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Great question! Unfortunately there isn't a 100% straightforward answer as it'll depend on several factors and what you/your end users value. This is most likely not an exhaustive list, but here are a few things that I came up with that you should consider when making the decision to use the same or a new database:
- ***Most important consideration*** Do your labs have similar assets that you're modeling? Library objects, most importantly templates, only exist within a single database; they are not server wide. Thus, if you will be using the same templates to model assets from your different labs, you will most likely want to organize them into a single database. Technically you can export your template and import it into a new database if you'd like to reuse it, but then any future modifications to that template will have to be done twice (or more if you use separate databases for lab3, lab4, etc.) which adds to the amount of administration you'd be required to do.
- Do you want to restrict users to only the lab that they are involved with? You can configure security at the database level if using separate databases for your labs, or configure security at the object level (i.e. if all of your labs are in one database and you'd like to restrict users to only a particular branch. Thus you could control this either way, but your preference may influence how\where you want to model your labs.
- How big is each lab? If none of the assets in your labs rely on the same templates and each lab is rather extensive, you may consider placing them in separate databases simply for easy of navigation, searching, etc. However, this is more of a user preference than essential consideration...until you element count is as high as some of those mentioned in the Hardware and PI System Sizing Recommendations Sheet (albeit if any of your labs exceed these sizes, you'd need to separate your labs into different servers entirely, not just AF databases).
Overall, there isn't a right or wrong answer to the question of when to use a new AF database or the same, however I'd say the re-usability of library objects (templates) is probably the most important factor.
Thank you very much for your answer. I guessed the question wouldn't be easy to answer as different factors influence the decision. Taken into account the implications you state in your answer, now I am more confident about the advantages/disadvantages of each alternative.