Print job tracking

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The ThinPrint Tracking option allows you to oversee your print volume: How many printers are overloaded? Which are hardly used? How many color or black&white printouts are printed on a daily basis? What are the resulting costs?

How it works

The print data of ThinPrint Ports is compiled by the server and transferred into an SQL database. From there, they can be graphically presented as a website using the Tracking Report Engine, which also allows for many other settings, such as querying print volumes for a certain branch during a certain time period. Authorized individu­als can access the website from anywhere.

Print job tracking has the following components:

  • ThinPrint Engine or Personal Printing
    sends data to the ThinPrint Tracking Service
  • ThinPrint Tracking Service
    receives data and writes it to an SQL database
  • ThinPrint Tracking Report Engine
    web component for clear analysis, summary, and graphic report of tracking results

example for installing ThinPrint Tracking

Tracking is part of the following ThinPrint products:

  • ThinPrint Engine
    or
  • Personal Printing

If not yet installed, an SQL server must be installed to enable use of the tracking fea­ture within the ThinPrint Engine. This program is not included in the ThinPrint Engine software.

Tracking Service

You can gather information about the print jobs sent with the ThinPrint Engine for your statistics (tracking). To do so, you must set up a Microsoft SQL server. The ThinPrint Engine sends its tracking data to the server that has the tracking service installed. Print data which can be analyzed and displayed by Tracking Report Engine are:

  • Author of a print job (user/group)
  • Printer used
  • Settings used
  • Number of pages printed
  • Information on any errors
  • Costs
  • Compression rates (ThinPrint Engine only)
  • Print duration
  • Print data during a defined period

The SQL server can collect print data from different sources – from ThinPrint Engines on application or print servers or from Personal Printing servers.

Tracking Report Engine

ThinPrint Tracking includes a web application for viewing the tracking data. This pro­gram represents the SQL data graphically in its web interface – installed on a web server. The tracking data can therefore be analyzed from the web browser on any workstation.

analyzing SQL data in a web browser (example)

Technical requirements

Your architecture must meet the following requirements for running ThinPrint Track­ing:

  • The SQL server additionally requires:
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express and later
  • The ThinPrint Tracking Report Engine can be run on the following servers (as a web server):
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1

Note! The Tracking Report Engine must not be installed together with Per­sonal Printing, ThinPrint Engine or License Server on the same computer. To do this, use a separate web server.

The following is required:

  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP 1
  • ASP .NET (can be enabled as a Windows component or installed as a part of the .NET Framework)
  • Internet Information Services (IIS) 5.1 or later. Port 80 is used by default. Do not change this port number and make sure that no other programs are using this port.

Administrator permissions are required for all installation and configuration proce­dures.
Please note with ThinPrint Tracking, that data printed via a ThinPrint Port is col­lected.

Installation of Tracking Database

  • Open Setup.exe onto the SQL server.
  • Select the desired language. InstallShield Wizard opens. Click Next.

starting the InstallShield Wizard

  • Select the SQL server, on which you wish to install Tracking database. Then specify how do you wish to access the database (bottom arrow):
    • Windows authentication or
    • SQL server authentication
  • Confirm with Next.

selecting database server and authentication to SQL server

  • Choose a name for the database in which the information about print jobs will be stored: PrintJobTracking for example (top arrow).
  • In case of a software update, you can select an existing database by clicking on the button Browse.

selecting database server and Authentication mode

Selecting authentication mode

By choosing the authentication mode, you have defined how Report Engine admin­istrators and the tracking service access the data.

SQL server Authen­tication

  • Create an account with administration permissions, TrackingService for exam­ple. Or specify an existing one.
  • Note the user name and password. Confirm with Next and close InstallShield Wizard with Finish.

creating administrator account for the Database

Windows authenti­cation

If you choose Windows Authentication, all users and servers need to be members of the same domain. Users can log on with their user name and their domain password.

  • Choose Windows authentication and confirm with Next.

selecting Windows authentication mode

  • You can select user groups from the Active Directory which should be able to access Tracking Database. For this, click Advanced.

inheriting groups from Active Directory

During installation of Tracking database, Tracking database administrators with read and write permissions will be created, as well as users with read permissions only.

defining administrator groups and user groups

  • Finally, conclude Tracking database installation in InstallShield Wizard with Install and Finish.

