Barr Saves the Day for Georgia US Data Services
We may not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but at Barr, we will jump through hoops to help our customers get urgent printing operations online.
Take the case of Georgia US Data Services. The Atlanta-based company offers solutions for organizations that need to outsource accounting, billing, or computer services. The company says it has never lost a client due to poor quality services. Reliable printing services are an integral part of this excellent track record.
That's why it was an important decision when Ed Swiedler, vice president of systems at Georgia US Data Services, turned to Barr Systems for solid answers.
"We had installed a product from another vendor and determined, after a good deal of effort, that we were not going to be able to make it work," Swiedler says. "I had conversations in the past with representatives from Barr and found them to be knowledgeable. Barr has been in the market long enough, and their packages are mature enough, that I believed that I could trust them."
Swiedler's company has a client list that includes some demanding organizations, like hospitals, cable television companies, insurance groups, and professional sports teams. So it's easy to see why he was determined to get a working print management system up and going.
It's not that Swiedler's printing needs are unusual - on the contrary, the configuration represents a familiar, but critical, remote printing challenge.
"We operate a mainframe in Atlanta," Swiedler explains. "Much of what we print is actually routed to our office in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The old printer, a Xerox 9700, had reached the end of its life. The new Xerox DP96 high-speed laser printer was installed with an online interface only - thus the need for a product to make this connection."
With a print load of more than 200,000 pages every month, time was getting tight for Swiedler as it became obvious that the existing print management system would not be up to the job. That's when he contacted Barr Systems.
"Ed didn't waste any time," says David Dobbins, the Barr sales consultant who handled Swiedler's call. "He recognized the need for an immediate solution and was able to communicate exactly what he wanted. Fortunately for us, Barr turned out to be that solution."
Due to the urgent circumstances, Barr Systems shipped the software and hardware overnight to Atlanta for immediate installation. The cornerstone of the solution is the Barr Enterprise Print Server, a Microsoft Windows NT-based host connectivity and print management system. The Print Server accepts data from a variety of hosts - mainframes, UNIX hosts, AS/400s, Windows NT servers, and more - and prints to an assortment of destinations, including channel-attached printers, network printers and storage devices.
The company's mainframe communicates with the rest of the computing infrastructure via a Front End Processor (FEP). Downstream, in Winston-Salem, an SNA gateway is SDLC-attached to the mainframe via BARR/SYNC for Microsoft Networks. The new Barr hardware and software solution provides high-speed, full duplex communications by supporting special link parameters - potentially doubling the SDLC traffic on the link.
With the SNA and TCP/IP network integration complete, Swiedler's next challenge was to get the print jobs to his new Xerox printer. Barr consultants recommended putting the puzzle together one piece at a time. In order to support the most powerful and flexible input and routing options, Swiedler chose BARR/NJE, a peer-to-peer Network Job Entry (NJE)-based solution. In NJE file routing, header information such as JOBNAME and FORMNAME can be used to distribute jobs in a variety of ways. This is a tremendous advantage in cases where jobs need to be prioritized, archived or selectively printed.
Support for Georgia US Data Service's remote Xerox printer is provided by BARR/PRINT390, a hardware and software solution that connects channel-attached printers directly to the Print Server, driving the printers at rated speeds.
Now that his printing crisis has subsided, Swiedler credits the successful Barr installation to a solid product and Barr's experienced, professional support team.
"Barr saved the day for us. We had a printer that we needed to connect to, and Barr helped us do that at a critical time," Swiedler says.
When asked how he would compare the Barr solution to the other products he examined, Swiedler sums it up simply with: "The Barr product works. The other did not." When your business depends on performing superhuman feats of printing - that's the bottom line.