Scheduling mutiple, but identical, resources

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CNBarnes

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Outlook 2010 32 bit
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This is my first post here, so be gentle. If this question is in the wrong forum area, please move it (mods).

How does one go about creating a calendar/scheduling system for a resource with multiple, identical parts?

To explain, let me give an example. We have 10 laptops that people in our department can check out. We also have 5 mifi cards. Let's say a person wants to reserve 2 laptops and 1 mifi card for a week in November. They don't care WHICH laptops or mifi card they get.

I know how to create a calendar for a single resource. It has been suggested that I should just create 15 resource calendars (10 for laptops, 5 for the mifi cards). But I don't think that is really what I want to do. After all, it wouldn't doing that make trying to make a reservation unwieldy (trying to look at 15 calendars simultaneously)?

I should add that even though I've got 20+ years for IT admin experience, I am fairly new to Exchange. Which is to say, there may be a way to look at combined calendars that solves my above objection...
 

CNBarnes

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Outlook 2010 32 bit
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Exchange Server
I should add, we are using Exchange 2010 and Outlook 2010..
 

htd01

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Outlook version
Outlook 2010 32 bit
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Exchange Server
You can set the Resources to allow only a certain number of conflicts; i.e. 10 for a single laptops resource with 10 laptops, and you can set the percentage of conflict to 100. Then you can have 10 simultaneous checkouts, overlapping. Thus you are delivered. I had to do this myself for a plethora of resources. You only need to split them up if you intend to list all the info about them for dual use as a maintenance schedule, and we use a separate system for that because maintenance is handled by a separate company (they track the info on each item; we only track how many we have and who's responsible for them). I suggest you have them start by checking them out for the whole day, and tell them to put in a proper end time when they do return the item. If they are going to be using it a while, round up to the nearest week, and start with that, then have them edit it later. A great way to make this easy is to set up a scheduler ID, and give them full access to the calendar (just an equip box), then they can add their bookings there, it will tag to their ID for who the "Organizer" is, and they can use their agenda for more important things. That way they can all see who's got what. Other method, have them create a second calendar in their own list for booking items, and they can use the schedule helper to find what they need. I do not recommend letting them view the resources directly, but give them basic viewing; the smarter ones will add those to shared calendar groups, and the others will use the schedule helper. Let an ADMIN have full access to the listings (somebody who doesn't use the equipment so much as maintain the schedule), and you'll be able to have them grant priority for emergencies or extreme need when it arises.

Thought I'd throw in some extra logic for you. Good luck.
 
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