We’ve supported running PaperCut on clustered servers for two years now and have some very large installations utilizing this feature. These range from large corporate and finance institutions to universities supporting 50k+ users. Clustering allows PaperCut to push into these really large sites.
Over the past two years I have learned that clustering should be considered as an investment rather than a solution. Purchasing a larger hard drive to fix a storage capacity problem is a solution. Implementing clustering may also be a solution but it’s far more of an investment. The pay-off is often not immediate. The real benefits come when the unexpected occurs. A power supply meltdown would usually make a system administrator’s heart stop, however to a cluster administrator it brings a smile as they realize all their hard work just paid off 😉
While on the topic of clustering, any organizations looking at implementing PaperCut on a clustered Linux setup should take a look at the notes the guys at Zen Consulting have put up. If you’re in Canada and looking for assistance in this area, I can highly recommend Ryan and his team as they’ve done a great job with some challenging installs.
Fire has recently affected two of our customers. The first event hit one of our largest customers (a prestigious American University who shall remain nameless to save embarrassment!) running PaperCut in a clustered server array. Equipment failure in the server room resulted in a fire that took down the cluster’s shared storage. Fortunately the database server was still intact and we had their quota system up and running on a temporary box within a few hours. The second event occurred at Heron Island Research Labs – our “smallest” and most isolated customer based on a tiny island off the cost of Queensland, Australia. The fire there devastated the research labs at the world-renowned facility.
Both events highlight the importance of backup for both big and small. Now is the time to check your PaperCut backups and ensure that the in-built backup feature is complimented with a good off-disk and off-site (and off-island!) backup policy.