How to consolidate print servers by using DNS alias (CNAME) records in Windows Server 2003 and in Windows 2000 Server

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INTRODUCTION

This article describes how to consolidate print servers that run in a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 environment or in a Microsoft Windows 2000 Server environment. When you consolidate print servers in an organization, one of the primary hurdles is how to accomplish the consolidation with a minimal effect on the connected clients.

If clients use a Domain Name System (DNS) name resolution method to connect to the print server, you can use DNS alias (CNAME) records to consolidate print servers. When you use this method, you do not have to remap printer shares on each client. To use this method, you must create DNS alias records for the print servers that you remove during the consolidation. When you create the alias records, you must specify as the target host the print server that you want to consolidate the print queues to.

Notes
  • To use alias records for print server consolidation in a Windows 2000 Server environment, your Windows 2000-based servers must be running on either:
    • Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 or later versions.
    • Windows 2000 with the required hotfix installed. The hotfix is described in the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article:
      298692 You cannot add a printer by using the CNAME
  • To use CNAME records, you may have to modify the DisableStrictNameChecking registry entry. For more information about how to modify the DisableStrictNameChecking registry entry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    281308 Connecting to SMB share on a Windows 2000-based computer or a Windows Server 2003-based computer may not work with an alias name

More information

To permit clients to continue to resolve the names of the print servers that you want to remove during the consolidation, follow these steps:
  1. Back up all print queues and print shares from the servers that you want to consolidate, and then restore the print queues and print shares to the server that will handle the merged printing load. To do this, you can use a utility such as Microsoft Print Migrator. For information about how to download and how to use Print Migrator, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
    http://www.microsoft.com/WindowsServer2003/techinfo/overview/printmigrator3.1.mspx
  2. Take the print servers that you want to remove offline, remove their associated resource records from DNS, and remove their associated accounts in the Active Directory.
  3. Create an alias (CNAME) record for each print server that you remove during the consolidation. When you create an alias record, you must specify the target host. Select as the target host the server that you restored the print queues to in step 1. To do this, follow these steps:

    Selecting a target host in Windows Server 2003

    1. Click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click DNS.
    2. Expand Servername, and then expand Forward Lookup Zones.

      Note Servername is the name of your server.
    3. Right-click the appropriate zone, and then click New Alias (CNAME).
    4. In the Alias name (uses parent domain if left blank) box, type the alias name. The alias name must match the name of the print server that you removed.
    5. In the Fully qualified domain name (FQDN) for target host box, type the fully qualified domain name of the print server that you want to consolidate the print queues to. Alternatively, you can click Browse to locate the target host.
    6. Click OK.

    Selecting a target host in Windows 2000 Server

    1. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Administrative Tools, and then click DNS.
    2. Expand Servername, and then expand Forward Lookup Zones.
    3. Right-click the appropriate zone, and then click New Alias.
    4. In the Alias name (uses parent domain if left blank) box, type the alias name. The alias name must match the name of the print server that you removed.
    5. In the Fully qualified domain name for target host box, type the fully qualified domain name of the print server that you want to consolidate the print queues to. Alternatively, you can click Browse to locate the target host.
    6. Click OK.
After you consolidate the print servers, network traffic increases slightly. The increased traffic occurs because the clients must establish and validate their settings with the new print server. The amount of increased traffic depends on the number of clients in your environment and the number of settings that must be passed during the negotiation. If a different version of the driver is installed on the print server than is installed on the client, the traffic may also include driver downloads.

To predict the network load, the recommended method is to trace the network traffic for representative clients in your environment. This method helps you better evaluate whether the increased load will be a problem.

Additional things to consider before you use this solution

  • The solution in the MoreInformation section works only if clients use DNS or another name resolution method that incorporates DNS when they connect to the print server. Clients cannot take advantage of this solution if they:
    • Are connected directly by Internet Protocol (IP) to the print servers.
    • Use only network basic input/output system (NetBIOS).
    • Use Windows Internet Name Service (WINS) but do not use WINS reverse lookup.
  • If some clients use WINS, permit those clients to correctly resolve the print server names. To do this, remove from the WINS database the names of the print servers that were removed during consolidation.
  • The particular node type that you use for name resolution can also affect the outcome of this solution. You must use a node type that uses DNS for name resolution. We recommend the hybrid node type (h-node). For more information about node types, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    167640 Automatically changing the node type of a Windows NT workstation
    160177 Default node type for Microsoft clients

Register the Kerberos service principal names (SPNs)

You must register the Kerberos service principal names (SPNs), the host name, and the fully-qualified domain name (FQDN) for all the new DNS alias (CNAME) records. If you do not do this, a Kerberos ticket request for a DNS alias (CNAME) record may fail and return the following error code:
KDC_ERR_S_SPRINCIPAL_UNKNOWN
To view the Kerberos SPNs for the new DNS alias records, use the Setspn command-line tool (Setspn.exe). To do this, type the following command at the command prompt:
setspn -L computername
To register the SPN for the DNS alias (CNAME) records, use the Setspn tool with the following syntax:
setspn -A host/ your_ALIAS_name computername
setspn -A host/ your_ALIAS_name.company.com computername
Note The Setspn tool is included in Windows Server 2003 Support Tools. You can install Windows Server 2003 Support Tools from the Support\Tools folder of the Windows Server 2003 startup disk. To download and install the latest version of the Setspn tool, visit the following Web site:
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=15326

References

For more information about print server migration, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://www.microsoft.com/WindowsServer2003/techinfo/overview/printmigrator3.1.mspx
For more information about a problem connecting to SMB Share by using an alias name, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
281308 Connecting to SMB share on a Windows 2000-based computer or a Windows Server 2003-based computer may not work with an alias name

Properties

Article ID: 870911 - Last Review: August 27, 2012 - Revision: 8.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
Keywords: 
kbfileprintservices kbhowto kbinfo KB870911

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