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Clustering and high availability

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PaperCut NG/MF is designed to scale to networks over 50,000 users (largest deployments are running over 300,000 users). To ensure reliability on networks of this size, network architects can adopt strategies including:

  • Load balancing - spreading tasks across multiple servers.

  • Clustering - building in redundancy by implementing a failover strategy.

PaperCut NG/MF is a cluster compatible application. It supports clustering at all levels of the application, including

  • Clustering at the print spooler service layer by integrating with clustering services.

  • Failover based clustering at the Application Server layer using clustering services. (PaperCut’s Application Server is web and web services based, which means it can support other failover methods such as heartbeat driven DNS).

  • At the database layer by utilizing cluster aware databases such as Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle.

Setting up PaperCut in a cluster environment is an advanced operation. This section assumes a high level of expertise in system and cluster configuration. Make sure the cluster environment is operational before undertaking the PaperCut installation. Readers should also have a good understanding of PaperCut’s Service Oriented Architecture - specifically its two main components, the Application Server and the Print Provider and how they work together (see Print monitoring architecture ).

In a cluster environment, you can set up PaperCut in one of two possible configurations.

Mode 1 is the simplest configuration and is suitable for most organizations. It implements clustering in the front line, that is, the printers and print monitoring layer. The cluster print server is configured as a secondary print server reporting back to a primary PaperCut server hosted on another system outside the cluster.

Mode 2 implements clustering on all levels of the application for maximum fault tolerance - In addition to the print queues, the PaperCut Application Server is also hosted in the cluster. Mode 2 is somewhat more demanding to configure and should only be attempted by organizations with staff experienced with advanced cluster and database management.

Refer to the subsequent sections for an explanation on how to set up Mode 1 or Mode 2 in your environment.

This section assumes that you have an already installed and working clustered printing environment.

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