High Performance data transforms

A British insurance company consolidated and simplified their printing services

The Challenge

Computacenter is a leading independent provider of IT infrastructure services in Europe. Computacenter has a large multinational insurance industry client that required simplification of a variety of installed printing products. As well as addressing the immediate print requirements the client needed a solution that would not require any mainframe application changes, yet would still interact with their current fax software. Computacenter turned to their partner, MPI Tech, for assistance.

Simon Foster, Computacenter’s senior engineer assigned to the project, explains: “Our customer was printing via old IBM 3270 Mainframe controllers with IBP, PMS and Cobra boxes as well as a Token Ring network. The customer wanted a solution that enabled them to move forward onto Ethernet without losing any of the printing capabilities they currently had in place”.

The initial installation was extremely easy. When creating the print queues it became apparent just how versatile Blue Server is.

The client prints both SCS and AFP/IPDS data streams. SCS jobs were printed from the mainframe using CA Spool and IBM 3270 controllers to the appropriate printer. Each printer required an external hardware device to convert the SCS data and connect the printer to the controller. AFP/IPDS printing was more complex with print jobs being spooled to CA Spool; here IBM PSF is required for formatting and printing. The customer had a large number of external print servers, coax and IPDS internal cards addressing their IPDS and SCS host printing needs. The additional devices accounted for approximately 40% of the cost of the printers.

The customer was looking for a single printing solution in order to simplify the printing environment, improve print management and reduce cost.

The Solution

The Blue Server software from MPI Tech fought off some tough competition to become the clients’ and Computacenter’s preferred solution. Blue Server is a software print server that enables AFP, IPDS and SCS data streams to be printed on any LAN attached laser printer. It has been designed for both high-volume production and decentralised environments.