Managing the tracking database

  • Open a management tool for the database, as for example Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio Express. With this tool, you can administer the database created by the installer.

database (here: PrintJobTracking)

With SQL authenti­cation

When you install Tracking database with SQL authentication, a user account will be created with read permissions on the database. This name of the user account will be TrackingUser, and the password is: ThinPrint-1.

  • To access the SQL server remotely, open SQL Server Manager and enable the protocols Named Pipes and TCP/IP. Then start the SQL server browser in the services folder.

enabling protocols

With Windows authentication

  • To ensure the Tracking Service gets access to the SQL server, open Management Studio Express and enter with a right click in the folder Security on New and Login.

installing access for Tracking Service on the SQL server

  • Create a new account according to this sample:

<domain>\<tracking service address>$

here: mydomain\ps13$

installing login for Tracking Service

  • Put a checkmark at the database, which is configured for Tracking, here: Print­JobTracking (arrow above) and a checkmark at TREAdmin (lower arrow).

user mapping

Then Tracking Service can access the database with Windows authentication.

Installing the Tracking Report Engine

Please consider that Tracking Report Engine cannot be installed on Windows 2003 x64 machines. Make sure that the following Windows components are installed and started: IIS and ASP.NET.

Note! The Tracking Report Engine must not be installed together with Personal Printing or ThinPrint Engine on the same server. On this, use a sep­arate web server.

  • Copy Setup.Exe of Tracking Report Engine onto the web server and open it. Select the desired language and confirm with OK. InstallShield Wizard opens.
  • Select the database server on which Tracking Database has been installed (arrow above). Then select the same authentication mode which you have selected during Tracking database installation, here SQL server Authentica­tion (middle arrow). Finally, indicate the database which has been created by Tracking database installer, here: PrintJobTracking, (lower arrow). Confirm with Next.

selecting database and authentication mode

  • Here, select the authentication mode with which Tracking Report Engine estab­lishes a connection to Tracking Database. Confirm with Next and close Install­Shield Wizard with Finish.

selecting authentication mode

Analyzing tracking data

Preparing Personal Printing server and Tracking Service

Install the Tracking Database on an SQL server and the Tracking Report Engine on a separate web server, as described in the sections Installation of Tracking Database and Installing the Tracking Report Engine.
To prepare the Personal Printing server for sending data of sent print jobs to the Tracking Service, you must make the following changes to the configuration of the Personal Printing server:

  • In the Personal Printing configuration, go to Edit Settings.

Personal Printing configuration console

  • Select the Tracking tab and enter the following settings:
    • Enable Tracking
    • SQL server’s address and name
    • SQL server or Windows authentication:
      an account (specified with Tracking Database installer) which has write per­missions for your database
    • Encryption settings if the data are to sent encrypted to the SQL server
    • Name of the Tracking database (created using its installer)

selecting Tracking settings

The result is shown in the following screenshot.

Print job tracking enabled (Personal Printing configuration)

Print job tracking enabled (Personal Printing configuration)

Use of Report Engine

The ThinPrint Tracking Report Engine makes it possible to display data from the SQL database as an overview in a web browser. All significant information on print jobs can be summarized by various criteria, sorted, and graphically displayed.
You can analyze the data with the included Tracking Report Engine, or any other tool, to retrieve the database.

  • To analyze the tracking data, start your web browser and open the website of the server that ThinPrint Tracking Report Engine is installed on:
    https:///tracking
    Example: https://ps13/tracking
  • Enter the account created on the SQL server (here: TrackingService) which has write permissions for the database (here: PrintJobTracking).

opening the Tracking Report Engine in a web browser

Overview

The page Overview appears . You see the following information for analysis:

  • Number of print jobs
  • Color and b/w (grayscale)
  • Simplex and duplex
  • Paper consumption
  • Color and b/w (grayscale)
  • Simplex and duplex
  • You can also specify the information as follows:
Function Description
Group Choice between a specific or all user groups (see below Managing groups)
Printer Choice between a specific or all printers
Start Start of a report period (display and input)
End End of a report period (display and input)
Predefined Choice of a report period

overview of number of printouts and paper usage

Distribution

The Distribution page allows analysis of which users, groups, or printers have printed the most. You can specify the information as follows:

