The CICS application prints to the JES2 spool. JES2, in turn, previously sent the print to CA Spool, which distributed the print to the local network printers via TCP/IP. In addition, NAV uses software from PaperCut for secure printing. This solution allows for a scenario where the user authenticates with a key card to a printer of their choice in order for the print to be executed.
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 sheer volume of print definitions. Some 2,700 printers had been defined in CA Spool. These were multiplied by output classes (including some alternative definitions) that governed the design of the print – i.e., document formatting, paper orientation, fonts, logos to be used, etc. – regulate.
This type of setup resulted in about 34,000 printer definitions.
Implementation of _beta doc|z (output management) at NAV
NAV output management: NAV now uses _beta doc|z on IBM z/OS both for printing and archiving about 500,000 batch lists per year and for printing via TCP/IP on an ad hoc basis. The new TCP/IP printing solution includes some ASCII printing, but is primarily line-based, with graphics being PCL-based.
The architectural requirements were met with Beta Systems‘ new Symphony product generation, which features greatly enhanced IP printing functionality and the use of the IBM SYSOUT API (SAPI). The SAPI reader offers better performance and, more importantly, better performance: _beta doc|z can now manage multiple definitions per output class, i.e. read parameters such as job names and dynamically control printing. With this technology, the challenge of print definitions could be addressed.
The results of an analysis conducted by Beta Systems experts showed that the 34,000 flat printer definitions could be reduced to just 7 main mappings using logic. In addition, the 2,700 physical printers are now mapped to fewer than 200 print servers. This could be achieved by dynamically adding the queue name that determines the printer attached to the print server. In the future, the number of print servers can be further reduced by optimizing the setup. Instead of predetermining user IDs as in CA Spool, we now also dynamically pick up the CICS user ID and pass it to PaperCut.
During the project, new standard functionality was added to _beta doc|z. Printer definitions are now part of the _beta doc|z database. ISPF management interfaces with auxiliary fields have also been added. This makes it very easy to add, remove and change printers. NAV can also examine printer setups to see what PCL members, logos, etc. are being used even before a printer is put into service.
Since the definitions are in the database, this also means that all data can be backed up for security. For compliant operation, all actions are logged in SMF records. Definitions are governed by RACF authorizations, and SSL/TLS encryption is used to secure communications.