This is not a new discussion, there are lot of links talking about differences between Document Center and Record Center.
Let me summarize what you may get going through most of the sites:
Document Center: This is meant for Document Collaboration and mostly for Live Documents. Basically is like your File Server , except that you have searching and indexing capabilities.
E.g., If a team is working on a project, and there will be lot of documents which all team members will be Creating / Reading / Updating / Organizing. DC suites this purpose.
Record Center: This is meant for Document Retention and mostly for Read-Only documents.
E.g., Once the project is completed all the documents will be saved and secured for further references. These documents are not meant to be modified. RC suites for this purpose.
Large scale / Real time scenario
Let's assume a "Corporate Document Management System" receiving loads of documents from Users / Other systems regarding all the projects that are In-progress / Completed status.
Assuming the life of project as 5 years or less, team will be Creating / Uploading / Updating lot of documents in this span, which are considered as Live documents. All these documents will be residing in Document Center(DC) which is better designed for Check-in / Check-out, Versioning, Content Organinzing, Indexing, and Searching features.
Now after completion of 5 years, those documents will not be edited anymore, but they are very important for recording whole project history. Now all these documents will be retained in Records Center(RC) which is best designed for Legal Compliance, Auditing, Labeling, Saving and Protecting (Read-Only mode) features.
Until now I have explained what all typical sites will say.
I am not dis-agreeing with this fact.
But if you open the sites created from both the templates(DC and RC), and perform below operations.
Go to "Site Collection Features" and activate "In-Place Record Management" feature and "Document ID Service" feature.
#Go to "Site Features" and activate "Content Organizing" feature and "Email Integration" feature.
# Go to "Site Settings" and click on "Record Declaration Settings" and choose the blow option as shown and Save settings.
# Create a Sample Document Library and go to its "Library Settings". Click on "Records Declaration Settings" and change them as shown and save the settings.
# In same "Library Settings" go to "Information Management Policies" and click on Documents Link. You can define Retention Policies on both Non-Records and Records separately. You can even enable Auditing on the records management.
# Now Upload 4 sample Test files to your sample document library.
From above image, you can perform all below operations:
- Check-Out / Update / Check-in document and metadata.
- Make the record and document Read-Only by declaring it as a record. (Declare Record button)
- You can have Audit Information about records/documents.
- You can enable Document ID services thus making it easy to refer a document.
- You can use Content Organizing rules and Document routing thus taking care of short term organizing.
- You can enable retention policies thus organizing content after any number of years for long term reference.
You can Perform all operations exactly the same in both Document Center and Record Center
Now you cannot justify the purpose if you cannot differentiate.
As I said, I completely agree with their purpose mentioned on top, so lets differentiate.
Now most of the figures says "Records Center has better Performance".
Now the question is:
Why do we need Document Center?
Reason: Document Parsing / Document Property Promotion and Demotion
The whole reason for Record center's performance is Document Parsing is disabled in Records center. Before going in to much details, lets see what is "Document Parsing / Document Property Promotion and Demotion" means to us.
When ever you refer SPFile.<All Properties> in API, Document parsing or Promoting /Demoting is the thing that make sure that metadata information is populated / saved. Thus gives the developers a chance to code. Thus making it ideal store for WFE communication.
Secondly, As per best practices, a Live Document Center's database size shouldn't exceed 200 GB. So just imagine How much content will be residing in Record center after 10 or 15 years. With all the extraordinary performance of Record Center, it will work as equivalent to Document Center even with Huge amount of data compared to a Document center.
Hope I clarified my view. Happy Learning.