Sandboxes offer a range of advantages to the Salesforce development process. Using them reduces the risk of downtime in the production environment and increases the productivity and efficiency of admins and developers by identifying issues early on in the development process when it is easier and less expensive to fix. In this blog, we will explore the concept of Salesforce Sandbox and its various types. Additionally, we will discuss when to use each type of sandbox during different phases of the software development lifecycle and provide a strategy for managing sandboxes.
What exactly is a Salesforce Sandbox?
Salesforce Sandbox is a testing environment that allows users to test and develop new features and customizations in a separate instance of their Salesforce production environment. It allows users to make changes and test them without affecting their live data and to verify that customizations and new features are functioning properly before deploying them in production.
What are the four different types of sandbox?
There are four types of Salesforce Sandboxes, each with its own characteristics and purposes.
Developer Sandbox: This is the most basic and smallest type of sandbox, which is meant for development and testing in an isolated environment. The developer sandbox has a one-day refresh limit and can hold a maximum of 200MB.
Developer Pro Sandbox: This type of Sandbox is better suited to handling more extensive data sets than the regular Developer Sandbox. It is ideal for development, quality assurance, integration testing and user training tasks. Developer pro sandbox also has a one-day refresh limit and can hold a maximum of 1GB.
Partial Copy Sandbox: A Partial Copy Sandbox is mainly intended for testing purposes and carries a subset of records from the production environment, and it’s best used for user acceptance testing, integration testing and quality assurance. The Partial copy sandbox comes with 5GB of storage for files and data, and the refresh period is five days.
Full sandbox: It is a complete replica of your production organization, including all data and metadata. This type of sandbox is the largest and includes all object records, attachments, and other data. It is primarily used for performance testing, load testing, and staging but is not recommended for development tasks. It is generally used for full-scale testing and quality assurance. When using a Full Sandbox, it is essential to use a sandbox template to ensure that it only includes the necessary records for testing and other tasks. The full sandbox refresh limit is 29 days and has the same data and file storage as the production environment.
What type of sandbox is suitable for each phase of software development?
Different types of sandboxes are used for specific purposes and connecting them forms the process of moving a software project from development to production, known as the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC). There isn’t a universal SDLC as it varies based on the size of the team and the number of ongoing projects. However, using each sandbox for its intended purpose can improve efficiency and reduce the time it takes to develop a project. Below is a picture that explains which types of sandboxes should be used for each software development phase.
Best practices of sandbox management strategy
Managing Salesforce sandboxes effectively involves implementing strategies and tools to make the most of the separate development environments and optimize their usage. Below are some tips on how to manage sandboxes efficiently.
- Create documentation for the sandbox refresh process for multiple support personnel to use, including the details of the environment, sandbox names and uses, and a list of steps that need to be taken after a refresh is completed, such as enabling users in different environments or migrating test data.
- Identify the need for obscuring sensitive data and develop procedures to modify it, such as manually altering contact email addresses in the sandbox copy to prevent real contacts from receiving emails during testing, or modifying other sensitive information such as social security numbers or account numbers either manually or through a tool like data loader.
- At the beginning of a project, establish a plan for the project’s environments, including the different environments that will be needed (such as Development, User Acceptance Testing, Training, etc.), and schedule regular updates and refreshes. Identify which environments will require manual data migration, and factor in time for creating sample data sets and loading events, such as using Developer Pro sandboxes for unit testing or training. Additionally, include time in the plan for deploying configurations between environments.
- Identify users who will only be required in sandbox environments such as developers, create these users in the production instance, deactivate them in production, and then activate them in the appropriate sandbox after the copy is made. Additionally, consider users who may need different permissions in a sandbox, and plan to adjust their profiles after the sandbox copy is created.
- It is important to regularly review and adjust the user permissions for your sandboxes to ensure that only authorized team members have access to the necessary information.
Sandboxes provide a safe and secure environment for various development activities such as training, testing, and experimentation, which helps to ensure the stability of the organization by minimizing the risk of code implementation.
Get in touch with a CloudFulcrum specialist, so we can help you build a solid salesforce sandbox strategy.