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options on print servers

Posted on 2008-06-12
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I have about 250 users, I have about 30 printers. I currently have all printers installed on a single windows 2003 server. I shared each one out and am using kix32 to distribuyte the printers out to the clients. The problem is that I have had the single print server die on me 2 times in a single year. Is there a beter way of dooing this? I do not want to install tcpip ports and printers on every system but I also do not want all printers residing on 1 system. Any thoughts?
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Question by:joshrosen
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by:PeteJThomas
ID: 21777264
Hi Josh,

There are several ways of having print servers set up, but the problem is finding the most cost effective way for your company. When you say the server failed, was it a software issue that simply required a reboot, or a hardware failure that required an engineer/replacement parts to be sent to site?

Is the server your print queues are set up on a dedicated print server, or does it have many functions? A dedicated print server will improve reliability a lot, considering there's a lot less to go wrong if the servers only carrying out 1 task... The more you load onto a server, the more possible points of failure you introduce should any of the apps cause the server to crash.

I've worked at companies that have their F&P servers in a cluster too, so that if one fails the other takes the active role immediately, but that was more due to the files serving side than anything else, as it was critical for the users to have access to these files (not least the fact that their roaming profiles were there too!).

Can you give me a little more detail regarding my comments?

Pete
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by:joshrosen
ID: 21782071
It was a dedicated server that had 18 printers on it. The network controllers died making it unable to print campus wide. No cluster in place yet. Have found links to vb scripts any thoughts. I would need something that installed all printers localy with TCP ports by clicking on 1 link. Taking the Print serverout of the loop.
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PeteJThomas earned 250 total points
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I personally don't like the idea of installing the printers locally on all clients... It's far less manageable, and if at some point you need to update the printer drivers (or as technology moves on and different print models are purchased, those drivers will obviously need to be installed too) it's far more complicated to do than when using a server.

Of course though, the choice is yours!

When you say the network controllers, do you just mean the network cards? As even something as simple as installing another spare PCI NIC into the server (or just keeping compatible NICs in stock), which can be quickly configured to use the same IP etc in the event that one of the other NICs fails would probably suffice.

A cluster isn't really the best option in this case I think, it's a bit overkill for a simple print server, especially seeing as you'd need to purchase a fair bit to use it (shared storage, a second server etc).

Basically, in my opinion the problem is not your printing methodology, simply the reliability of your hardware. I'm afraid I know nothing about scripting, so if you're set on installing all the printers locally you'll need help from someone else... :)

Pete
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