- Suite Enterprise includes one standard sandbox and one partial premium sandbox instance.
- Suite Enterprise Plus includes one standard sandbox and one full production premium sandbox instance.
- Support Enterprise comes with a standard sandbox.
With these plans, you can also contact your sales representative or Zendesk Customer Support to purchase additional premium sandbox instances as an add-on.
Premium Sandbox provides a test environment that mirrors your production instance of Zendesk Support or the help desk functionality in Zendesk Suite in configuration and, potentially, data. This allows you to accurately test updates to workflows, experiment with integrations, and provide training for new agents in an environment that closely mirrors the production environment.
This article contains the following topics:
Premium Sandbox setup choices
Premium sandboxes allow you to copy the configuration and tickets from your production environment.
Before creating a new sandbox, you must configure a default group for your account.
When creating a premium sandbox, you’ll be able to create set-up options according to your plan. For example, Suite Enterprise customers will be able to create a partial premium sandbox, and Suite Enterprise Plus customers will be able to create a full production sandbox. The content copied for all levels includes the following:
- Dynamic content
- Ticket fields
- Ticket forms
- User fields
- Organization field
- Custom roles
- Shared views
- Shared macros
- Trigger categories
- Agent level users
- Group memberships
When you create a metadata premium sandbox, no non-closed tickets or associated end users will be copied.
When you create a partial premium sandbox, up to 10,000 non-closed tickets and associated end users will be copied.
When you create a full production premium sandbox, up to 100,000 non-closed tickets and the related end users will be copied.
Regardless of the status of the Agent Workspace in your production environment, it is disabled by default on new sandboxes. If you want use the Agent Workspace in your sandbox, you must activate it manually.
Sell isn't supported in sandbox environments.
For more information about creating and managing premium sandboxes, see Managing Premium Sandboxes.
Replication occurs automatically when you create a sandbox through Admin Center. The replication retrieves data from the production instance and creates the configuration and content in the sandbox, creating a new subdomain. The process will not affect the performance of your production instance. Data is only retrieved from the production instance, so nothing will be added, updated, or deleted there. The configuration of your sandbox instance will change rapidly while the replication is occurring, so it's best to avoid using it during the process.
The time to complete a replication varies depending on the amount of content involved. A simple metadata copy with a small amount of fields and business rules can take less time, ranging from a few minutes to a few days. A full copy with 100,000 tickets and the related users and organizations can take a week or more to complete. When the replication is complete, the status of the sandbox changes to Active.
To complete the replication, Zendesk creates an internal copy of the data to be migrated. Once this migration is complete, this copy is deleted. A deleted Premium Sandbox is not recoverable.
Your choice of sandbox determines the maximum number of replications you can perform per month, as well as how long your sandbox and its data are persisted in the event you do not use your sandbox for a significant period of time. When you do not use your sandbox, the sandbox, and its data are deleted after a 30-day or a 90-day period of disuse.
This table describes the maximum number of replications you can perform per month for a sandbox, and how long sandboxes are retained:
|Premium - metadata copy||Premium - partial copy||Premium - production copy|
|Maximum number of replications per month||5||10||15|
|Sandbox data retention||30 days||90 days||90 days|
Limitations on replicated data
The replication will be as close of an exact copy of the production instance as possible. However, there are several situations where the copy cannot be exact:
- Sandbox test environments apply to Zendesk Support functionality in Zendesk Suite only and do not include, for example, Talk or Guide.
- Brands are replicated, but since brand names need to be unique across all Zendesk instances, they cannot be an exact match. The brand names will be modified to contain a unique string.
- User emails will be invalidated before being added to the sandbox instance by the use of the @example.com domain. This is to prevent emails from being inadvertently sent to your users. This includes both agents and end-users. An administrator can reverse the invalid emails for testing by editing the users' email addresses.
- APIs are enabled, but API tokens must be recreated.
- Apps and EAP functionality are disabled within the sandbox.
- Open tickets are migrated, but archived closed tickets, linked incident tickets, and ticket sharing agreements are not.
- Targets requiring a password will be replicated, but they will have invalid credentials and be in a disabled state.
- Any objects that are broken in production will not be replicated. For example, a trigger with a condition that refers to an organization that no longer exists will not be replicated to the sandbox.
- External email addresses are not copied to the sandbox.
- Changes made within a premium sandbox are not copied automatically into the production account and must be manually reproduced within the production account.
- Only the items identified in this article are replicated.
- Legacy agents can't be replicated. If you want them to be replicated, you must assign new roles to them.
- Views, triggers, and automations may appear in a different order in the sandbox.
