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Printer Server disaster recover on VMware

Posted on 2009-04-03
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Last Modified: 2013-12-15
I am planning to create print server on VMware. We need to have a disaster recover plan. What is the best practice for this? Should we use clustering? How will the failover work? Thanks
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Question by:dongocdung
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jhyiesla earned 100 total points
ID: 24061021
It depends on your tolerance for having a printer server down.

Although printing is important in our environment, we would not cease to exist if we could not print for a short period of time.   From my standpoint, which obviously is different than yours, clustering seems like overkill.  

For myself, I would do a couple of things.  First, I would create the print server and then make a clone of it that could be stored off site or on another server. As long as the underlying hardware is solid, that should get you back up in short order.  I would also use the MS printmig3 program to make a copy of all of the printers and their settings. This would allow you on a new server to quickly reestablish all of your printers. If you have more than one VM and are using vMotion, that is another thing that should help protect you server.  

The bigger picture is that you should have an overall DR plan that would take into account all of your servers, whether physical or virtual.

The MS print migrator program can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=D6915F13-EDE4-4708-83C1-0091EEADE293&displaylang=en
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by:65td
65td earned 100 total points
ID: 24061994
Agree with the points above.  MSCS adds additional complexity, maybe better utilize two stand alone prt servers.

We use a virtual print server in ESX 3.5 DRA/HA cluster, living on a SAN (single point of failure, no replication of SAN).
Use VCB to back the server up and figure recovery time would be short.
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by:MrMintanet
MrMintanet earned 250 total points
ID: 24062587
Being it is a print server, just backup the virtual machine's configuration and virtual disk after you have finished configuring the server.  Then, if the virtual print server crashes, just use your backup by simply dragging and dropping the backup information to the appropriate location that VMWare is pointing to.  This is not hard.
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by:MrMintanet
MrMintanet earned 250 total points
ID: 24062603
As for "failover".  Being it is a print server and not an exchange server, I would suggest to simply create 2 separate print servers.  Then have the users able to use either print server from their predefined printer list.
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by:markzz
markzz earned 50 total points
ID: 24068065
I largely agree with the above but not entirely.
Create 2 Print servers is fine, forget clustering it's over kill for such a simple process.
Microsoft have a printer migration wizard which if I recall can be used via the command line.
This tools could be used to script the export of the printers, configuration and drivers on your Prod Print Server and of course the import of this on the DR Print server. In the event of DR you would have to add a registry entry on the DR Print server which gives it a second host name (google adding a second host name Windows 2003) and you would have to edit DNS  and point the prod servers host record at the DR Print Server.
It may not be hot failover but it's pretty quick.
Of course there is no replacement for backups so VCB the Prod Print Server regularly.
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by:MrMintanet
MrMintanet earned 250 total points
ID: 24068143
If you want a ridiculously simple solution, schedule a an event to occur from control panel.

Schedule a script to ping the print server

IF ping fails

Execute startup of other VMware Print Server

How to script this:
http://www.petri.co.il/virtual_script_startup_shutdown_vmware_servers.htm

IF ping sucessful

End Script

Good Luck
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Expert Comment

by:markzz
ID: 24071010
This is an interesting idea MrMintanet and one I can see could be very useful indead, but bringing up a print server that doesn't have the necessary printers configured would be futile.
I guess a hot clone could be done of the print server to another name but then you have the issue of what IP will it need in the DR siite.
To avoid these complications you could even script the export and import of printer configurations, DNS changes and registry import
Print migrator http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/techinfo/overview/printmigrator3.1.mspx
The registry changes can be made with the reg.exe command
DNS edit the DNS via the CLI util DNSCMD.exe http://www.windowsreference.com/dns/dnscmdexe-dns-server-command-line-utility-for-windows-dns/
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