Hello Eric Smith,
You can use a single database for multiple sites. Each data provider has a property applicationName. By this name the data is separated or shared between sites. By default this name is “/”. So if you have two sites connected to the same database and both sites are set so their CMS data providers are with identical application names, both sites will act as one. That is, pages added to one of the sites will appear on the other as well. On the other hand, if you set them with different names, they will act as if they were connected to different databases.
In other words, if you set all sites to use a single database with the same application name, your editors will have to dig through to find their information. Setting the sites with different application names will solve the problem with the editors but when mirrored to the production server, the sites will continue to act as separate ones. Actually, on the production server only the entries for the default provider will be visible. To overcome this problem, you have two choices:
1. Use a single database and different application names. When the new records are copied to the production database, make all application names the same (this could be done using a stored procedure). To achieve this, follow the steps below:
1.1. Create all projects that are going to be merged at the end.
1.2. Specify the connection strings so that all projects are connected to the same database.
1.3. Set an appropriate applicationName for each project (e.g. department site) in the web.config like this:
<cms defaultProvider="Sitefinity" pageExtension=".aspx">
type="Telerik.Cms.Data.DefaultProvider, Telerik.Cms.Data" connectionStringName="DefaultConnection" />
You need to do the same for <cmsEngine> section (Generic Content providers) if you are going to use shared content or other modules deriving from Generic Content (News, Blogs).
2. Use separate databases for each site on the development side. Set all sites to use the same application name or leave the default settings. Merge all databases on the production server.
You can also find this information anytime in the Sitefinity User Manual, section "Working with multiple Web Sites".
Do let us know if you have any other inquiries.
the Telerik team