Most admins and developers that use Salesforce Sandboxes for software development often ignore the importance of refreshes. If you closely examine Salesforce Sandboxes, you will find they have strict limits when it comes to refreshes, and this is the main reason why they are undervalued and neglected to a large extent. This implies that updating the current sandbox is the last thing on the mind of the admin or the developer, and this often compromises the quality of the development process that is going on in the organization.
Why should you do Sandbox refreshes?
These refreshes are conducted to mirror the production org in the best possible manner. When the sandbox is refreshed, data is extracted from the production org to make the Salesforce Sandbox as accurate to the production org with the limited data is contains depending upon the time. For instance, when you refresh the Partial Data sandbox, it will not mirror the production org as it has a limited number of records to hold.
When you work on a development process against codes and configuration that is accurate, you get the opportunity to be confident as the changes that you make will not break the production metadata you have on record. A lot of salesforce is associated with this data, and testing it against its accuracy is a smart idea.
However, do note that these sandbox refreshes also reduce changes to the metadata. This is a salient point for you to consider as you want the Sandbox data to match your production org, as well as its metadata. This is an area where most Salesforce teams are not acquainted with, and this brings them out of practice. You as a developer or an admin desire to ensure that your metadata mirrors production as this helps to merge the changes to the configuration and the code simpler and less problematic.
For instance, if you take two Salesforce Sandboxes and your organization needs a feature request with an update and a fresh custom field and compare them to find that the first sandbox that has been refreshed of late is the same like the production org whereas the second sandbox has not been refreshed and is being worked on by many admins and developers for a long time. This will create issues in the merger of the data, and this is why you must ensure that you refresh the sandbox for keeping the data in the environment for developing the same at production. You should also know the Salesforce Sandbox refresh interval for each of the different kinds so that you can include them in the project plans. The time for refreshes is not the same for every type of sandbox, and there are limits imposed by salesforce on the frequency of refreshes that you are permitted to conduct.
Sandbox refreshes will make the migration process smooth as well
When you wish to migrate changes in the first sandbox to the production org, you will find that it will take place smoothly. However, the second sandbox that has not been refreshed will face issues. The difference between the orgs is the changes that you want to deploy, and moreover, there are no fears of the data being overwritten in the production environment. You will also ensure that it is free from other problems and software bugs.
Most software development teams are focusing on the process of continuous integration for salesforce. This is why you should ensure that refreshes are conducted frequently so that small changes are in sync with the production environment. There is also freedom from issues and bugs. When you incorporate many changes in the environment and do not refresh the sandbox in time, your production org can even run into serious trouble if you are not careful.
How often should you refresh the sandbox?
When it comes to the question of how often should you refresh your sandbox, it should be as much as possible within the limits of the salesforce. However, most software developers and admins fail to do this.
As mentioned above, the duration for the refresh of a sandbox is not the same, and it differs as per the contents in the sandbox that you refresh. There are some cases where the refresh of a sandbox takes very long and if you do not plan carefully, it can affect the timeline of the project adversely. Specialists of Salesforce say there are some sandboxes that can take even more than a month to refresh. When you activate the refresh, the sandbox is sent to a queue where it has to wait for the sandboxes ahead of it to refresh. Again, their duration depends upon what contents they have inside them. The factors that qualify this queue waiting time have not been specifically defined, so you need to wait for the previous ones to finish before the current sandbox starts. The status message for a sandbox that is in the queue is “pending,” and when the refresh begins, the “pending” status changes to “processing.” If you have small sandboxes, the time for the refresh will be short; however, if you have a customized sandbox with objects, configurations, Visualforce pages, and lots of metadata, you need to wait.
Experts say that you should never undervalue the importance of refreshing your Salesforce sandbox if you want to deploy a high-quality software development process in the organization. They suggest that you avoid refreshing your sandboxes during peak hours as the duration will take longer. Many admins and developers state they actually forget to refresh their sandboxes as they fail to remember doing them. This is why experts in salesforce say that you should set reminders on your Calendar so that you do not miss these sandbox refreshes at all. If you really want to keep the production environment in tune with the production, metadata ensures that you never miss this step. You will enhance the quality of the software development process and save a lot of time in fixing errors and mistakes too!