- Inactive configurations are replicated, but business rules (for example, triggers and automations) that have conditions or actions which reference an inactive ticket field are not replicated.
Having just used this for the first time, there are a number of things that I think are important to know -
1. Before you use this you must delete any existing sandbox. This is a huge leap of faith for those of us with very customized instances. Luckily for me, I have multiple instances and was able to work with a newer one with less overhead than our main instance. If I had used this with that one I would have been extremely unhappy.
2. Although a number of items were created, they were not usable as is and required significant review to get correct: Not all views were created, triggers were not in the correct order, customer lists were not created, etc.
3. Custom ticket fields do not have the same field numbers and any reference to those fields will be incorrect. So references within emails to to a custom field must be reviewed and revised; also triggers, automations, and anything else.
4. All agent login emails are changed. That's not a problem except that the passwords are also changed, so an agent can't log in with the changed email to reset their password or their email. An administrator must manually change either the password or the email for each agent that will be using the sandbox. If you have a lot of agents and light agents this can be a huge time waste.
5. The sandbox doesn't include even a stripped-down version of the Guide, so there's no way to test/train using a new request form.
Given these restrictions, it's not as easy as we are lead to believe to create a new test or training environment. Using my starter instance it took many days to confirm that everything was the same as production. For the primary instance, which has over 150 triggers, macros, and views, over 30 custom fields and 10 forms with conditions, I'm not sure that this is usable as is. If I need to review every item I'd rather maintain the existing sandbox and review anything that's changed. In my opinion, this needs more work to be usable for anyone maintaining a more complicated system.
I also forgot to mention that your sandbox will disappear if you don't use it within a certain amount of time, so if you use it twice a year for training or testing, all the work you've done to get it set up will be wiped out by the next time you want to use it, so even if there were no changes you need to start from scratch and check everything again.
Thank you for sharing your experiences. I am very interested to see the response to your comments, Virginia! We have just this week upgraded our account to the new Enterprise Suite plan from an older mix of Professional and Enterprise features. We look forward to taking advantage of the many new features and functionality. However, the new Premium Sandbox, which initially appeared as quite an advantage, is now seeming to be more of a major concern. Having been "burned" when resetting the Sandbox a couple of years ago to take advantage of new features - and then realizing it deleted all the Sandboxes we had created for various brands as well as creating a new URL that was very inconvenient for developers working in the Sandboxes and APIs, I am hesitant to even test this out until more information is provided about what to expect in our situation.
I wanted to provide a bit of an update. We did receive confirmation from a Zendesk product manager that the creation of a new premium partial sandbox would not delete and did not require us to delete our existing sandbox. So we have started the process of creating a new sandbox, and it is still in progress. It has taken over 2 hours so far and is not completed yet. We will begin testing soon.
@sally, Can you confirm how long the "in progress" status lasted? I am still waiting for my sandbox to become active.
Hi Lindsay - the sandbox did finally complete processing overnight. It probably took over 4 hrs in total...but I'm not sure. Hope that is helpful.
@Sally - Thanks for the updated information. When we created our sandbox account back in February there was no way to get the "Create Sandbox" button other than deleting our original sandbox and starting over. I'm so glad they changed that!
Retraction of previous statement! We have 3 Zendesk instances, all Enterprise. The newest one, created in 2021, gives me the option to create more than one Sandbox, BUT only after I had removed the old one. The two older instances do not give me the option to create a new sandbox - the button is greyed out. I'm assuming that if I delete the current sandbox I'll be able to create a new one, and hopefully that means I'll be able to create more than one, but I'm not going to test it. Both of them are too customized to delete if I have to re-create them from basically from scratch.
My feedback would be:
I would echo @... comment. Plus 1 on ongoing replication. I have upgraded sandbox but the idea that I have to delete and create a new sandbox to get updated prod seems silly. I'm paying extra for the sync of metadata... that should be on weekly sync or even an on-demand.
Setting up access for the teams that need the sandbox after updates seems crazy. If we set up an SSO then the next time we need a snapshot of prod...we have to delete it, create new one, set up SSO and move on again. IF that is indeed true.. this seems super odd and not well thought out.
I was hoping to use the sandbox environment to test a new information architecture in Guide and then push those structure changes to production. This would help avoid interruption to our Guide users.
As far as guide content development goes, sandbox, whether premium or regular sandbox, is useless.
Hi team, I can't seem to change the premium sandbox selection to any option other than to include the replication of tickets. It won't let me click them at all. I don't want to do this as we don't want real customer data in our testing environments. Any help would be appreciated
I am experiencing the same as Daniel. And even when trying to create the premium partial production sandbox, it immediately fails with no indication of why.
I am trying to synch my data from prod instance to sandbox so that i can test anything i want to implement in prod.
