At my new job, I have a production server with the following qualities:
- Windows Server 2003, ancient hardware
- Absolutely vital database
- No backups whatsoever
- Everyone in the company has full admin rights, the passwords are stored in a .txt on the global share
- No installers, except for the OS
- The machine itself is sitting on a wooden shelf 5 feet above the ground against an external wall with frequent truck traffic on the other side; the shelf is already bent from the constant load
- Hasn't been rebooted in $DEITY knows how long, my predecessor wasn't even sure if it would survive it; of course no updates have been applied, ever
- UPS is installed, but since everything is hooked up to it, it would last 10 minutes tops
- No spare parts or hardware budget
How do I make a full backup with minimal impact on the server? I'm not sure how close it is to a total meltdown. For all I know, plugging in a USB stick could kill the company, and of course it will be all my fault, since "it was running fine before you touched it".
The ideal solution would be a VM, so I have a test environment as well (separate of course).
Update: After a long talk with the boss, I now have permission to do whatever I think is best in the long term, so there's hope now. Also, I found most of the backup-worthy data is stashed on the client machines in well-hidden directories, the server hard drive isn't big enough, and while I still don't have a hardware budget, there is another ancient box that has fallen out of use because all the malware bogged it down. Sigh.