Sunday, July 31, 2016

What A Load Of Business Data

Auntie Pat Tern thinks Superman's x-ray vision is stupid because "how would he ever know where he's supposed to look and where he should not bother focusing?" That got me wondering about the data and tests in my Salesforce org.  Even clicks-not-code developers should have automated tests that validate configuration changes with existing and expected data. So what's the best way to know which data those automated tests should use?

Some Salesforce developers like to write automated tests with "SeeAllData=True", an outdated and bad practice. A test that can see all data is not the same as a test that is smart enough to see the data that needs testing. For example, a good test will test positive scenarios, negative scenarios and extremes. In other words:
  • What if the data is exactly what we planned for -- records with all the right data in all the right places?
  • What if the data falls outside of expected norms -- records with missing fields or invalid data, for example?
  • What if the data is coming in from a data import operation or an integration and many records need to be processed?
Admins can follow a few simple steps to create automated tests to run against their configuration changes, and their efforts can be used by developers for better unit tests as well. Simply create sample data representative of the expected inputs. Then use code like the following to load that data in a unit test:

Note that you will want to use data that corresponds to the configuration changes that you are testing. In this example, configuration changes and business process automation around Account, Contact and Opportunity record creation will be tested. You can create a similar test class for other related objects, including custom objects.

This code can be run as a unit test by itself to validate configuration changes, or it can be called by other test code to set up data for more complex unit testing related to other code in the org.

Next week, I will look into some of the errors that might occur when you create CSV files of sample data and how to avoid those errors.

But for now, Auntie Pat Tern has a point, who wants Superman looking at just any old thing with his x-ray vision when he ought to be focusing on information that's most helpful.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Enough Is As Good As A Feast

Auntie Pat Tern loves Sir Thomas Mallory and Mary Poppins, and quotes both when she reminds us "enough is as good as a feast", especially when Tim Toady's eyes are bigger than his stomach at the buffet. So I thought I would look at Salesforce storage limits to see if we have a feast in our Enterprise Edition org (which is the entry-level org for many businesses and the basis for the nonprofit license grant, even those with the nonprofit starter pack pre-installed).

Salesforce currently allocates 20MB of data storage per user in every EE org. But wait, there's more. Every org starts with a minimum of 1GB of data storage. So whether you are a nonprofit with a grant of 10 free licenses or a small business with 50 licenses, you have a minimum of 1GB for data.

More than enough is too much.
But how many records is that? Salesforce allocates 2KB for most records. Articles require 4KB, Campaigns require a whopping 8KB (4 times the size of most other records). That means a basic Salesforce org (Enterprise Edition or better) will have data storage capacity for about 500,000 records (excluding Campaigns and Articles). If you have 100,000 Accounts and 400,000 Contacts for 1-50 users, you are going to need more storage.

If you are using Person Accounts, or if you create a unique Account for each Contact, 250,000 individuals would result in 500,000 records since each individual would require both an Account and Contact record.

Custom objects behave the same as typical standard objects taking 2KB per record, regardless of the number or type of fields associated with those records. Even if you use a lot of rich text fields with large image files, a custom object record still requires only 2KB of data storage. The trick with rich text fields is that they actually are stored as files and so impact file storage rather than data storage.

Consider your storage needs carefully when you create sandboxes. Partial Copy sandboxes currently provide 5GB of data storage, that's more than you have in your production org if you have 50 or fewer users! But they don't offer much in terms of file storage. You may need a Full Copy sandbox for the convenience of copying all of your data at once and accommodating larger amounts of file storage and files from rich text fields.

But for standard data needs, use these basic formulas to calculate your data needs in GB:

( # of records X 2KB ) X 1/1024 X 1/1024
( # of Campaigns X 8KB ) X 1/1024 X 1/1024
( # of Articles X 4KB ) X 1/1024 X 1/1024

In the first formula, we multiply the number of records you have times 2KB, the data storage typically needed for records to get the required number of kilobytes of storage. Then we multiply by 1/1024 to convert from kilobytes to megabytes and again to convert from megabytes to gigabytes.

In the second formula, we multiple the number of Campaign records times 8KB because they consume a lot of storage compared to typical standard and custom objects. Then we do the same calculations to convert from KB to GB as described above.

The third formula is for calculating the storage needs of Articles since their records require 4KB rather than the standard 2KB. Otherwise it works like the first two, with the result expressed in gigabytes.

Keep in mind that Person Accounts and 1x1 Contact to Account data models will create a Contact and an Account record, so every individual is represented by two records rather than just one.

Salesforce offers options for purchasing additional storage space. You can also upgrade to Performance, Unlimited or similar Editions that offer six times as much data storage per user compared to Enterprise Edition (orgs with fewer than 10 licenses may not see the benefits of the additional storage).

But, as Auntie Pat Tern would say, it is good to be grateful for what you have and know when you've got enough for your share. Salesforce makes it easy to calculate your needs.