Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?



  • @scottalanmiller said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    @jaredbusch said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    I cast my part-time person to set up printer deployment via power shell. And I know we have that working with a few caveats that still need testing.

    We might do that if we can't get this figured out in a better way.

    Like what?

    There's no actual Salt module or Salt states module specifically for printers. This means you'll need to do it via the win_lgpo module and PowerShell.

    The win_lgpo module uses the local admx/adml files, so make sure those are up to date on your Windows systems if you use any of them.



  • @obsolesce said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    That's pretty much it. Windows desktops (and laptops) and we'd like to try using Salt to deploy printers instead of going through traditional Group Policy or login scripts. Anyone attempted this or know the recommended approach?

    I was thinking of looking in to this because there are some issues where, through Group Policy Preferences, Windows machines do not get printers/copiers deployed to them (via GP) unless the printer's driver had been previously installed.

    It was only an issue on Win10 machines where the logged in user was not a local admin.

    SS is good at getting stuff done, so I had thought about looking in to this a while ago, but haven't yet.

    I solved this with GPO GPP by having a print server with the drivers, so the Win10 machines could reference the print queue for the driver, yet set them up as an IP (direct) printer. You can set the ability to install the drivers even as non admin via GPO as well.



  • @dashrender said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    @obsolesce said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    That's pretty much it. Windows desktops (and laptops) and we'd like to try using Salt to deploy printers instead of going through traditional Group Policy or login scripts. Anyone attempted this or know the recommended approach?

    I was thinking of looking in to this because there are some issues where, through Group Policy Preferences, Windows machines do not get printers/copiers deployed to them (via GP) unless the printer's driver had been previously installed.

    It was only an issue on Win10 machines where the logged in user was not a local admin.

    SS is good at getting stuff done, so I had thought about looking in to this a while ago, but haven't yet.

    I solved this with GPO GPP by having a print server with the drivers, so the Win10 machines could reference the print queue for the driver, yet set them up as an IP (direct) printer. You can set the ability to install the drivers even as non admin via GPO as well.

    I am already deploying them via GPP via a print server. I cannot deploy them via TCP/IP, they need to be deployed as "Shared" or the PaperCut software won't work correctly. Unless that's changed within the last 3 years, I have to keep doing it via "Shared" method in Group Policy Preferences.

    It was working out perfectly for the last few years... it's only recently the issue came up. Something in Win10 changed compared to how it was previously, where any new printers deployed to a computer via GPP where the printer driver wasn't previously installed will not install unless a user with local admin privs logs in to do it first.

    I'd rather not hijack this thread about that, it's a very infrequent thing because new images have the drivers on them already. So not really worth discussing in a new topic as I'm not worrying about it anymore.

    I'm still interested in sometime seeing if SaltStack would be able to deploy printers to computers as effectively or more so than current methods. I may look in to it more soon, but the priority is low because things are working fine as they are.

    I'm mainly focused on getting SaltStack to manage the more global configurations first... before getting into more granular configurations like printer deployments.



  • @obsolesce said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    @dashrender said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    @obsolesce said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    That's pretty much it. Windows desktops (and laptops) and we'd like to try using Salt to deploy printers instead of going through traditional Group Policy or login scripts. Anyone attempted this or know the recommended approach?

    I was thinking of looking in to this because there are some issues where, through Group Policy Preferences, Windows machines do not get printers/copiers deployed to them (via GP) unless the printer's driver had been previously installed.

    It was only an issue on Win10 machines where the logged in user was not a local admin.

    SS is good at getting stuff done, so I had thought about looking in to this a while ago, but haven't yet.

    I solved this with GPO GPP by having a print server with the drivers, so the Win10 machines could reference the print queue for the driver, yet set them up as an IP (direct) printer. You can set the ability to install the drivers even as non admin via GPO as well.

    I am already deploying them via GPP via a print server. I cannot deploy them via TCP/IP, they need to be deployed as "Shared" or the PaperCut software won't work correctly. Unless that's changed within the last 3 years, I have to keep doing it via "Shared" method in Group Policy Preferences.

    It was working out perfectly for the last few years... it's only recently the issue came up. Something in Win10 changed compared to how it was previously, where any new printers deployed to a computer via GPP where the printer driver wasn't previously installed will not install unless a user with local admin privs logs in to do it first.

    I'd rather not hijack this thread about that, it's a very infrequent thing because new images have the drivers on them already. So not really worth discussing in a new topic as I'm not worrying about it anymore.

    I'm still interested in sometime seeing if SaltStack would be able to deploy printers to computers as effectively or more so than current methods. I may look in to it more soon, but the priority is low because things are working fine as they are.

    I'm mainly focused on getting SaltStack to manage the more global configurations first... before getting into more granular configurations like printer deployments.

