How many Vaults will you need?
Before we discuss this too broadly, let's make sure we are all using the same terminology. The product you have installed is Called Vault (notice the big V), and there are a Server and Client portions. Also within that product, you can create Vault storage repositories – vaults (notice the little v). Autodesk Vault Server has the ability to create and manage multiple vaults. Each vault is a separate storage repository, similar to having multiple hard drives on a computer. With that is said lets dig in.
After you have Vault installed, the next and most important step is to plan how you will use it. The first and most frequent question we hear is whether a company should use one massive vault for all their offices/staff, or many small vaults broken up by geography/discipline. To this, I say fear not! We have an answer!!!!….
The answer is: it depends on what you want. That may sound like I'm dodging the question, but really I'm not. It depends on your company’s appetite for increased administration for the sake of collaboration and vice versa. Let's review the options:
Using One Vault for Everyone
The Good: This is great for collaboration within your group – everyone can reference parts and drawings from one other, and there are no barriers to sharing information.
The Bad: There are no barriers for sharing information. This can be a problem from a security standpoint. Also, the time cost of the administration for this can become very high as all changes need to be validated across all groups.
Using Multiple Vaults Across Organization
The Good: If you are involved in consulting, contracting, or segmented business units, it may be useful to create a separate vault for each customer or group. This enables you to keep templates, standards, and project information separate and isolated.
The Bad: The most important thing to remember when working with multiple vaults is that the data is completely separate and can never be merged. The only way to combine two or more vaults is to remove data from one vault and manually add it to the other, resolving any conflicts that may occur.
What it comes down to is that the choice is yours, and it usually boils down to how your current workflows are setup and how much change you can effect in them using Vault. It's your decision on how to setup the vaults, but we enable you to do what's best for your installation.
One note before you finish this article: no matter what way you choose to go forward… create a training Vault! Make sure you have an extra vault where users can feel free to experiment and learn/test new actions without interfering with the main vault(s). This is invaluable.
– Chris Bluhm, EP Vault Specialist