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print server options for a WAN

    Question

  • We are thinking about setting up a Windows Server 2008 R2 print server, but not sure this is a good solution for our environment.

    We have a WAN environment, and print servers are usually run in a LAN environment.  Having a large number of print jobs spooling to disk over a WAN does not sound like an efficient solution, we have some remote sites with slow WAN links.

    Another concern is, if the print server goes down, this would be a central and single point of failure, so we would definitely have to plan for fault tolerance.

    One of the main reasons we want to use a print server is to be able to automatically deploy default network printers using Group Policy.

    Before I look at 3rd party solutions, I wanted to research print solution options from Microsoft.

    I found a Microsoft white paper called “When to use a Print Server”, but it is from 2004.

    Does Microsoft have a printing solution for a WAN environment that doesn’t use disk spooling?

    Does Microsoft have other print solution options that I am not aware of?

    Thanks.


    • Edited by Graf_O Tuesday, April 09, 2013 4:57 PM typo
    Tuesday, April 09, 2013 4:56 PM

Answers

  • Hi

    Planning the PS is hard. The rule of thumb is prevent anything to cross the WAN. 

    In TS scenario in exemple, where you have to print via the WAN then you better have a PS in the main site, and manage bandwidth with throttling or third party software\appliance (like a branch repeater from citrix if you use citrix in top of that, etc...)

    Printing can load the upload of your main office in a steady form.(I can find you some doc for that if you need)

    In a virtual enviroment (Desktop in a office on a hypervisor and Thin client on another site) Then again you have to think to the bandwidth. As the WAN will be hit too.

    In W2012 you can now deploy a PS's printqueue, but the client print directly to them (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj134156.aspx) but again it weight nothing if your user need to print via a TS or a remote VM.

    If you can use PCL's driver, the data is more compressed, and if you need to use postscript, be SURE the remote printer support postscript at 100%. I got a support case last week, a printer was receiving a PDF (500k) to the PS, it spooled at 33M total, so you see right now it will take time to print... The printer postscript module was changed, and after the document was 1.5M in the spooler...

    From my experience in the past if you got to print via a WAN's link for a TS, it's better if you got a PS in the main site where the TS is to send the job to the remote printer. (That will allow you to make QoS on that server IP too, to prevent it to use all the bandwidth)

    Thanks


    MCP | MCTS 70-236: Exchange Server 2007, Configuring

    Twitter - @yagmoth555 ()
    Blog: http://www.jabea.net | http://blogs.technet.com/b/wikininjas/

    • Marked as answer by Graf_O Wednesday, April 10, 2013 2:33 PM
    Wednesday, April 10, 2013 4:24 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi,

    There is some documentation I have; It's tagged citrix, never found some other. The bandwidth usage is talked for XenDesktop, so they talk about a PC in headoffice printing in a remote location where the worker is located. (the traffic is standard printing's traffic)

    Printing
    (5MB MS Word & PDF)
    
    Native XenDesktop - 553 - 593 kbps

    (You could wireshark too to be certain of the bandwidth burst it take)

    http://support.citrix.com/servlet/KbServlet/download/23001-102-673657/XenDesktop%20to%20Branch%20Offices_v2.pdf

    http://support.citrix.com/servlet/KbServlet/download/32205-102-696273/Printing%20Planning%20Guide.pdf
    http://support.citrix.com/servlet/KbServlet/download/24560-102-665134/XD%20-%20Planning%20Guide%20-%20User%20Bandwidth%20Requirements.pdf

    So the 600kbps seem low, but a T1 upload speed is near 1534kbps. So you don't want to print for a long time from your main office. (like big PDF and such)

    The first PDF talk about size, the second about printing path. Just replace ICA by RDP and that should be almost the same for the charts.

    If the user bring is printer within the RDP's session, you can use the RDP's client to compress the data, or use third part tool. (like riverbed is an exemple)

    By throttling I mean QoS: QoS on port 3389 will restrict all the RDP's usage, but QoS on port 9100 (or your printer port) will restrict the bandwidth usage to prevent it to take all the upload of your main site. (but again, that depend on the printing path you take)

    What you want to prevent is -> User (remote office - with printer from main office PS) -> Main office Session in TS (with printer session). That way the RDP session will send back the traffic to the client computer and after the computer will resend it to the remote PS that will after print it locally.

