Design for a Clustered File or Print Server

Updated: October 24, 2008

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

By creating a clustered file or print server, you can help provide high availability for file or print services in your organization. This design can easily be extended to provide high availability for multiple file or print servers, assuming that server and network capacity are sufficient. This design does not include a disaster recovery option as part of the failover cluster, which makes this design less expensive and simpler to deploy. For additional designs, such as a design that includes a disaster recovery option for a file or print server, see Mapping Your Deployment Goals to a Failover Cluster Design.

To attain the maximum availability of any server, it is important to follow best practices for server management—for example, carefully managing the physical environment of the servers, testing software changes before placing them into production, and carefully keeping track of software updates and configuration changes on all clustered servers.

A failover cluster usually includes a storage unit that is physically connected to all the servers in the cluster, although any given volume in the storage is only accessed by one server at a time. The following diagram shows a simple two-node file server failover cluster that is connected to a storage unit.

Failover on a two-node file server cluster

Clustered file server completing failover

As with other failover clusters, a print server failover cluster includes a storage unit. Printer drivers for the printers are usually stored on the storage unit, which means that the same driver is available regardless of which node is providing print service at a particular time. The following diagram shows a simple two-node print server failover cluster that is connected to a storage unit.

Failover on a two-node print server cluster

Clustered print server completing failover

To learn more about this design, see Example, Clustered File or Print Server.

For information about configuring this design, see Checklist: Clustered File or Print Server (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=129121).

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