We are currently using Zendesk suite - Enterprise Plan
So could anyone please suggest how can i copy all my triggers,automations ,schedules,SLA's and fields to my sandbox?
I'm experiencing the same problem as Craig above. The premium sandbox documentation claims that APIs are enabled, but there is no API admin page and no way to create tokens for use in the sandbox.
i have placed a request to create a partial premium sandox on 19th Oct, but the sandox is still not created and it is showing in progress.
Please let me know how many days it takes to create a partial premium sandbox.
Worth noting that you can't test Talk in the Sandbox. Talk isn't there as a product option to enable at all.
So no testing voice workflows, IVR's, greetings etc. I suspect it's because it's a billing issue....eg: calls are paid and Zendesk can't bill a sandbox account.
This is a decent enough missing feature but understand why it can't be done.
I have the same issue as some other users in this thread has reported (such as Daniel Savage), in that the option for copy with metadata is disabled and only partial production with tickets is possible. Same use case, I'd rather not copy production tickets into a sandbox for various reasons.
According to Zendesk support today (ticket 9782592), Enterprise Suite doesn't include Sandbox Premium Metadata, it only includes the more "premium" product Sandbox Premium Partial.
Instead of using Sandbox Premium Metadata, we should then choose Sandbox Premium Partial, and then manually delete the production tickets after replication? This doesn't make much sense to me.
Why cannot I as a custom choose if I want to use the Sandbox Premium Metadata or the Sandbox Premium Partial as the premium sandbox that is included in Enterprise Suite? Why are you forcing the Sandbox Premium Partial on me when Sandbox Premium Metadata is what I need and seems to be the inferior/simpler product?
Hey Joel Hellman, thank you so much for your time in reaching out.
The current behaviour is exactly how you've described it. Different types of Sandboxes are assigned to different plans. We understand the limitations and challenges this presents.
Given that, we are currently working on a new feature (Sandbox Lower Tier Creations) targeting Q4 release which enables users to create Sandboxes below their entitlement level just as you have illustrated.
This will allow you to create either a Premium Partial or a Metadata Sandbox as per your Enterprise Suite Plan
I'm noticing upon partial copy sandbox creation, it completely unorganizes our entire trigger list. We have them organized very meticulously and in multiple categories. It dumped them all into a single category from what I can tell. As I'm sure you're aware, the order in which triggers are processed is critical. Reorganizing 150+ triggers is not exactly pleasant.
It also launched most of the brands as "deactivated" - I'm fine with the brands being named different/having different URLs, that makes sense, but this also affects and breaks tons of triggers referencing them.
Is this expected behaviour?
Terence Tam That would be excellent. Thanks for addressing this.
I'm trying to create a new sandbox with metadata ONLY and no ticket data, but that option is greyed out. Can you provide any assistance with why I can't do that? We have Zendesk Suite Enterprise Plus, so I thought that would be possible with our account type.
Hey Joel Hellman and PAUL STRAUSS!
Just thought I'd follow up to let you guys know that you can now create Sandboxes of any tier up to your entitlement level!
If you're on Zendesk Suite Enterprise Plus plan, with the entitlement of a Premium Production Sandbox.
You can now create one of the following Premium Sandboxes:
Check out Lower Tier Creations for more information :)
Whilst it's great to see some proper sandbox options become available - I'm pretty disappointed that it's yet another feature put behind Suite Enterprise.
As a customer who has been with Zendesk for 9+ years, the biggest barrier to adoption of all the functionality you have released over the last few years is our lack of ability to sync Sandbox properly so we can validate behavior changes correctly (or re-train Agents).
Just want to put forward a recommendation that you have better sandbox options for ALL plans - so that your customers can take appropriate steps to adopt new functionality.
What's the point in building a brilliantly simple feature - if it's incredibly complicated to validate (and therefor adopt it?)
Up Vote Mark's comment!!! Please Make this sync better and help users test and develop with more confidence!
Our team would like to have our Premium Sandbox sync to our current production environment on a frequent basis (once a week/month) if possible.
I've seen people mention this above but I'm not sure if it has come to fruition.
The only option I can currently see is to delete our current sandbox instance and generate a new one which is not ideal in our current configuration.
I hope all is well! I will kindly suggest you access the article "How do I make my sandbox sync with my production account?" which addresses your concern, along with workarounds and limitation details.
I hope this helps!
This may already be answered however just setting up my Premium Sandbox.
Will my End Users get a link to setup and access the Sandbox?
To answer your question, no they will not get a link to set up and access your Sandbox account. As documented on this article:
I hope this answer your question. Thank you!
Please sign in to leave a comment.