How to optimize your Windows Server 2003 Print Failover Cluster

There are a lot of administrators that need to maintain a highly available Print Server running on Windows Server 2003 RTM/SP1/R2/SP2 Failover Clusters

Hopefully with this series of blog posts, you will be able to create a solid printing environment where you can maintain close to 99.99% uptime* and have good performance during a move or failover.

I’m going to be assuming that you have already have either built a brand new Windows Server 2003 Print Failover Cluster or are migrating from a Windows 2000 Server Print Failover Cluster.**

Personally, I prefer that you build a brand new O.S. instead of migrating, this provides you to start fresh.  All you have to do is migrate the actual print queues.

After you have built it, I hope that you have it optimized per:

Like a house, you want to have a strong structural foundation before adding items.

There are some whitepapers such as “Creating Highly Available Printers with Windows 2003 Server Cluster”  in where all Administrators should start.

When you are done reading that whitepaper, the question becomes so what do you need to optimize and make your print cluster server scalable?

  1. What is your Cluster reset quorum log set to?
  2. Do you need Terminal Services Print redirection turned on?
  3. Do you need local print drivers on each physical node?
  4. Do you have the print drivers that you actually use and need?
  5. Do you have the latest versions of the OEM print drivers?
  6. Do you have the hotfixes needed for printing?

In future posts, we will be discussing how to go about troubleshooting these 6 items. We’ll also cover Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008 Print Failover Cluster migrations and best practices.

Author: Yong Rhee
Support Escalation Engineer
Microsoft Enterprise Platforms Support

* When using inbox print drivers (Print drivers that ship with Windows Server 2003)
** Guide to Creating and Configuring a Server Cluster under Windows Server 2003 White Paper