We have recently sunsetted our 2003 print servers. We were transitioning to a managed-print vendor who recommended a very different print solution, so rather than migrate, we created two new print servers. The drivers are current (provided by the MPS provider).
The problem print server is Server 2008 R2 Standard, running virtually on a VMware platform. It's configured with 12GB Ram and 4 processor cores (2 virtual sockets, 2 cores per socket).
It has the file server and print server roles installed (although the file server role is NOT being utilized).
There are currently 178 printers configured on the server. Jobs are set to render on the client computers. We deploy the printers using group policy (AD 2008).
Printing seems largely ok except that the processor utilization spikes and stays high for 5-10 minutes at a time many times during the day. 'High' utilization varies from 75% to 100%. 'Resting' (no active print jobs) cpu usage during school hours stays fairly steady at around 70%. Off hours the CPU utilization hovers around 40%.
Printing seems ok, but we are getting sporadic reports of printers 'disappearing' from workstations, then reappearing on their own (or after a reboot). We've also had cases where the printers weren't showing up on a workstation upon logon, only to appear a few minutes later. I attributed these at first to some issue with group policy, but I'm now wondering if maybe we aren't seeing the product of the server cpu being pegged and the printer objects on the workstations cannot be rendered properly during that time period?
I'm at a loss right now to explain what is happening. I'd expect to see spikes during the actual print jobs, but I'd also expect to see the spike drop back down to normal levels relatively quickly.
Thanks for any input you might have!