Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) had a significant challenge managing its on-premise printing solution that consisted of 17 servers.
This situation led to numerous complications, including concerns about servers breaking down, excessive resources requirements, and an overall high IT management overhead.
The university was seeking a modern, user-friendly, and reliable solution. After evaluating their options, they decided to transition to a hybrid setup using Papercut software, in collaboration with Vision and Betasoft, hosted on Azure.
The university, in partnership with Vision (hardware) and Betasoft (software), set up a new infrastructure in Azure and built a test environment to ensure the system worked as expected.
This setup comprised a spooler server on-premises and the main Papercut server, two additional servers, and a database, all hosted in Azure.
The process took three weeks, during which time the team built, tested, and configured the environment. An additional challenge was reconfiguring 300 devices, which was achieved using custom tools.
To ensure a seamless transition for the users, the migration was completed over a weekend. This strategy meant that the users experienced minimal disruption – they saw a different icon, but the functionality remained the same.
Initially, MMU wanted an entirely cloud-based solution. However, upon realising the potential costs associated with high print traffic in the cloud, they opted for a hybrid setup.
This change caused some inconvenience for Betasoft but was deemed necessary for cost-effectiveness.
By consolidating from 17 servers down to just four (with only one on-premises), MMU experienced significant benefits:
- Cost Savings: The university saw substantial financial savings by reducing resources required for maintaining multiple servers.
- Reduced IT Management Overhead: The consolidation greatly reduced the stress on the IT team, freeing them to focus on other tasks.
- Reliability: By shifting the responsibility for server uptime to Microsoft, the university now has a more resilient setup.
- Modern, User-Friendly Interface: Papercut offered a more modern and visually appealing interface compared to SafeCom, enhancing the user experience.
- Print as a Service: With the move to Papercut, MMU embraced the “Print as a Service” model, offloading the printing challenges to the service provider.
In conclusion, MMU’s transition from SafeCom to Papercut facilitated a smoother, more cost-effective, and less resource-intensive solution.
The new setup took away the headache from the IT department and led to a significant improvement in user experience. This transformation highlights the potential benefits of adopting a cloud-based or hybrid “Print as a Service” model.