How to Achieve Limitless Sandbox Seeding

Demetrius Malbrough
Director of Technical Evangelism
February 1, 2022

As data expands and gains more visibility with CIOs, developers need more intelligent tools to innovate faster and streamline development cycles. An essential component in the development lifecycle for Salesforce developers is seeding data into sandboxes. These are copies of production environments with the same platform settings (custom fields, code, and automation). 

Since full sandboxes are a replica of the production org, they are ideal environments for performance testing, load testing, and staging. However, seeding precise, timely, and complete production datasets into Salesforce sandboxes can be a demanding task without the proper tools to keep data fresh.

Below, we review the basics of refreshing sandboxes and how OwnBackup gives you an alternative to keep your sandboxes updated with production data.

Why fresh data is so important

Let's say your CFO and CIO both agreed on the 30% net spend of a complete replica of your Salesforce production org through a full copy sandbox. You have the green light to choose your data sets and start seeding your full sandbox environment. But to make the most of your recent investment, you need to work with the most up-to-date data sets. To do this, you must leverage your entire production org and all its data for major release development, user acceptance testing, and training. 

As a developer, having access to all of your customer data and metadata within your sandbox environment is key to decreasing deployment times and better quality code. In addition, having a tool to pinpoint specific data sets and keep that data updated any time you'd like will accelerate your continuous innovation journey.

Sandbox updates should be used for development environments so that full sandboxes, development, or partial copies of sandboxes can best reflect production data. When you perform a sandbox update, the data in your sandbox is pulled from the production environment to make the sandbox as accurate as the type allows. Metadata status updates are just as important as production data updates as this keeps the company's development environment up to date with production data.

Salesforce sandbox refresh challenges

Ideally, to keep your data fresh, you should update your sandboxes as often as possible. However, Salesforce sets limits on how often sandboxes can be updated. Different sandbox types have different update intervals, which means they cannot be replaced for a set number of days. Your choice of sandbox determines the maximum number of replicas you can run per month, as well as how long the sandbox and its data remain if you don't use it for a significant period.

Full sandboxes have a refresh interval of 29 days and reflect the production organization's storage limits for storing data and files. The larger the org, the longer it will take Salesforce to create or refresh the sandbox. Once you submit a sandbox for Create/Refresh, it goes into a queue. Depending on how long the queue is based on daily Salesforce activity, it could take a couple of days to a week to refresh the sandbox. The sandbox size and the update interval frequency may prevent you from continuously updating your environment with production data. 

This is where a solution like OwnBackup Sandbox Seeding steps in to help you go beyond the refresh limits with ease.

Update full sandboxes frequently with OwnBackup

With OwnBackup Sandbox Seeding, you can keep new data updated in your full sandbox without waiting for the Salesforce full refresh interval. More importantly, data integrity remains intact, with parent/child relationships maintained. Seeding with fresh data will reduce the time it takes to fix bugs at every stage of the development process in every organization. Thus, tools that help you create sandbox data faster are a solid investment. 

In addition to helping ensure you're testing your code with the most realistic data possible, OwnBackup Sandbox Seeding also:

  • Equips you with reusable templates that make it easy to recreate environments that will help you test efficiently
  • Anonymizes data to keep customer information private, which is important when you have an extended development team
  • Eliminates the hassle of manually disabling pre-configured Salesforce validation rules, Apex triggers, or other automation running while seeding your destination orgs

If you’re still not sure if an automated seeding solution can help accelerate your development cycles, ask yourself a few key questions to help with your decision process. Keeping your data updated and removing refresh restrictions empowers you to develop faster, and using the right tool like OwnBackup Sandbox Seeding removes any boundaries between you and your continuous integration efforts.

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