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Please forgive the technical nature of this post but there are a lot of "techy" users on this site so I feel comfortable asking it.

I am a system administrator for a medium-sized company (~2000 employees), and both my boss and I have many years of experience in IT. In the olden days of managing printers in a Windows environment, the standard procedure was to give them static IP addresses (preferably on their own subnet if feasible), create a virtual IP port on the print server, and then share it out with a friendly name that users can connect to. Many companies still do it this way to this day, even though there are now a dozen print protocols to choose from and modern printers understand Windows networks just fine. Static IP addresses just aren't necessary anymore and there are plenty of better ways to do this these days.

A few years ago when we opened a new facility, I proposed the idea of using host names instead of static IP addresses during our network infrastructure planning meetings. My boss rejected the idea at the time, because 1) what we've been doing works fine, and 2) there was too much other stuff going on to go changing things up. The only fruit from that discussion was that we got rid of the printer VLAN and started using DHCP reservations in the regular workstation scopes.

I've also mentioned the idea a couple times since to other colleagues as well, and I mostly get the "That's just the way it's always been done" response.

Fast-forwarding to today, we had an org change recently and we contracted out printer maintenance to a local office equipment company. Our last "printer guy" just retired, so the task of managing network printers has fallen to the help desk. Since then, our printer situation has been... inconsistent to put it mildly.

The problem here is that while the help desk does have permissions to manage the print server, they don't have permissions to create DHCP reservations, so they've just been improvising their own ways to do printer changes. There has been a uptick in incidents where a printer doesn't work because of an expired address lease, and or an occasional IP conflict where there was an in-scope static address set on the device. Today I just happened to discover that one of our biggest VLANs was ~85% full because of duplicate reservations and a couple dozen other stale reservations that nobody ever purged out.

So now, I would like to propose this idea again, given that now we have a legitimate problem with the old-school ways. Honestly, this issue isn't that big a deal in the grand scheme of things; I'm just getting annoyed with fixing dumb printer issues lately. But given that this idea has been rejected before, how should I float it again without sounding like I'm just banging on the same drum?

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    Call it something else. – A. I. Breveleri May 2 '18 at 22:39
  • present the problem (increased printer outages/unavailability) followed by the solution (hostname/discovery/non-static addresses) – HorusKol May 3 '18 at 3:19
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First off, the only way to properly manage printers is to stack them into a big pile then set them on fire. They will always be a pain in the ass to manage.

You are actually in a really good position to broach this to your boss again. Now that the old guy has retired, supporting his work is going to be harder than re-doing it your way, and supporting it that way.

You can also show him the increased difficulties you've had in supporting these infernal machines.

When you bring it up, you need to acknowledge that he said no in the past, then highlight that there's a new problem, and ask him if there is a good time to revisit the issue.

Remember, your boss was right when he shot down your idea the first time, and your boss will be right when he starts work on his idea the second time.

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    LOLz for the first and last paragraphs. I took your advice in our weekly security team meeting. My boss was actually very amenable to the idea. He didn't even know you can use a host name in the address field (which made me look good). The objection actually came from our lead network admin. He doesn't think DNS is reliable enough for that task. I totally disagree with that, BUT in hyping up his own diligence with maintaining IP address space, he implicitly volunteered himself for that task. So this is a total win for me. – Wes Sayeed May 3 '18 at 17:49
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Pounds, shillings and pence.

Your boss has to allocate resources in an efficient way. To make this attractive to your boss it has to be sold as a better way to use resources than the current system.

So what are the benefits ?

And what is the costs ?

And what can go wrong - how risky, how easy to make a mistake that brings half the systems down ?

Money. Talk to your boss about the money (waste fixing problems you could avoid) vs. the cost of implementing your fix amortized over the same period or a small multiple of it.

I would like to propose this idea again, given that now we have a legitimate problem with the old-school ways. Honestly, this issue isn't that big a deal in the grand scheme of things; I'm just getting annoyed with fixing dumb printer issues lately.

This is an annoyance to you. Remember your boss doesn't really care if you find your work fulfilling, just that the systems keep working.

( Your boss's reasons ) :

1) what we've been doing works fine

2) there was too much other stuff going on to go changing things up.

These are both sensible reasons not to change anything. Don't forget that developing a elegant solution that solves minor problems is not going to be seen as a useful idea unless it solves practical problems that really impact overall efficiency.

So the takeaway from this is that you may need to accept that the boss made a perfectly reasonable decision based on priorities you need to learn to include in your thinking.

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