Linux Print System at Cisco Systems, Inc.

Cisco runs a redundant system of 50 print servers using Linux, Samba and Netatalk. It prints to approximately 1,600 printers worldwide, serving 10,000 UNIX and Windows 95 users, some of whom are in mission-critical environments.

Using regular UNIX tools and SDDB, we have created a distributed machine with multiple facets in the form of physically separate servers throughout the world. There has been no magic in doing this. It has been accomplished simply by fixing problems in a general way with an eye to the future. Linux has proved to be quite capable of holding its own in this large, “mission-critical” environment. Nothing is stopping multiple Linux servers from providing “big system” functionality and manageability.

For more information or to download the source for the code discussed in this article, go to

Damian Ivereigh has been a Unix System Administrator and engineer for 12 years. He is originally English, but has been living in the USA for 4 years of which the last 3 have been at Cisco. He is a caver and a white-water kayaker in his spare time. He welcomes your comments at