Category Description
Print Jobs Number of print jobs
Costs Print costs for the number of pages printed by the respec­tive selection (group(s) or users), taking into account printer-specific costs per page
Paper Consumption Number of sheets used for printing
Simplex Number of pages printed one-sided
Duplex Number of pages printed on both sides
Black/White Number of pages printed in black-and-white
Color Number of pages printed in color
Errors Number of failed print jobs
Group Choice between a specific or all user groups (see below Managing groups)
Printer Choice between a specific or all printers
Start Start of a report period (display and input)
End End of a report period (display and input)
Predefined Choice of a report periods

ranking

Trend

The Trend page gives an overview of how the frequency of printing has developed across a set timeframe. Additionally you have the option to display compression rates of print jobs, when printing with a ThinPrint Engine.

displaying trends (here, number of print jobs)

Managing groups

On the Manage Groups page you can define user groups to make the previous pages easier to read.#

defining user groups

Note! To do this, you have to use the Internet Explorer browser on the same web server on which the Tracking Report Engine was installed. (It is not pos­sible, in this situation, to gain remote access from just any computer.)

  • To do so, click the button Import a group from Active Directory.
  • Then click Advanced.

user import from Active Directory

  • Click Find Now (top arrow).
  • Groups are displayed. Checkmark the desired group (bottom arrow) and confirm with OK.

selecting group from Active Directory

The selected group will be displayed with the included users. Include each user in one group only to avoid possible corruption of the general overviews. Users can be arranged or redirected in any groups.

Note that users will only appear here after they have printed at least once or have been imported from an Active Directory group.

Costs

On the Costs page you can define costs to analyze the financial effects of printing. Given values are the estimated values of toner and paper consumption. Because these costs can vary greatly for different printers and types of printouts, ThinPrint rec­ommends changing the default values to reflect your individual factors.
To do so, select a Printer and enter its average costs.

 

Function Description
Currency Enter a currency (three characters)
Printer Select printer or change template (= default value)
New Paper Size Define additional paper formats
Save Settings Save cost values for b/w and color for the template or the selected printer
Delete Delete paper format
Apply Apply the same settings for other printers (multiple selection with Ctrl and Shift keys)

settings for estimated costs

SQL database

SQL server man­agement tools

In addition to the ThinPrint Tracking Report Engine, you can also use management tools for directly accessing the SQL database, such as Microsoft SQL Server Manage­ment Studio Express. This has the advantage that you can both create a database and analyze all data stored in the database.

Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio Express

Tracking data

If printer drivers and applications in use on the source computer (the one creating the print jobs that ThinPrint Engine sends to the Tracking Ser­vice) provide certain values and the specific version of ThinPrint Engine (or Personal Printing) also sup­ports them, the following information can be sent with each print job to the ThinPrint Tracking Service, which will write it to the SQL database:

Value in the database Meaning Supported by Output Gateway
MachineName IP address of the source computer (e. g., 192.168.131.30)
DriverName printer driver ID
DestName host name of the target computer (e. g., client-22)
ServerName host name of the source computer (e. g., server-03)
PrinterName name of the printer on the source computer (e. g., HP LaserJet 4#client-22:6)
ID ID in the SQL database
UserName name of the person who printed (= Account)
Orientation paper orientation (portrait or landscape)
PaperSize paper format (e. g., A4, Letter, Executive)
PaperLength paper length (cm) For user defined paper formats, otherwise value = 0
PaperWidth paper width (cm)
Copies number of copies
DefaultSource default paper source
PrintQuality printout quality (maximum value of XRes and YRes; e. g., 600 dpi) or quality level (e. g., fine)
Color color or grayscale (b/w)
Duplex double-sided or single-sided (duplex or simplex)
XRes horizontal resolution (dpi)
YRes vertical resolution (dpi)
TTOption TrueType fonts embedded in the file as bitmap, as soft font, or outline or information about what printer font is to be replaced sent to the printer
dmCollate sorting option; e. g. print longer documents consecutively depending on the application
FormName name of the paper format
JobID print job ID
Status values:
1 = Print job delivered
2 = Successfully printed
3 = Print job canceled
ClientID client ID
Pages number of printed pages
TStamp time of print job (start of communication between ThinPrint Engine and ThinPrint Tracking Service)
Duration time (in ms) between start of sending a print job by the ThinPrint Engine (= TStamp) and end of transmission
DevMode device mode Data as blob (binary large object)
PrintType format of print data
values: m = EMF; r = RAW
JobSize print job size (uncompressed) in Byte
JobTSize print job size (compressed) in Byte
Compression­Rate computed by dividing JobTSize by JobSize (with ThinPrint Engine only)
DocumentName name of the document

 

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