What equipment do I need for Mac flyer production? server, router, drives, etc.?

Hello. I am in desperate need of some technical advice. I need to order equipment for my office, but am not sure what I need.

Recently the company I work for made a decision to produce all our flyer completely in house. Where as previously we were drawing comps and sending them to our print company to be produced. I have been designated to lead our company into this process, but with my limited technical skills, I have a lot of questions. Mainly how we should set up our network, and what we should have for equipment.

Currently we only have two designers (myself and one other), but hope to hire more in the future. We each have Macintosh G4 computers running OS X. and we have a third computer, an older G3 running OS 9.2, which we use with our scanner, and an older burner. We are a small part of a large office building, and are all connected to a main network, and will need to remain this way do to security issues. What we have started to do, is save our flyers and all their linked images on this third computer. This way we can both access them, and work on pages in the same flyer simultaneously. But we are running into allot of problems. If anyone tries to scan something, it causes our connections to crash. Also there is currently a lot of files which cannot yet be deleted on this computer, so we are quickly running out of storage space.

We will need to have anywhere from 10 - 20 flyers active at one time, with a total estimated size of anywhere from 300 - 400GB. Both of us will need to have access to all the pages for every flyer. And not slow each other down if someone is scanning…etc. We will also need some kind of automated backup system that can hold large files.

I am wondering about a server? or just firewire drives? Exabyte, or some kind of tape drive? Also someone mentioned using air port or a router…will stop connections from slowing you down? I really don't know what we should do, and am open to all kinds of suggestions, but we do plan to stick with a Macintosh setup. If possible could you give me a best plan of action, and then maybe a cheaper one…as sometimes it is hard to convince the company to spend allot of money.

Any help you can offer will be greatly appreciated! If you need more information to better understand my situation, please don't hesitate to ask.

Thank You!
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Talk to your IS/IT department. THey should be able to provide you with server storage space. I'm not sure, but they should also be able to advise you, or more properly, hand you a list of "Authorized" equipment.
That would be your best bet. Since you are required to be on the network, we can assume you have servers, and I would turn to them for assitance. Usually, most IT departments tend to get a little sticky when not consulted about equipment. 8-)
CarolynUptonAuthor Commented:
I do plan to consult the IT department,  but since we are the only department that does design, and have the only 5 Macs in the building, they are not well informed in our area. (Quite frankly they know absolutely nothing about Macs, and would rather not have anything to do with them.) I will need to know what equipment we need, and how it will work, before I present the request to my IT manager.

It would be best if we could manage all of our flyers from our desks. If that is on the building's main server, we will need to have some way of accessing those files and backing them up on a type of hard disk, as we will need to go back and open previous flyer pages in years to come. What would you suggest as a cost effect system for backup that can hold large files and be programmed to run automatically?

My one concern with using the main server is that one of the girls in the department who may be helping us occasionally with the flyer, seems to have a very slow connection. It takes her up to an hour to save a simple page through the network.  But she seems to have a similar computer to mine. Hers is a blue and white G3, and mine is an older G4. She has two 40GB hard drives, 896MB of Memory, and 350MHz processor. I have a 40GB and a 120GB hard drive, 1024MB memory, and a 355MHz processor. Any idea why her connection is so much slower? Is there any way to speed it up without buying a new computer?

Any suggestions on the way we could run things would be great!
Well, your IT staff will be able to provide you with all the answers to those questions.
From the sounds of it, you aren't going to need ANY equipment, unless you plan to add people.
Most IT guys won't admit to MAC knowledge, as most companies then drop all MAC's on 'em, but they really aren't all that hard.

The answer to Your one concern would seem to be ask the IT department what kind of hub she's on. It sounds as if her connection is on an older one. They should be able to put her on a 100 meg switch, and should clear up all those issues. If not, her internal equipment is old, and she has a 10 MBPS card. Bet even so, the save rates shouldn't be THAT bad. I would recommendsaving all her files and doing a reload.

What kind of network are you on? She might have an out of date client, and need updating.
CarolynUptonAuthor Commented:
Well I'm pretty sure our IT department is not just afraid to admit their knowledge, since we have had them down here many times for numerous problems and have never gotten much help (they would spend the day tying up our computers, and accomplish nothing)…it's gotten so bad that on occasion they didn't even come down they simple said that they could not help us. We have contracted out for some Mac IT help, but the company we were working with ended up giving us more problems and charging us an arm and a leg.

I was really hoping I could broaden my knowledge of the subject so that it would be easier for me to negotiate with them. I would like to know all my options, PC and Mac based.

If it is that she has a 10 MBPS card, can this be easily updated? I'm pretty sure IT has tried before to up her line, and that didn't work. What will we need to get her up to speed?
A new NIC should fix her up, if that's the issue, and if she's using an add-on. The onboard NIC might be able to be disabled, and new one installed, but I would have to have more information on the machine to know for sure. The easiest way to get that info is to surf to the Mac site, and check. Additionally, her cabling might be old. I forgot to mention that. If she is using anything less than CAT-5, she's outta luck; They (The IT dept) would have to replace the cabling.
And, BTW, I ceratinly didn't mean to disparage your IT department. My apologies if it came through that way!

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