    Thanks


    MCP | MCTS 70-236: Exchange Server 2007, Configuring

    Twitter - @yagmoth555 ()
    Blog: http://www.jabea.net | http://blogs.technet.com/b/wikininjas/

    Wednesday, April 10, 2013 4:05 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Hi

    Planning the PS is hard. The rule of thumb is prevent anything to cross the WAN. 

    In TS scenario in exemple, where you have to print via the WAN then you better have a PS in the main site, and manage bandwidth with throttling or third party software\appliance (like a branch repeater from citrix if you use citrix in top of that, etc...)

    Printing can load the upload of your main office in a steady form.(I can find you some doc for that if you need)

    In a virtual enviroment (Desktop in a office on a hypervisor and Thin client on another site) Then again you have to think to the bandwidth. As the WAN will be hit too.

    In W2012 you can now deploy a PS's printqueue, but the client print directly to them (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj134156.aspx) but again it weight nothing if your user need to print via a TS or a remote VM.

    If you can use PCL's driver, the data is more compressed, and if you need to use postscript, be SURE the remote printer support postscript at 100%. I got a support case last week, a printer was receiving a PDF (500k) to the PS, it spooled at 33M total, so you see right now it will take time to print... The printer postscript module was changed, and after the document was 1.5M in the spooler...

    From my experience in the past if you got to print via a WAN's link for a TS, it's better if you got a PS in the main site where the TS is to send the job to the remote printer. (That will allow you to make QoS on that server IP too, to prevent it to use all the bandwidth)

    Thanks


    MCP | MCTS 70-236: Exchange Server 2007, Configuring

    Twitter - @yagmoth555 ()
    Blog: http://www.jabea.net | http://blogs.technet.com/b/wikininjas/

    • Marked as answer by Graf_O Wednesday, April 10, 2013 2:33 PM
    Wednesday, April 10, 2013 4:24 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi there, thank you for this information and the link.

    Could you please also provide the information about uploading in a steady form to the main office? The bandwidth throttling ideas sounds like a good option, but I would like to read more about it.  The Branch Office Direct Printing link you sent sounds great, unfortunately it requires Windows 8 on the client, we are running Windows 7 and XP on the client side.

    Thanks.

    Wednesday, April 10, 2013 2:32 PM
  • Hi,

    There is some documentation I have; It's tagged citrix, never found some other. The bandwidth usage is talked for XenDesktop, so they talk about a PC in headoffice printing in a remote location where the worker is located. (the traffic is standard printing's traffic)

    Printing
    (5MB MS Word & PDF)
    
    Native XenDesktop - 553 - 593 kbps

    (You could wireshark too to be certain of the bandwidth burst it take)

    http://support.citrix.com/servlet/KbServlet/download/23001-102-673657/XenDesktop%20to%20Branch%20Offices_v2.pdf

    http://support.citrix.com/servlet/KbServlet/download/32205-102-696273/Printing%20Planning%20Guide.pdf
    http://support.citrix.com/servlet/KbServlet/download/24560-102-665134/XD%20-%20Planning%20Guide%20-%20User%20Bandwidth%20Requirements.pdf

    So the 600kbps seem low, but a T1 upload speed is near 1534kbps. So you don't want to print for a long time from your main office. (like big PDF and such)

    The first PDF talk about size, the second about printing path. Just replace ICA by RDP and that should be almost the same for the charts.

    If the user bring is printer within the RDP's session, you can use the RDP's client to compress the data, or use third part tool. (like riverbed is an exemple)

    By throttling I mean QoS: QoS on port 3389 will restrict all the RDP's usage, but QoS on port 9100 (or your printer port) will restrict the bandwidth usage to prevent it to take all the upload of your main site. (but again, that depend on the printing path you take)

    What you want to prevent is -> User (remote office - with printer from main office PS) -> Main office Session in TS (with printer session). That way the RDP session will send back the traffic to the client computer and after the computer will resend it to the remote PS that will after print it locally.

    Thanks


    MCP | MCTS 70-236: Exchange Server 2007, Configuring

    Twitter - @yagmoth555 ()
    Blog: http://www.jabea.net | http://blogs.technet.com/b/wikininjas/

    Wednesday, April 10, 2013 4:05 PM
    Moderator
  • Thank you for sharing this information and the links :-)
    Wednesday, April 10, 2013 6:19 PM