Amalgamate printer queues from load-balanced print servers

QIs there a way in PaperCut to amalgamate printer queues, that is to make identically-named print queues from different servers appear under the same “printer” in PaperCut?

Maybe your organization is clustering your print servers, and you’ve set up two print servers with identical print queues. Now what you see in PaperCut is two or more print queues like this:

  • Printserver1\library-color
  • Printserver2\library-color

While this is functional, it does pose a challenge for PaperCut administrators who now have to configure twice as many print queues. Also when running reports, print totals and history will be split across two separate queues.

One solution to this problem is to edit a configuration file on each of the redundant print servers to specify an alias. We have to warn you that this solution was introduced in the early days of PaperCut we’ve since discovered it is not compatible with certain features like Web Print, Find-Me Printing, or Hardware Page Validation. Proceed with caution.

We’ll explain by example how server aliasing can be useful:

Environment:

  • Two print servers (to distribute load and/or act as a backup).
  • Both servers have the same set of physical printers installed under matching/identical names.
  • This example assumes both servers run Windows, but the concept can equally be applied to Mac and Linux.

Normal Setup in PaperCut:

  • Each server would report their printers to the central server.
  • Printers are prefixed by the server name (server\printer) so we have separate printers for each queue on each server.

Aliased setup in PaperCut:

  • Aim: Force one server or servers to report itself as the same name as the other server.
  • On one of the servers, set the ServerName= property in the file:
    C:\Program Files\PaperCut NG\providers\print\win\print-provider.conf
  • Now jobs from this server will list under the same name as the other server.
  • Jobs will now appear under the one printer name in PaperCut. The old queues can be deleted.

Exceptions & Known Issues:

The following features may not work as excepted using server aliasing:

  • Find-me printing will transfer the jobs to the server who’s name matches the selected alias rather than selecting the local server’s queue. This is because queues are selected via a fully qualified queue name.
  • Conversion Filters (forced grayscale, forced duplex) and Watermarking will also transfer the jobs to the server who’s name matches the selected alias.
  • Queue error alerts will not identify the server - the server alias name will be required.
  • Hardware page count validation may not work if multiple queues from different servers point to the same device.
  • Web Print will only print to the aliased server.
  • PaperCut’s internal printer load balancing will only load balance on the aliases servers queues.

keywords: load balance, distributed queues, join

Q Are there other ways to merge printers in PaperCut?

If this article doesn’t quite match your situation, but you are still looking to combine/merge/amalgamate printers in PaperCut then check out the section on printers in our article on merging data.


Categories: How-to Articles, Print Queues

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