    I only mentioned Direct IP printing because that's what I'm doing, but shared should work just as well.



  • @obsolesce said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    It was working out perfectly for the last few years... it's only recently the issue came up. Something in Win10 changed compared to how it was previously, where any new printers deployed to a computer via GPP where the printer driver wasn't previously installed will not install unless a user with local admin privs logs in to do it first.

    That changed early last year. New drivers now need to be signed and it is taking printer manufactures forever to get them signed the way Microsoft wants them to... it's bitten us more then once.



  • I've created a Salt execution module before, and it wasn't that hard, anyone with a bit of Python experience should be able to make one. I imagine a state module wouldn't be much harder.

    • Here is how I would tackle this:
      • Take a look at how you would do this in powershell
        • Use Process Monitor so see anything behind the scenes that is being done
      • If Powershell isn't enough, reverse engineer lgpo
        • I haven't done this before so I don't know if there might be a better way to do this other than
        • Process Monitor
      • Look at the Salt source code to see what interfaces they provide to interacting with Windows already
      • Create module

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    @flaxking that thought had crossed my mind, and as we use Salt broadly with many clients, it could easily make sense to invest the time in that.



  • @obsolesce said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    That's pretty much it. Windows desktops (and laptops) and we'd like to try using Salt to deploy printers instead of going through traditional Group Policy or login scripts. Anyone attempted this or know the recommended approach?

    I was thinking of looking in to this because there are some issues where, through Group Policy Preferences, Windows machines do not get printers/copiers deployed to them (via GP) unless the printer's driver had been previously installed.

    It was only an issue on Win10 machines where the logged in user was not a local admin.

    SS is good at getting stuff done, so I had thought about looking in to this a while ago, but haven't yet.

    Did the issue with GPP and Windows 10 have to do with the point to print issue and the driver not being a packaged driver?



  • @scottalanmiller This makes me miss my old job. I was working on replacing all of our GPOs with Salt and printer deployment was coming up. However, as a solo SMB IT employee, I had an insane amount of time on my hands.


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    @flaxking said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    @scottalanmiller This makes me miss my old job. I was working on replacing all of our GPOs with Salt and printer deployment was coming up. However, as a solo SMB IT employee, I had an insane amount of time on my hands.

    We're more the opposite - needing to invest in good management to ensure we are not too busy later.



  • @flaxking said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    @scottalanmiller This makes me miss my old job. I was working on replacing all of our GPOs with Salt and printer deployment was coming up. However, as a solo SMB IT employee, I had an insane amount of time on my hands.

    I am a solo SMB employee and have no time on my hands. 😐 We just hired about 10 people in the last 4 weeks and 2 start in a week and 2 more possibly the week after. No real time to do anything more than setup new employees.



  • @wrx7m said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    @flaxking said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    @scottalanmiller This makes me miss my old job. I was working on replacing all of our GPOs with Salt and printer deployment was coming up. However, as a solo SMB IT employee, I had an insane amount of time on my hands.

    I am a solo SMB employee and have no time on my hands. 😐 We just hired about 10 people in the last 4 weeks and 2 start in a week and 2 more possibly the week after. No real time to do anything more than setup new employees.

    What makes new employee setup so labour intensive at your SMB?

    I used to get notified of new employees on their start day 👹

    On my to-do list was to make a way for HR to handle most of what was required with new employees. A lot of stuff required pairs more nicely with HR than with IT, IT just need to provide a friendly abstraction on top of automation for them to use.


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    @flaxking said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    @wrx7m said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    @flaxking said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    @scottalanmiller This makes me miss my old job. I was working on replacing all of our GPOs with Salt and printer deployment was coming up. However, as a solo SMB IT employee, I had an insane amount of time on my hands.

    I am a solo SMB employee and have no time on my hands. 😐 We just hired about 10 people in the last 4 weeks and 2 start in a week and 2 more possibly the week after. No real time to do anything more than setup new employees.

    What makes new employee setup so labour intensive at your SMB?

    We onboard something like 5-6 per day, seven days a week, for just a single client 🙂 10 in four weeks would be a vacation. We had five leave just since noon today!



  • @wrx7m said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    @flaxking said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    @scottalanmiller This makes me miss my old job. I was working on replacing all of our GPOs with Salt and printer deployment was coming up. However, as a solo SMB IT employee, I had an insane amount of time on my hands.

    I am a solo SMB employee and have no time on my hands. 😐 We just hired about 10 people in the last 4 weeks and 2 start in a week and 2 more possibly the week after. No real time to do anything more than setup new employees.

    HR and Workday handles most of the onboarding and the rest is automated.



