What are the max number of printers I can connect on the same Samba server acting as a print server?

Solution Verified - Updated -

Environment

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux RHEL 5.5 and Samba 3.3 (samba3x)

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux RHEL 6 and Samba 3.5

Issue

  • Is there any official limitation about how many printers I can connect to the same Samba server acting as a print server together with Cups?
  • Is there any different limitation between Samba from RHEL 5 and RHEL 6?

Resolution

  • There  isn't a defined maximum number of print queues to be configured in Samba, because its  performence and proper functioning does not depend on  quantity but on how the solution is used.
  • The  printer command language and the type of document you're printing will  make a big difference (if you have to handle many things in PCL or have  lots of graphics and images to be printed, the volume of data  transferred will be the limiting factor, according to network boundaries, the printer buffer, etc.).
  • If you use only PostScript printer drivers it will drastically reduce the amount of data sent over the connection. Soon,  you can work with more queues and jobs requiring less processing using  the PostScript that is lighter because it is simpler.
  • But when using PCL drivers or when you need to convert from another format it will generate generate some more intensive use of CPU, and possibly  many rows with many jobs being printed concurrently, would generate  lower performance due to this additional load of processing due to conversions.
  • Thus, we can say that the limit of the solution will be reached depending on the data structures of the printers and drivers.
  • As  an example, we can say that maintain 1500 printers on a print  server is possible but the limitation of the operation takes place according to how  many impressions each user will do, what kind and how many users are  connected to the print server: If you have 3000 users printing a low amount of text jobs only on PostScript printers and  interchangeably, it is likely that you will not see performance problems. Inte other hand, if you have 3000 users printing jobs simultaneously and using complexity (images, graphics, etc.) to PCL printers, loss of performance  will certainly occur.
  • Therefore,  the maximum number depends also on the clients and the load of the environment, not  just the number of printers on the Print Server.
  • Regarding  the versions, the fact is that each newer version available from Red  Hat, further improvements and code optimization in the use of resources  are implemented. Thus, in theory, newer versions are more optimized and can withstand a higher load.
  • The ideal solution would be a right capacity plan and also consult Cups System Requirements Estimator: http://www.cups.org/estimator.php before setup your environment in order to obtain information about hardware requirements that will support the amount of printers and users of your scenario.

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