Last update: Apr 1, 2000
CERN, IT Division
Speaker: Ivan DelooseThe PRINT service provides a print spooler service for more than one thousand printers and more than five thousand Unix workstations of various brands including Sun, HP, DEC, IBM and SGI as well as PC's running Linux. In addition more than three thousand PC's running Windows/95 and several hundred running NT 4 are served.
The service offers a high level of scalability and fault tolerance, having no single point of failure in the server back-end.
Support of a large number of printer models is offered. This includes various models of HP, QMS, Tektronix, Xerox and Apple printers.
The service back-end is implemented as an array of similarly configured Linux PCs running the LPRng spooler. Appletalk protocol support is provided by means of the Columbia Appletalk Package and the Linux DDP module.
A dedicated DNS name hierarchy has been implemented containing aliases that associate the printer name with the specific server serving its queue. Load balancing and fail-over are controlled by the manipulation of the DNS configuration file.
Two sets of print clients are provided, one for Windows and one for the Unix systems. They both use a RFC1179 lpr compliant protocol to communicate with the print server back-end. This solution was preferred over implementing the SMB protocol in the back-end due to the better scalability of RFC1179 because its connectionless nature.
The Unix clients are the LPRng print clients modified at CERN to support our server addressing scheme and to solve backwards compatibility issues.
The Windows client, called the CERN Printing Package has been designed to integrate the PC-Windows based printing clients into this new LPR based environment. This software package is built around a central database, holding the configuration data (printer name, driver, settings...) of all corporate network printers. Besides the management tools included for controlling the networked printing infrastructure, it comes with a client package enabling Windows 9x and NT users to set-up printer objects on their machine in an automated way. Applications can print via the standard Windows interfaces on NT, Novell (IPX) and LPR (e.g. Linux) print servers.
Additionally Java and Perl print clients have been developed in order to provide a GUI for Unix systems and to support other operating systems such as VMS.
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