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Best Practices for Setting Up a Print Server

Posted on 2007-10-09
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I'm setting up a new print server that will have around 30-40 print queues.  The server will be Windows Server 2003.  This will be the sole function of the server.  What I'd like to know is what are some tips/best practices for setting up the print server.  I've set up plenty of print servers, but always take defaults and don't do any tweaking.  But I'm curious if there are some ideas out there on maybe tweaking stuff, like spool file, etc.  Anything would be appreciated.
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Question by:eejwb003
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by:markpalinux
markpalinux earned 750 total points
ID: 20041086
eejwb003,

As far as defaults, you could change the spool directory, but I would just keep a larger C and not worry.  From what I have read in the past, a print server is just like a file server - users writing file rather then reading.

Two items that may interest you:

#1
microsoft printmig.exe software - printer migrator  - you can also use this to backup printer objects - then move that copy to another server.
Then if you print server ever dies, you already have what you need for another server to take over.

Print Migrator 3.1 - for Windows 2003. (I do not think before 3.1 there was support for Windows 2003)
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=9B9F2925-CBC9-44DA-B2C9-FFDBC46B0B17&displaylang=en

#2
Here is the answer to have users' workstations point to the new print server.
http://www.petri.co.il/changeprintsrv.htm
 changeprintsrv.exe
it is Freeware. I have used this tool with success in the past.

Hope this helps,
Mark
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Brad Groux earned 750 total points
ID: 20041173
Print servers aren't really tough to build or configure, I would simply recommend putting the the spooler on a separate partition and a different array if possible. For example Mirror the OS and put the spooler on another mirror or RAID 5 if possible. It shouldn't be a huge deal with only 40 queues but it always helps. Also, a print server isn't exactly CPU intensive but it is memory intensive so have as much RAM as you can, especially if you just have some spare stuff laying around. Again, you shouldn't have any problems with an environment of your size.

When I build a 2003 print server the setup it is as follows...
I mirror the OS drives, C: partition is 12GB for Windows 2003 (corporate standard).
I set the page file to 1.5 times the memory, so if there is 2GB of memory the Page file is 3GB.
I raid 5 the remaining drives and place the spooler on a partition on the spooler.

If you only have a 1U server and two drives then you can mirror the drives and create a separate partition for the OS and the spooler.



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by:eejwb003
ID: 20041205
Thanks to both of you so far.  I'm going to keep this open a while to see if there are any other tips.  The print migrator works great.  And good info on the RAM, OS, mirroring, etc.  All help is appreciated.
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LVL 14

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by:Brad Groux
ID: 20041259
I have found that creating a separate array for the spooler is great. It protects the server from degraded arrays that for me at least seem to come from Print servers. I seem to lose more drives due to failure on my print servers than any other servers... so having a separate array lets me simply move the spooler to C:\ temporarily if there is an issue, blow the spooler array away, and move the spooler back.
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by:markpalinux
ID: 20041558

We have 22 printers for an office with 300+ people on a virtual guest under Microsoft Virtual Server, the other virtual guest is a anti-virus server which pushes and monitors workstations. We like having ti be virtual in case we need or want to move it to a different host.

We have never seen printing be an issue performance wise in that setup.

Mark
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by:eejwb003
ID: 20041949
I'm glad you pointed that out.  I think I'm going to use VMware to create the print server.
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by:Brad Groux
ID: 20051630
VMware is great option for print servers, if you have at VM host at your disposal it is certainly worth a look. When building your Windows box in VM I would follow the same steps I mentioned above in configuring it. 12GB for the OS (could go 10GB if you are low on space), 1.5x the memory for the page file and putting the spooler on a separate partition, although I wouldn't make the second partition more than a couple of gigs, otherwise you're just wasting space.

Good luck!
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by:eejwb003
ID: 20051645
Will do.  thanks.  I'm gonna split points.  
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