This article shows you how to create a print server cluster in Microsoft Windows 2008 as a step by step guide. To create a print server cluster, you must have Windows 2008 Enterprise or Datacenter (Print server clusters are not supported in Windows 2008 Web or Standard Editions and all servers in the print cluster should be the same bus type and patch level, i.e. both 64 bit and SP1). Before creating a print cluster, you must first create a Windows Cluster.
Requirements for creating a Windows 2008 Cluster
To create a Windows 2008 cluster, you need at least 2 Windows 2008 servers with a shared storage location (split into two LUNs). This storage should be presented as two basic NTFS disks (as opossed to dynamic disks) and should typically be a SAN or NAS location, typically fiber or iSCSI attached storage. The SAN will take care of the quorum disk redundancy reduirements, but it’s usually a good idea to use multiple NICs in a team for extra redundancy 😉
Note that if you use fibre channel controllers, these should be identical, as should the network adapters if you are using iSCSI. Generally speaking, the hardware on each server in the print cluster you are creating should be the same.
Also, storage used should be deemed compatible with Windows 2008 clustering, must support SPC-3 commands and ideally should be unaccessible by other devices non in the print cluster being created (If you are creating your print cluster in VMware, you will want to present the disks as RDMs, rather than standard VMDK datastores). Finally, the miniport driver should be compatible with the Microsoft Storport storage driver.
Creating a Windows 2008 Cluster
Once you have your two Windows 2008 servers sharing two disks from a SAN (or other shared location), you need to install the Failover Clustering feature. To do this, in Server Manager, click Add Features and add the Failover Clustering feature.
Next, open an mmc (from the run menu) and add the Failover Cluster Management snap-in. Under Management, click Validate a Configuration… Proceed through the Validate a Configuration Wizard, selecting all test options. Fix any issues with the cluster.
Next, run the Create Cluster Wizard (Click Create a Cluster) and follow the steps. If you have multiple networks on the servers, some of which you don’t want to use for cluster traffic, click Manage a Cluster and select your cluster. Expand the cluster and right click the network (under Networking), click Properties then Do not allow cluster to use this network for each network you want to exclude.
Creating a Windows 2008 Print Server Cluster
You have now created a Windows 2008 cluster, you now need to configure your Windows 2008 cluster as a Print Server cluster. To do this first install the Print and Document Services Role from Server Manager -> Roles -> Add Role.
Next, in the Failover Cluster Management MMC, click Services and Applications under Actions and click Configure a Service or Application. This starts the High Availability Wizard. Click Next and specify a Print Server. Complete the wizard, you have now created a print server cluster
How To Add A Printer To A Print Cluster
In the Failover Cluster Management MMC, expand Services and Applications, then Manage Printers in the Action Pane. This opens a new window. In this window, navigate to Print Management -> Print Servers and right click the cluster you created. Click Add Printer… and complete the wizard to add a printer to your print server cluster.