When it comes to saving IT time, power and space, every bit helps, even the choice of print servers.
One print server, the ISD300 Intelligent Spooling Device from Germany-based SEH Technology, is a .5-by-19-inch Linux-based box, running at a modest 12 watts, rather than the over 100 watts of typical print servers, suitable for small, medium and large companies and for branch offices, the company said.
"About three years ago," SEH Technology CEO Mike Majewski said, "a customer asked us about creating a print spooling appliance-a stand-alone box that takes the print spooling functions off a Windows or Linux server. The original purpose was for small remote offices that don't want to set up a Windows server and have to maintain it-do security updates, patches, etc.-just to do spooling."
One unintentional benefit helping the ISD300 garner fresh attention is its comparatively low power requirement. "The folks in Germany are real particular about power consumption," Majewski said. "This comes from the fact that we generally make cards that slip into the back of printers, so we have low power to work with. So when we designed the ISD box, one of the goals was to make it as energy-efficient as possible."
He added, "It doesn't even need a cooling fan." Additionally, the ISD's browser-based administration means that no additional, power-consuming peripherals are needed to manage it.
The ISD300's power requirements are low enough, in fact, that SEH also offers a POE (power over Ethernet) 802.3af version of the device, the ISD300-PoE, which can be powered through the Ethernet LAN cabling if there is a POE switch or power injector on the segment.
Powering via an 802.3af connection can avoid the need to run power cabling or install outlets. This factor also enables devices to be put where it may be inconvenient or unsafe to run AC power.
Majewski conceded that the initial cost of a Windows or Linux box would be much lower than that of an ISD300. However, he argued, "The real cost is the ongoing cost and the power consumption, and administrative effort. ... You eliminate monthly Microsoft patches and the like."
Sue Lyon, a research director at IDC, said, "The real value of SEH's ISD300 is that it's compatible [with] HP [Hewlett-Packard] printers, which are the dominant devices on the market, that it will work with IPv6 and it's a robust print server that's affordable for small and medium business. Anything that reduces energy and IT administrative overhead in an SMB IT environment is a priority."