Salesforce has become the holy grail for many organizations for its myriad of features and mind-blowing capabilities, and when it comes to developers and administrators, its Salesforce sandbox feature offers a safe and controlled space for creating new applications, implementing complex workflows, or integrating external systems.
Since iterating chances in the live production environment can be risky, it’s essential that the changes are tested beforehand. And this is something Salesforce helps you with. Salesforce sandbox is a testing ground offered by Salesforce that allows you to innovate, experiment and validate changes before deploying them live.
In this article, we’ll explain the concept of the Salesforce sandbox and explore its various types and functionalities!
What Is Salesforce Sandbox?
Salesforce sandbox is a testing and development environment created by Salesforce. It’s a replica of the production Salesforce org where you can experiment, build, and test applications, configurations, and customizations, without affecting data and settings in the live production environment.
This way, developers can innovate and test their ideas without risking losing customer data and prevent bugs from reaching the production environment.
Benefits of Testing in Salesforce Sandbox
The benefits of using Salesforce Sandbox are manifold for different roles working on Salesforce development and customization, including:
- Low risk of corrupting valuable customer data or critical business operations.
- Sandboxes in Salesforce allow for a smooth user experience and minimal downtime by allowing you to identify and address bugs and compatibility issues beforehand.
- Sandboxes facilitate collaboration among developers, administrators, and stakeholders, allowing multiple team members to work simultaneously on different Sandbox instances. They can all merge their changes and perform integration testing while coordinating seamlessly.
- Supports version control and change management by allowing developers to track and manage the changes to their applications. The organized and structured development process makes it easy to revert to previous versions if necessary.
- Salesforce sandboxes can be used for training purposes and help new Salesforce developers get hands-on experience in a safe environment before jumping to the production environment.
- Sandbox in Salesforce simulates real-world usage, which allows you to evaluate your system’s performance and its response to various user interfaces. This way, you can identify any bottlenecks or areas that need optimization before rolling out changes to the production environment.
Types of Salesforce Sandboxes
Salesforce offers four different types of Sandboxes catering to different testing and development needs.
1. Developer Sandbox
This is the most basic type of Sandbox, ideal for small teams and individual developers. You can create this testing environment in Salesforce with a copy of your metadata from the production environment.
- Limited data and storage capacity of 200 MB
- It can be refreshed once per day
- Included with most Salesforce licenses
2. Developer Pro Sandbox
It provides higher storage capacity compared to the developer sandbox and is more suitable for larger teams and for extensive testing and development activities.
- 1 GB for both data and file storage
- It can be refreshed once per day
- Included with Unlimited and Performance editions of Salesforce
3. Partial Copy Sandbox
This sandbox includes a subset of the production org’s data, which means you can copy a portion of your data (not just the metadata) from the production to the testing environment. It’s very useful in testing specific data scenarios and or new functionalities. It’s more accurate and reliable than the developer sandboxes as you work on representative data sets.
- It can be refreshed every 5 days
- Included with Enterprise, Unlimited, and Performance Salesforce editions (can also be purchased separately)
- Allows data storage of up to 5 GB
4. Full Sandbox
This is an exact replica of the Salesforce production org, including all data, configurations, and customizations. This allows for comprehensive testing and development, be it performance testing, load testing, or complete end-to-end testing. It copies all of your production data and metadata.
- Only included with the Unlimited and Performance Salesforce editions (can also be purchased separately)
- Mirrors the storage limit to the production org
- 29-day refresh interval
How to Select the Right Sandbox Type
Consider the following factors while selecting the Sandbox type for your organization.
- The size of your development team
Ensure that you have the right storage capacity to accommodate the collaborative efforts of your team. While the developer sandbox is sufficient for smaller teams, the remaining types can easily be used by large teams with high data storage requirements.
- Data requirements
Assess the importance of having representative data for your testing requirements. If your testing requires realistic data scenarios or complete data replication, the full sandbox is the best option.
- Testing scope
Select an appropriate sandbox for your organization, depending on how intensive your testing goes—performance or end-to-end testing.
- Compliance and security
Consider the compliance and security requirements that are specific to your organization and ensure that your sandbox aligns with essential policies.
Considerations of Testing in a New Sandbox Environment
Before you start testing your application in a new sandbox environment, make sure you meet the following criteria:
- Pay special attention to all the sensitive customer data in your Salesforce org, including bank information and account details.
- Make sure all the data is updated and synched on the sandbox from the org.
- While refreshing the sandbox, always take a backup of the current production environment to avoid any data loss.
- Test the sandbox email deliverability by setting the delivery to “all mail.”
- Whenever your application licensing is due, perform some additional testing to make sure everything runs smoothly.
- Make sure there are no scheduled jobs running during your testing before moving to the next step.
- Disable “test endpoint” to ensure all the payment gateway records are sent to “test payment gateways.”
How to Create or Edit Sandbox Templates
- Navigate to the “setup” menu and locate “sandboxes” in the Quick Find box.
- Select “New Sandbox Template” or click “Edit,”- depending on what you’re looking for.
- Enter the name and description of the sandbox template.
- Select the checkbox of the objects you want to add to the sandbox from the available object list.
- Click “save.”
How to Refresh a Sandbox
Refreshing helps you sync a sandbox with the production org data when it’s outdated. It provides an updated snapshot of the live system and wipes all the data and metadata from the sandbox as it copies the latest configurations.
- Go to Salesforce Setup
- Use “Quick Find” to search for your sandbox
- Next to the sandbox’s name, you’ll find a refresh button—click on it, and you’ll be notified when it’s ready
Note: You can only refresh a sandbox if it’s available for a refresh
Sandbox in Salesforce: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What is the difference between Salesforce dev org and sandbox?
The developer edition orgs are used for developing new products and features, whereas sandboxes are for testing those products and training new Salesforce users.
- Can we delete a sandbox in Salesforce?
Yes, you can delete a sandbox in Salesforce only if its refresh interval has passed. If you don’t see the delete option, wait for some days to let the fresh window pass.
- How many sandboxes can you create?
You can create up to 10 developer sandboxes and 1 full sandbox after purchasing a full sandbox.
- Can you raise a Salesforce ticket from a Sandbox?
No, you cannot raise any ticket from a non-production environment.
- What happens when you refresh a sandbox on Salesforce?
Refreshing a sandbox on Salesforce updates the sandbox’s metadata from its source org.
- What happens to users after the sandbox refresh?
A refresh deletes and recreates the sandbox. It reverses any access changes you made, and all the users’ profiles and permissions revert when that happens.
- How can I monitor my sandbox’s progress?
A. Go to setup and enter sandbox in the “quick find” section.
B. You’ll see a progress bar for the items in the queue, in progress, or recently completed. Hover over a sandbox in progress to see the percentage of completion.
C. To see more information about the sandbox, including the copy progress or the time until the next refresh, click the name.
D. If you don’t see any progress in the copying process and your sandbox is stopped for more than an hour, contact Salesforce support
Minimize Risks and Accelerate Development with Sandbox
Salesforce sandbox provides a safe space for developers and administrators to experiment with new features and validate changes before deploying a code.
This way, they can mitigate risks associated with deploying untested applications and identify issues that can impact the end-users or critical business operations.
Harness the power of sandbox and streamline your development process to deliver optimum Salesforce solutions to your customers.