. A special „printer“ is set up on the cloud desktop again.
This sends the print job to the cloud service, which in turn sends it
to the printer via the gateway computer.
Cloud printing tools offer many possibilities for user, printer administration and monitoring but are not quite cheap in the long run.
Printer manufacturer’s own mobile printing tools
These tools such as ePrint from HP are also not only suitable for
cloud desktops. Here the ePrint capable printer gets a unique email
address from the cloud service of the printer manufacturer. The file to
be printed is now sent as an email attachment to this email address of
Fast free solution, which requires an appropriate printer. If necessary, the content to be printed must first be saved in a PDF, which is then sent to the printer. There are also size restrictions for the print attachments to be sent.
Even if the cloud desktop runs in the cloud, there are possibilities to print generated documents locally. Yes, you are even spoilt for choice. For most applications, the cloud printing functions offered by the cloud desktop providers will be enough. In larger environments or with special print formats, VPN or cloud printing tools will certainly be used.