Print server scalability and performance

Applies to: Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2


Most dedicated print servers can easily handle 300 - 800 print queues. Clustered print servers typically fare better with 250 or fewer print queues per virtual print resource to help guarantee a quick failover, with no more than 1000 print queues installed between all virtual print resources on the entire cluster.

Your mileage may vary depending on numerous factors such as:
  • The types of documents being printed.
  • The size of the spooled jobs.
  • The length of time it takes to enumerate the print queues.
Print server scalability and performance will also vary greatly from server to server depending on the performance of 3rd party drivers.

Consider the following if you have thousands of print queues in an enterprise environment:
  • Print server virtualization with Microsoft Hyper-V
  • Print server administration with Print Management Console (PMC)
  • Print queue deployment with Group Policy Preferences (GPP)

More Information

The ClusDB size (HKLM\Cluster key) is also a limiting factor and should not exceed ~250MB. All print drivers on a cluster write configuration information to this location, and the amount of data written depends on the driver vendor. Attempting to join new nodes to the cluster will fail if this key is too large.


Print Server Sizing
“It is important to note that the primary limitation of the print server in this configuration is related to remote management and not the result of constraints imposed by the print server hardware or core spooler component. Specifically, when viewing and sorting columns in the Printers and Faxes folder, one may begin to experience delays if the server is hosting more than 1,500 printers.”