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I might have get dragged into a Project involving moving the whole IT shop into Azure. Now that means they have on-site AD, LOB Applications, SQL, Sharepoint etc, plus of course moving to Office 365, including Exchange and Lync.

After some reading, I can understand that most of services and server functions can be moved to Azure (great answer by Katherine Villyard https://serverfault.com/a/569754/236828). But how about printing? In my head, running a Windows server as a print server in Azure, would cause a lot of traffic back and forth for print jobs. First the print job might be spooled on the client (on-site), sent to Azure to a print server, then sent back again from the print server to the actual printer on-site. As most IT people know, some print jobs are pretty big, especially when Marketing decides to go crazy for a new campaign. How to deal with that situation?

The client wants to get rid of all servers on-site and move everything into Azure, and just to make it even worse, to replace the wired network with wireless everywhere.

As an old guy in the business, I feel a little sad that this might be the future for IT admins. Either work directly with servers at a cloud provider, or just sit in a clean office and administrating users and groups with Office 365, doing simple things and reading endless EULAs and manage pay-as-you-go services. I can't think of anything more boring, not being able to feel and touch some real hardware sometimes (and no, I don't consider laptops and tablets as real hardware).

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    Good question. I guess you could use GPOs to map the printers directly to the machines (so they print directly to the printers, rather than via the print server) or suck it up and deal with the upload/downloading of the attachments and when people whine why their 1.6GB pdf print job is taking ages say "this whole cloud thing isn't so great after all". Or cheat, and have one server, locally, for just printing. – tombull89 Aug 8 '14 at 23:04
  • @tombull89, Yeah that was also my first thoughts, just keep a local server just for printing. To map printers directly to the clients (and force local print spooling) is not an option i think, as it will be fun to administrate and the client will be very slow until printing is finished. – xcom3 Aug 8 '14 at 23:21
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If the company can standardize on Windows 8 (or newer) clients then Branch Office Printing is a good choice.

It masquerades the print queue for the user, utilizing direct spooling (and local client rendering) but still maintaining a centralized queue for management and print drivers. It also has a cache function, keeping printing alive even if the WAN link goes down.

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This works exactly the way you describe it. What I would do is inform the client what it means to have the print server in the cloud. Tell them exactly those concerns.

In the end, it's their decision, and if they decide that marketing can wait for an hour to get their stuff printed, then so be it...

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@xcom3. Sorry if my post seems like a advertisement, but this issue is pretty much why I have started a company called printix.net

This product peer-to-peer and cloud based, which keeps the traffic on the local network, along with that you can administrate the users and printers via the cloud.

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