Sizing your InfoPrint Manager environment
The number of InfoPrint Manager servers you need depends on many factors. In this section, we provide only an overview of the most important performance issues that can influence your server purchase plans. To begin, the features and configurations of each InfoPrint Manager server system are extremely important. Important server factors that affect printing system performance includes:
- Processor speed
- Number of processors
- Available RAM
- Available hard disk space
- Hard disk speed
- Number of hard disk drives
- Balance of InfoPrint Manager data sets across available disk drives
- Tuning specifications for hard disk drivers
- Paging space allocations (drive locations and size)
- Number of data paths (single or dual)
The output devices that InfoPrint Manager drives are also important:
- Speed and resolution of printers or other output devices
- Number of output devices operating concurrently
- Number of output devices per actual destination
Finally, how you submit print jobs to each InfoPrint Manager server is important:
- Number of client systems submitting jobs
- Frequency of job submission from client systems
- Speed of network data transfer
- Size (density) of jobs to be printed
- Complexity of jobs to be printed
- Number and types of input data streams
- Overall network traffic
Sizing your InfoPrint Manager environment is a complex task. It might be impossible to determine in advance precisely how many AIX, Linux, or Windows systems will adequately serve your printing needs.
A dedicated InfoPrint Manager for Windows system that meets the Minimum recommended hardware requirements (see Server hardware prerequisites for details on hardware configurations) can drive one InfoPrint 4000 ID3/ID4 printer at rated speed (1002 pages per minute) with simple text data. This is a very specific benchmark. Each additional device you attach to a server causes considerable network overhead and processor overhead.
Your Ricoh sales representative can help you determine if you have enough physical printing devices to address the printing needs of your enterprise. Essentially, this is a question of how many pages of output must be produced in how much time. Your estimate of printed output, combined with the rated speeds of your print devices, should give you the information you require to guide printer purchases.
Determining how many servers you need to drive your printing devices, however, requires experimentation and patience. Consult with your Ricoh sales representative to agree on a reasonable number to start with. We recommend setting up your environment one server at a time, one printer at a time. (Draw diagrams similar to those in Understanding destination configuration models, but realize that these diagrams are subject to change.) After adding each printer to a server, do a stress test. Try to drive the printers at rated speed with the types and number of jobs expected during peak periods. Also, try to have the server system perform all other activities it will have to do while processing the jobs. In short, make your stress test as realistic as possible. If the server system handles the work load without a problem, consider attaching an additional printer. If the addition of a printer degrades performance to an unacceptable level, add an additional server to your network to drive this printer. You might also consider upgrading system and network hardware.
Finally, it is important to monitor the performance of your printing environment regularly to see how the system reacts to actual usage and the changing needs of your business. InfoPrint Manager provides useful tools to make such monitoring easy. You can use standard accounting and audit logs to collect statistical data on jobs processed by any printing device in your environment. You can even customize these logging activities to suit the needs of your business. These logs provide invaluable information about workload balancing. You can also use these logs to determine billing procedures or simply to determine how resources are being used at your installation.