Salesforce Sandbox Seeding – Comprehensive Guide

In this article, we discuss Salesforce Sandbox Seeding in detail. Learn what salesforce sandbox seeding is, its advantages and disadvantages, as well as what sandbox and its types are. Finally, learn how you can improve Sandbox Seeding.

What is the Salesforce Sandbox?

This section provides a short overview of Salesforce Sandbox and its types. We also explain what Sandbox templates and the refresh operation are.

Sandbox is a duplicate of your Salesforce organization. It exists in a separate environment thus any actions you do in it won’t affect your organization. Sandboxes are created for various purposes, mainly testing or training.

What are the Salesforce Sandbox refresh and template?

Sandbox template is one of the steps in Sandbox creation. It is only available in Partial Copy and Full Sandboxes. This step enables Administrators to choose the types of objects and files that will be copied to the Sandbox from the production environment.

Sandbox refresh is the function that basically updates a particular Sandbox to the current configuration of your production environment. Keep in mind that using this functionality will delete all the data from your Sandbox that is not up-to-date. So unless you backed up your Sandbox, your data will be lost forever.

Types of Sandbox

There are 4 types of Sandboxes in Salesforce. However, not all of them are available in all editions. Please see the screenshot below:

sandbox seeding: sandbox types

Let’s take a look at each of the types

Developer Sandbox

Basic characteristics:

  • Available in Professional (10), Enterprise (25), Unlimited (100), and Performance (100) editions
  • Pricing: free
  • Data storage: 200 MB
  • File storage: 200 MB
  • Data copied: only metadata
  • Templates: n/a
  • Refresh interval: 1 day

This is a basic Sandbox available in all editions. Developer Sandbox enables you to copy only your production metadata, however, it has limitations in size of the data you can copy. It is used mostly for development and testing.

Developer Pro Sandbox

Basic characteristics:

  • Available in Unlimited (5), Performance (5) editions
  • Available for Purchase: Professional and Enterprise editions
  • Pricing: 5% of net spend
  • Data storage: 1 GB
  • File storage: 1 GB
  • Data copied: only metadata
  • Templates: n/a
  • Refresh interval: 1 day

Available only in 2 editions, Developer Pro Sandbox is similar to the previous type, however, it provides more storage capacities. Apart from developing and QA, it is also applied for integration testing and training new users.

Partial Copy Sandbox

Basic characteristics:

  • Available in Enterprise (1), Unlimited (1), and Performance (1) editions
  • Pricing: 20% of net spend*
  • Data storage: 5 GB
  • File storage: a full copy of your production
  • Data copied: metadata + sample data
  • Templates: required
  • Refresh interval: 5 days

This type of sandbox offers more opportunities for development and sales teams. It enables Admins to copy some of the records from the production. It is used similarly to other types of sandboxes, and in addition to that provides the environment for integration testing.

Full Sandbox

Basic characteristics:

  • Available in Unlimited (1), Performance (1) editions
  • Available for Purchase: Enterprise Edition
  • Pricing: 30% of net spend*
  • Data & file storage: a full copy of your production
  • Data copied: metadata + all data
  • Templates: available
  • Refresh interval: 29 days

A Full Sandbox is a complete copy of your production data (records, attachments) and metadata. They are used for staging as well as load and performance testing. Since it is a large environment, experts recommend against using it for development purposes.

Net spend refers to the amount of money you invest in other applicable technically compatible Salesforce products.

What is Sandbox Seeding

In general, data seeding in Salesforce is the process of moving records into a Salesforce org. It can be done from one org from another or from a CSV file.

Sandbox Seeding is the process of transferring your records into your testing environment.

Keep in mind that only two types of Sandboxes copy your records in the process of creation. In the case of the other two types, you’ll have to do it manually.

Benefits of Seeding

Seeding can have multiple benefits, such as:

Boosting development

Sandbox seeding enables your developers and administrators to work with sandboxes that better reflect your production environment (as they have records). It improves the quality of your development.

Decreasing bugs

Since your testing environments look more like your production environment, your QA is able to find more mistakes in a shorter period of time.

Improving user testing

Training in an environment that maximally resembles your production organization provides better results.

Availability

Businesses that have only Professional Edition have no opportunity to acquire sandboxes that enable record copying. Sandbox seeding can be a great solution for them in terms of creating development and testing environments that are similar to production.

Budget saving

As we mentioned before the Sandboxes with record copies (Full and Partial Copy) cost from 20% to 30% of your net spend. It can be quite expensive to purchase more sandboxes of this type. Seeding on the other hand can make your Developer Sandbox look more like a Partial Copy.

Minor fixes improvement

Sometimes, prompt minor fixes of bugs are necessary. Doing them in production is risky. That’s when sandboxes come in handy. Once again, seeding boosts the process.

Seeding Issues You Might Face

Data privacy issues

Data seeding into a Sandbox environment can create situations when sensitive data is visible to unauthorized people. That might violate data privacy regulations.

Data security issues

Similarly, access to sensitive data by unauthorized employees can provide an opportunity for a data leak.

Correct data representation

When transferring data from your production environment into a sandbox, you might find it difficult to pick the most up-to-date data. As a result, you will either spend much time trying to get the necessary data to your sandbox, or risk ending up with records that do not represent the current state of the art of your production.

Data conflict

More often than not, the inconsistencies between the data of your sandbox and your production will hinder the development process. 

Improving your Sandbox Seeding

There are several ways to improve your Sandbox Seeding. We recommend doing several things:

  1. Back up your data and metadata.
  2. Use quick data restoration from backup.
  3. Use Compare functionality to understand the difference between your sandbox and production environment prior to any actions.

Various Salesforce and third-party tools enable you to back up, restore, and compare your production and Sandbox data and metadata. In most cases, these functions are scattered across multiple solutions. 

We offer you to use SpinOne. It is a single pane of glass for backup, comparing, and restoring functionality. Moreover, it works with both data (like objects and files) and metadata. Finally, it enables you to carry out backups, restoring, and comparisons for not only production orgs but also for Sandboxes.

Back up your Salesforce Sandbox data.

Use SpinOne
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