  • @black3dynamite said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    @wrx7m said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    @flaxking said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    @scottalanmiller This makes me miss my old job. I was working on replacing all of our GPOs with Salt and printer deployment was coming up. However, as a solo SMB IT employee, I had an insane amount of time on my hands.

    I am a solo SMB employee and have no time on my hands. 😐 We just hired about 10 people in the last 4 weeks and 2 start in a week and 2 more possibly the week after. No real time to do anything more than setup new employees.

    HR and Workday handles most of the onboarding and the rest is automated.

    I am talking about account creation and computer setup, installation etc.



  • @wrx7m said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    @black3dynamite said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    @wrx7m said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    @flaxking said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    @scottalanmiller This makes me miss my old job. I was working on replacing all of our GPOs with Salt and printer deployment was coming up. However, as a solo SMB IT employee, I had an insane amount of time on my hands.

    I am a solo SMB employee and have no time on my hands. 😐 We just hired about 10 people in the last 4 weeks and 2 start in a week and 2 more possibly the week after. No real time to do anything more than setup new employees.

    HR and Workday handles most of the onboarding and the rest is automated.

    I am talking about account creation and computer setup, installation etc.

    I can't think of any business case for why IT has to handle account setup. Most of the time it's just a technology deficiency as to why HR doesn't have the ability to do so.

    98% of the time computer setup and software installation can be completely automated. Even when the software support says it can't. So you might be dealing with the 2%, or you could be bogged down with so much technical debt that you haven't been able to dedicate the cycle required in order to automate



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  • On and Offboarding is very labor intensive and if it's not that's possibly because your team may have streamlined the experience. However, every business by far isn't streamlined. That is a fact.


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    @krisleslie said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    On and Offboarding is very labor intensive and if it's not that's possibly because your team may have streamlined the experience. However, every business by far isn't streamlined. That is a fact.

    Sometimes this is an advantage of an outside firm, they have more clout, or just a fresh set of eyes, to evaluate the process.



  • @scottalanmiller I totally agree, but every company can't afford an outside firm on top of an internal person/team at same time in the scale I'm in.

    I have often looked at using a 3rd party for not only the finance and HR. Get's expensive and some functions don't get performed with a 3rd party which leaves you still to fill a gap or take it upon yourself.

    Totally doable, in 5 and maybe 10 man companies but when you get hit with dose of growth and you can't effectively scale, it comes back to haunt.
    #ghostlybooooooo



  • @scottalanmiller said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    @krisleslie said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    On and Offboarding is very labor intensive and if it's not that's possibly because your team may have streamlined the experience. However, every business by far isn't streamlined. That is a fact.

    Sometimes this is an advantage of an outside firm, they have more clout, or just a fresh set of eyes, to evaluate the process.

    This is so frustrating... and sadly so damned true.
    Internal resources are frequently ignored because the people in charge forget that they are paying the internal resources... but with an outside firm - that's always first and foremost in their mind, and if they are paying, well by god we should be doing what they say because otherwise why in the world are we paying them?
    Now if only they applied that same logic to the employees they employ.



  • @krisleslie said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    @scottalanmiller I totally agree, but every company can't afford an outside firm on top of an internal person/team at same time in the scale I'm in.

    I have often looked at using a 3rd party for not only the finance and HR. Get's expensive and some functions don't get performed with a 3rd party which leaves you still to fill a gap or take it upon yourself.

    Totally doable, in 5 and maybe 10 man companies but when you get hit with dose of growth and you can't effectively scale, it comes back to haunt.
    #ghostlybooooooo

    See, this is where Scott will tell you that hiring internally was the crazy thing. You can get the same functionality of an internal hire with an MSP/ITSP type hire if you want it. I.e. you hire Joe's MSP to put full time tech in your company. When that tech (John) takes vacation, you're not left without a person because Joe's puts a different tech (Jeremy) in that tech's place while John's gone, all at the same price. John needs extra help for a week or two, Joe's sends over Jeremy to help John (bills according) and when done, Jeremy doesn't show up any more.

    This flexibility can cost a bit more (frankly I have no idea how much more), but from the postings around these parts, some seem to think the cost would be pretty small.


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    @krisleslie said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    @scottalanmiller I totally agree, but every company can't afford an outside firm on top of an internal person/team at same time in the scale I'm in.

    I don't agree with this. The best decision for any company is always affordable, that's how IT and business work. Whatever is best is always within reach, because what is best is determined by including the whole picture.

    Outside firms, when used properly, lower the cost of IT, not raise it. So who can't afford to "spend less"?


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    @scottalanmiller said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    , when used properly,

    See, this is the part that almost never happens. I have to fight this perception all the time.


  • Service Provider

    @krisleslie said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    I have often looked at using a 3rd party for not only the finance and HR. Get's expensive and some functions don't get performed with a 3rd party which leaves you still to fill a gap or take it upon yourself.

