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NAV reduces licensing costs by replacing CA spool

Initial situation

The CICS application prints to the JES2 spool. JES2, in turn, previously sent the print job to CA Spool, which distributed it to the local network printers via TCP/IP. In addition, NAV uses PaperCut software for secure printing. This solution enables a scenario where users authenticate with a printer of their choice via key card to release the print job.


For this to work, the print job must be sent to the correct PaperCut server, and the CICS user ID must also be passed to PaperCut. A particular challenge was the vast number of print definitions. Around 2,700 printers had been defined in CA Spool. The final number of target devices was much higher due to the assignment of output classes (including alternative definitions) that govern the print layout, i.e. document formatting, paper orientation, fonts, logos to be used, and so on.

This setup resulted in a total of approx. 34,000 printer definitions.


NAV now uses _beta doc|z on IBM z/OS both for printing and archiving about 500,000 batch lists per year and for ad hoc printing via TCP/IP. While the new TCP/IP printing solution includes some ASCII printing, it is primarily line based, and graphics are PCL based.

The architectural prerequisites were met with the new Symphony product generation from Beta Systems, which features greatly improved IP printing functionality and the use of the IBM SYSOUT API (SAPI). The SAPI reader delivers better performance and, more importantly, more options, enabling _beta doc|z to manage multiple definitions per output class. As a result, the solution can read parameters such as job names and control print jobs dynamically, for instance. The technology thus allowed the customer to address all of their print definition challenges.


According to the results of an analysis conducted by Beta Systems experts, the 34,000 flat printer definitions could be reduced to just seven main assignments using logic. In addition, the 2,700 physical printers are now assigned to fewer than 200 print servers. This was achieved by dynamically adding the queue
name that determines the printer connected to the print server. In the future, it will be possible to reduce the number of print servers even further by optimizing the configuration. Instead of predetermining user IDs, as is done in CA Spool, the process now dynamically obtains the CICS user ID and transfers it to PaperCut.

Over the course of the project, _beta doc|z was upgraded by adding new standard features. The printer definitions were moved to the _beta doc|z database. ISPF management interfaces with auxiliary fields were also added. This has greatly simplified the process of adding, removing or changing printers. Also, NAV can now examine printer equipment to see what PCL members, logos, etc. are being used even before a printer is put into service.

Since the definitions are maintained in the database, this also means that all data can be backed up. All actions are logged in SMF records to ensure compliant operation. Definitions are governed by RACF permissions, and SSL/TLS encryption is used to secure communication.

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