Not sure if this question is crazy or not, but I figured I need to ask the pro's.
When looking at Windchill 10.1 Products, is it best to create products for each of our product lines vs. creating one Product as a container for all products and mange the various products with folders inside that container?
Not sure what problems that would cause with context sharing, etc.
"Too many people walk around like Clark Kent, because they don't realize they can Fly like Superman"
Generally, you would never want to use a single monolithic product with folders acting as "sub-products". A version of this was attempted by one of my customers and it led to an administrative and access control management nightmare. Look at Products (and Libraries) this way.
A Product is an administrative context. It is designed to manage several items in a discrete manner, particularly: Information (Data), People (Teams) and Business Rules (Processes and Access Control). The key to understanding this is to consider that a Product should exist at the INTERSECTION of COMMON Information, Common People and Common Business Rules. In any individual case, this could be around a single product, a product line, or even a product sub-system, among other possibilities. And, in a single company, there could be each of these used to determine a Product - again, it is at the intersection of commonality.
Why is a Folder not the same? The short answer is; a Folder is not designed to provide the same level of commonality management acrosst the three areas. In particular, it does not allow for common People management without a great deal of complex administrative burden. In addition, for Business Rules, while it does allow the Access Control management, it doesn't really allow for the Process managment. As I mentioned at the beginning, I have seen a large customer attempt this, and while it is almost possible, it simply isn't practical, and workable over the long run.