    These are not statements that come from outsourcing, they come from vendor selection.

    Here is a trick to determining if an outsourcing statement is true - reverse it and can it still be sometimes true? If so, the original thought is incorrect. So let's reverse yours...

    "We've often looked at using internal resources not only for finance and HR. It gets expensive and some functions don't get performance with in house resources which leave you still to fill a gap or take it upon yourself."

    See how that works? Clearly this can be just as true with employees as with outsourced resources. So the issue is not with it being outsourced or not, but with going with the wrong vendor and/or hiring the wrong staffer.


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    @dashrender said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    Internal resources are frequently ignored because the people in charge forget that they are paying the internal resources... but with an outside firm - that's always first and foremost in their mind, and if they are paying, well by god we should be doing what they say because otherwise why in the world are we paying them?

    Remembering that they cost money isn't the issue. That management thinks that how much they pay determines the value of advice is the issue.

    Example: if you volunteered your work would it actually make it less valuable? Of course not. The ends are the ends.

    The issue is similar to management confusing the ends for the means.


  • Service Provider

    @dashrender said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    This flexibility can cost a bit more (frankly I have no idea how much more), but from the postings around these parts, some seem to think the cost would be pretty small.

    "Can" cost more, but I never see it. It's less in the cases I see. Find me ANY FTE company, and I'll show you outsourcing for less than the in house costs. Every time. I challenge anyone to find an exception.

    Are there exceptions? Yes, of course. But they are insanely rare and as rare as they are, they are almost always someone volunteering.

    The idea that MSPs cost more comes from one of two misunderstandings:

    1. Refusing to look at good MSPs and only going for local firms that know that they can price gouge based on the local fallacy.
    2. Refusing to use the MSP for equal work and demanding the MSP be dramatically more than the internal resource was. Nothing wrong with this, but obviously this make it difficult or impossible to be cheaper.


  • I have possibly opposing views. When you read from people like Tim Ferris and such, it is very applicable to create an environment that most of your staff aren't even in the same building, state or country. It feels like it isn't smart, but in some cases it is and some it is a challenge.

    In our company fleshing out 3rd party HR has been on the table for many years. I even at one point suggested 3rd party finance account manager. The thought of having a "right vs wrong" isn't going to work for these scenarios, it's more of knowing you have options and which one suits the situation best.

    In my company we still have "insta-hires" which baffles my mind. But we also have too many word docs and spreadsheets that effectively "on paper" (no pun intended) seem to work but due to scale and experience over the years is a hit or miss. While I do like jumping the bandwagon on having metrics (like Google) for almost anything, I do agree that if you don't measure something you can't improve it, but honestly if you blatantly don't want to measure it, then it is destined forever to never improve.

    I wish we could afford a sweet HR system but often your left with options that are expensive that often cost more than Windows! Sure you can go the open source route or even free (SAAS) route but they all bring pro's and con's.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    @dashrender said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    This flexibility can cost a bit more (frankly I have no idea how much more), but from the postings around these parts, some seem to think the cost would be pretty small.

    "Can" cost more, but I never see it. It's less in the cases I see. Find me ANY FTE company, and I'll show you outsourcing for less than the in house costs. Every time. I challenge anyone to find an exception.

    Are there exceptions? Yes, of course. But they are insanely rare and as rare as they are, they are almost always someone volunteering.

    The idea that MSPs cost more comes from one of two misunderstandings:

    1. Refusing to look at good MSPs and only going for local firms that know that they can price gouge based on the local fallacy.
    2. Refusing to use the MSP for equal work and demanding the MSP be dramatically more than the internal resource was. Nothing wrong with this, but obviously this make it difficult or impossible to be cheaper.

    So, FTE companies should never have internal IT? Always outsource to MSPs?


  • Service Provider

    @krisleslie said in Anyone Attempting Deploying Printers through SaltStack?:

    It feels like it isn't smart, but in some cases it is and some it is a challenge.

    Nearly all. There are exceptions, but the "stall all in the same building" thing is almost always super expensive, super un-productive, and a crutch for hiring staff that are actually not able to work without being prodded by a manager. If your staff is good, they don't need to be managed. Managed staff is expensive staff. Motivated staff is cheap.

    It should feel brilliant to not have staff all in one building. What would cause the cost of real estate, the risks of housing staff, and the inefficiencies of workplace banter to sound like positives?

    Employees love working in offices because they make it easy to use "showing up" as a proxy for "working". People who work from home only look like they are working when they are... actually working. Totally different.

    Management should love people being home. Workers who want to work should love being home. People who want to collect a paycheck for talking aroudn the water cooler are the ones who promote the office environment in most cases.