This question seems straightforward but I'd like to really get some deep understanding before establishing a routine.
I'm helping with the administration of a laboratory with about a dozen computers - half a dozen of which are more or less critical for daily operation and about three of those have critical data files that are created daily.
My primary goal after helping with the programming and configuration of these computers is developing an automated or semiautomated way to back up the files created and working environment configuration of these machines.
The lab spans a wan and the machines I'm concerned about are win2k (professional) os. Machine 1 has about 5 gb of data on the hard drive which includes windows but this enitre machine should be backed up in a way that one could reformat the hard drive and restore the hard drive entirely - if that makes sense. I'm thinking the description of Norton Ghost that I hear from others fits the job I'm looking for but I'd like to know more about how it works and a good way to implement it into a weekly backup routine.
The second critical machine has critical files all grouped within a single folder under 500mb in size. These files get changed rather frequently so I'm thinking weekly cd-r's would be a good medium for backing this up. Additionally, data files are created on this machine in a different folder and take up about 100 mb a day. Once created these could probabily be archived but as we're on the topic, I'd like to know if there is a way in win2k that when the user is not the administrator, the os can alter a file's attributions so it can not be added to or deleted without administrative rights.
Finally, the other computers in the lab are less critical and should be backed up in a less mission-critical fashion - if that makes sense. this would just prevent the loss of people's non-backed up and saved web pages etc. if a harddrive died or virus struck or something.
As indicated I'm thinking about the purchase of norton ghost for part of this solution and I'm also thinking about setting up a windows2k server (or maybe even an older windowsNT version). We currently share a printer on one of the computers and share folders on the windows 2k pro machines. Costs are an issue in this job so I've also thought about buying an old pentium cpu and putting a big hard drive and some version of windows on it and just sending over copies of the hard drive or using the windows back up program to create files over night and send them over to the server at the end of the job.
Thank you in advance for your help - I truly appriceate the expert advice.