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Redundant Printer Shares

Posted on 2004-08-25
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Last Modified: 2009-12-16
Currently we have one print server which all printers are shared from, when this goes down – everything goes down.

I want to set up some kind of printer redundancy – kind of like a DFS share for printers. Does anybody know if this is possible or know of any solutions that would give us some kind of printer backup?
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Question by:The_Lighthouse
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11 Comments
 
LVL 39

Expert Comment

by:hdhondt
ID: 11899159
If your printers are networked, it is possible for every PC to print direct to the printers, rather than via a server. Or you can set additional PCs up to be print servers.

If you use a usb or parallel connection for the printers
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LVL 39

Expert Comment

by:hdhondt
ID: 11899182
oops...

What I meant to say is:
If you use a usb or parallel connection for the printers you can use Print Server boxes like HP JetDirect external or equivalent to network your printers.
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Author Comment

by:The_Lighthouse
ID: 11899248
All the printers have network cards, but that is not the point. I WANT the printers shared off a print server, but I want to know if there is a way of copying the share?
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LVL 39

Expert Comment

by:hdhondt
ID: 11901408
I do not know of any way to set up a "distrbuted" print service. As for copying the share, even if you could copy all the files and registry entries that make up the share, how can you do that once the server is down? And if you do it to a second server while the first one is still up, that second server will have to look different from the first one or they will have conflicts on the network.

I assume what you really want is a system where, if one server goes down, another takes its role by pretending to be the failed one. That sounds like a very difficult exercise for fault tolerant servers. It's probably easier to set up a server with sufficient fault tolerance so that it becomes highly unlikely it will ever go down.
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Expert Comment

by:pysches
ID: 11902786
I agree with what hdhondt says..

what you are looking for isn't really possible..

however if you ahve stacks of printers to share i would think about trying HP's Print server appliances... these are now very stable, and you cna make a backup copy of the entire system which can be applied to any other print server appliance so you may be able to provide sme redundancy with this...

also you cna use HP's Web jetadmin tool to manage these queues and state preferences..

barring this why dont you try and pool a few different printers together. but this still will not work if the server goes down..

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Author Comment

by:The_Lighthouse
ID: 11908897
I thought this might be the case, I was curious to see if anyone knew of a alternative though! If I have any joy I will add it to this particular thread.  
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:thoffman
ID: 11919446
If you're running Windows XP, you might be able to use something like Host Monitor. Set up a second server with identical shares but a unique name. So, you'll have something like "Main" and "Backup."

When Host Monitor running on "Backup" detects that the main server is down, it can launch a script that renames itself to "Main," then reboots. You'll have a few minutes of down time while the backup server reboots as "Main."

http://www.jsiinc.com/SUBJ/tip4700/rh4784.htm describes one method of renaming the computer from the command line. It's a bit hairy when dealing with domains, but it should be able to be done (though I've never attempted this myself).

--
Troy
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LVL 21

Accepted Solution

by:
wyliecoyoteuk earned 200 total points
ID: 11923501
Depends on how big and complex your network is, but a simple way to do this would be to install the same printers on 2 servers, then install the 2 shares on each client, and get users to switch between them in the case of a failure.

There are various software packages that can redirect printing depending on available queues, scripts, and even print content.

http://www.fabsoft.com/
http://www.ati-uk.com/docQmanager.htm
are 2 I know and use, but there are many others
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Author Comment

by:The_Lighthouse
ID: 12023885
Thats the kind of suggestion I was after - Cheers!
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Expert Comment

by:reid512
ID: 12435452
I am currently looking for the same solution for about 100 printers off of one server.

One idea we came up with was to have a low-end 'server' that would hold identical printer shares as the primary print server.
In the event that the primary server fails, we would then change the DNS entry of the old print server to be be the backup's ip address. Once the primary is back online, we could double check the DNS entry and make sure it is back to the original server.

This is just an initial idea. We are still looking for other options.
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LVL 21

Expert Comment

by:wyliecoyoteuk
ID: 12438791
You could try creating a substitute active directory database and swapping it.
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