Cloud Print Comparisons

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The following information can be used to compare CirrusPrint to home-grown or manual solutions, as well as other cloud print products.


Manual Solutions

These generally involve either a VPN or a collection of tunnel and router configurations that allow a cloud ERP application to open direct connections to network printers at a remote location.  Managing a collection of tunnels and routing configurations is time consuming and prone to error.  A VPN is the most comprehensive solution, as it provides security and avoids router configuration for port forwarding.  However, VPN's are costly to maintain, and there is no compression of print data.  A VPN is also only as secure as the most vulnerable end point, be it a laptop or mobile device, since anyone who has gained VPN access via such a device is, by the very nature of VPN, considered an insider by the network.


CirrusPrint printers are configured in a single interface, connections are secure and conducted on a client-to-server model to avoid routing and firewall issues.  A single connection supports all the printers in a location.  In addition, data is compressed in transit.


Commerical Cloud Print Applications

There are a number of cloud printing products on the market, with varying capabilities.  Some are printer-neutral, while others are vendor-specific so that you must use one vendor's printers or establish accounts with many vendors.  Some require new printers with specific capabilities.  Some are oriented to providing anonymous users the ability to print to a printer near them, rather than providing known users access to printers they aren't close to.  Most route print jobs through vendor-run data centers.  All are focused strictly on printing.


Key Differentiators


CirrusPrint has very flexible methods for receiving data:


Traditional network printing, using existing drivers, so that a simple network printer configuration submits jobs.

Email, using private email addresses, not just those supplied by a vendor.

File drops to any monitored folder on the CirrusPrint server or remote client, with support for additional user-defined data.

API, allowing programmatic submission of jobs.

Path and port inputs can be hosted by remote locations or the CirrusPrint server.


CirrusPrint email support gives you more control than products that require a vendor-supplied email address.  You can email to CirrusPrint and have it send the attachments to any configured printer, file, command line, or user.  Rather than relying on an obscure address, you can configure extensive spam protection to protect your devices.  You can have an email address dedicated to a printer, or you can have an address that looks for device information in the content, enabling a single mailbox to receive email for any number of remote devices.


CirrusPrint has very flexible methods of output, rather than being exclusively for printing:


Network or spooled printers, where the print data can be a binary duplicate of the original to maintain control over printer features, or can be a PDF file that is printed using local spool system drivers.

Browser delivery, where your users become virtual printers with a browser application that provides them just the documents you send to them, without all the extra noise typical in any email inbox.  Once in the browser, a document can be forwarded to other configured devices and users.

Files, which can be delivered with very flexible naming conventions at remote sites.

Programs, so that you can configure CirrusPrint to send a file and run a command line program using it at the remote location.

One to many distribution, where one input job can be sent to multiple printers, files, programs, or users.


Some print jobs require specific control over printer features, such as duplexing or tray selection.  They may rely on precise scaling or positioning of data.  A raw print stream that contains these features can't be converted to another format, or it will lose those features.  CirrusPrint recognizes these types of print jobs and will pass them straight to the printer without conversion.  Other cloud print solutions rely on conversions, or force input to be in PDF or image format.


In overview, CirrusPrint provides more flexibility and functionality, is vendor neutral regarding your printers, and allows you to maintain control over your print data from end to end.  Rather than just printing, its focus is on quickly getting documents to a printer, place, program, or person.