High availability and load balancing
for ThinPrint Clients

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Introducing high availability and load balancing

With the High Availability Client function, you have the opportunity to both establish fail-safe reliability for ThinPrint Clients and to evenly distribute the load between them (Illus. below). To do so, you set up, using AutoConnect on your remote desktops (terminal servers or virtual desktops) or using group policies, groups of computers or devices to be managed. For each group, you need to determine whether high avail­ability (i. e. Failover) or load distributing (i. e. Load balancing) will be applied to it.

High availability and load balancing are set up in the ThinPrint configuration con­sole on those servers from which print jobs are sent to ThinPrint Clients or using group policies. In scenarios with one or more central print servers, these are the print servers. In scenarios without central print servers, these are the remote desktops or the group policies.

The communication takes place between the ThinPrint components AutoConnect (on central print servers or remote desktops) and ThinPrint Clients (on local print servers or Gateway appliances).

Start menu

When ThinPrint is installed on a remote desktop, three new Start menu items are added (see next Illustration):

  • ThinPrint Configuration
    = ThinPrint configuration in the Microsoft Management Console (MMC), see below
  • ThinPrint Self Service
    = printers are selected by the user(s), see ThinPrint Self Service
  • Printers
    = classic Printers folder for a better overview (when MMC-based Print Management is not available)

 Start menu entries generated by the ThinPrint installer

ThinPrint configuration

  • Open the ThinPrint configuration console – see ThinPrint Configuration in previous Illustration.
  • Select the High Availability Client option there (Illus. below).
ThinPrint Engine submenu – High Availability Client

ThinPrint Engine submenu – High Availability Client

    • Firstly, you need to determine which ThinPrint Clients are to be managed together. Select either Load balancing or edit for this (Illus. above). This opens the window shown in the following Illustration.
  • Select the High Availability Mode for the group (right arrow in next Illustration):
    • either Failover
      (for reliability i. e. high availability)
    • or Load balancing
      (to evenly distribute the print jobs to the ThinPrint Clients for this group)
  • Then add a new line – for a group (left arrow).
ThinPrint Clients added to a group

ThinPrint Clients added to a group

If you selected Failover mode (Illus. below):

  • In the Active Client column, enter the hostname of the computer or device that has the ThinPrint Client to which printing should be primarily directed. This is the name automatically given to the group.
    In the Passive Clients column, enter the hostnames of the computers or devices with ThinPrint Clients to which printing should be directed (according to the order of the entries) if the Active Client is unavailable.
    The Client Address in Printer Queue column displays the address to which the print jobs for this group will be sent.
creating a Failover type of ThinPrint Client group

creating a Failover type of ThinPrint Client group

If you have selected the Load Balancing mode (Illus. below):

  • In the Clients column, enter the host names of the computers or devices, sep­arated by commas,
    to which print jobs should be sent on an alternating basis. The first will auto­matically give its name to the group.
    The Client Address in Printer Queue column displays the address to which the print jobs for this group will be sent.
 creating a Load Balancing type of ThinPrint Client group

creating a Load Balancing type of ThinPrint Client group

More menu options

See also the following Illustration.

Menu Description
Edit change the settings for a ThinPrint Client group, e.g. change the type from Failover to Load Balancing
Refresh retrieve current information for one or all
ThinPrint Clients in a group
Online help open the online help in the browser
ThinPrint Client group created (example for three client computers, i. e. Gate­way appliances)

ThinPrint Client group created (example for three client computers, i. e. Gate­way appliances)

Conclusion

The group name – e. g. tphub-a00b00 in Illus. 339 – may then be used as the address of a Thin Print Client when creating printers in Windows printer manage­ment. The ThinPrint Engine then recognizes automatically that this is the name of a group.

In Load Balancing mode, it automatically sends the print jobs to each of the Thin­Print Clients alternately and, in Failover mode (only if the primary/active client is unavailable) to the (first of the) secondary/passive ThinPrint Clients. If that is also unavailable, the ThinPrint Engine works through the list of passive clients sequen­tially.

Deploying the High Availability configuration to other ThinPrint servers

The High Availability configuration of ThinPrint Clients is saved to the following Win­dows Registry key:

hkey_local_machine\software\ThinPrint\TPSW32

So, you can just export this key on a ThinPrint server with configured ThinPrint Client High Availability and then re-import it on other ThinPrint servers or use the Active Directory to deploy it.

Caution! Perform a backup of the target machines before importing the Reg­istry key.

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