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We store all in the same vault.
Ours are all in the same vault with the idea that all info for a particular job is in the same location. Otherwise you have to keep jumnping around to look at the master drawing list, job site photos, etc while working with the models & drawings, etc.
However, there is some merit to the other thoughts.
As with anything there are different schools of thought on this subject. Personally I lean toward the one vault line of thinking. Maintaining one vault is a much easier task than maintaining multiple vaults. I use one vault and split the departments up with different folders. Then I create groups that correspond with the different folders to maintain user visibility and rights within the vault.
I do have a test vault where I perform all of my testing before changing something major in the production vault. That alone is a bit of a pain to maintain and keep up to date with users, variables, workflows, groups, etc.
As far as the search goes, we have about 128K files in one production vault for all engineering files (CAD , Word, Excel, PDF, etc.) and it takes about 70 seconds to find every file in the vault. From the date of implimantation a year ago, the time yo find one file has not changed ; a liitle more than one second.
Hope this helps in your decision.
Lucas H. Dexter
Engineering IT Systems Administrator, CAD/PDM
Spartan Motors Inc.