PC RIP software recovery software solution
We are a small commercial print shop, and money is so tight right now. We are still using a RIP solution that's 8 years old. It's Screen's Trueflow 3.02 TF215 release, installed on a Dell Poweredge 1600SC, running Windows 2000 Server, Service Pack 4.
We're using this PC RIP to drive a a SCREEN PT-4100 CTP unit. Overlooking the inherent limitations of using such outdated software (incompatibilities, slow performance, etc.), this solution continues to meet the needs we have.
Yesterday, in the midst of running a rather lengthy plating job, the Dell Poweredge Server started to spontaneously reboot itself, and run CHKDSK. It did this three times in a row, until it inexplicably started to behave again. We're up and running again, but I'm now faced (at the behest of an understandably spooked management) to investigate a "cost-effective" back up solution that would "get us back up and running in case that PC were to suddenly fail."
Management has made it clear that there's no money in the budget for a new setup (latest SCREEN Trueflow RIP software, new PC), because that will likely run $10K+, or even more. What I'm seeking is a much cheaper solution that will allow me to have a back up of the data that's inside this PC, and a good enough backup that would allow me to restore the data to another PC, so that I could switch the PIF PCI card (that connects the PC to the CTP device) and get back up and running.
Realistically, the two things that might happen to this PC are:
1.) hard drive failure, in which case I'll want to be able to replace the existing hard drive and use my backup solution to restore the data
2.) motherboard failure (or some other catastrophic hardware failure) that would necessitate the purchase of a replacement PC, whether new or used. In this case, I'll want a backup solution that allows me to:
A. replace the backed up data from the failed PC (including RIP software, the collection of imposition templates, user data, etc.) to the replacement PC
B. remove the PIF PCI interface card from the old PC and install it in the new PC
C. get going again
In the case of event #2, there is a high likelihood that the replacement PC will be considerably newer, and having different hardware specs than the old PC. So any attempts to restore to different hardware may be problematic. I know of some backup solutions that tout their ability to "restore to different hardware", so I'm hoping one of those might be applicable to this situation.
I don't really know where to start. But I know that the clock is ticking on this current PC hardware. And I know that if it conks out, solution A isn't going to be $20K worth of current gear. I need something that costs about $15. Ha! Seriously, something affordable!
There are free software which can clone your existing HDD. Google is your friend.
Highly likely the shutdown problem is from a failing power supply, Get another one right away. Easiest backup is an identical model as you could run into odd issues with newer chips and motherboards. See if you can find a reconditioned used machine and keep it on hand. Power it up periodically to keep the capacitors in shape. For disaster recovery check Acronis True Image or Symantec Ghost in commerical software. Drive IMage XML is low cost commercial and free personal use. System Rescue is an open source, linux based bootable CD with drive image and restore capabilities.