New Ways to Grow Your Salesforce Data Archiving Skills
Do I need to manage data growth of SaaS applications?
Absolutely! Companies of all sizes have been migrating their applications to the cloud, as we all know. Salesforce has been the mammoth player for more than a decade and the journey is continuing to expand: Workday for Human Resources, Coupa for Spending Management, Concur for Travel & Expenses. This journey means that the IT department is not in charge of managing servers and their Gigabyte memories and CPUs, or dealing with storage vendors to buy high-end Terabytes of disk space. Should we give vacation to the IT people? Do you have the perception that their daily work is more related to management of the SaaS vendor than operations?
Not so fast.
When Salesforce started, their software was only focused in CRM and the sales team. Hence their name! But that vision changed long ago and Salesforce is the biggest symbol of how SaaS coverage is expanding, penetrating all areas of the companies. Consequently, the number of users accessing the application grew significantly. More application, more users, more business being managed in the cloud means more data! We all know that behind the scenes, all these magical applications that your company is renting still have the hardware, software, and databases supporting it.
The large SaaS vendors like Salesforce will typically limit the amount of data storage that can be held in your rented application. Salesforce allocates a quota for the production based on several users, with a minimum of 1GB, for most editions. Each user has a limit of 120MB of data.
Is it enough?
That is not a simple answer. It all depends on how many records you are creating.
If your company uses Salesforce for “case management”, you may be logging every call and every meeting with a customer in the CRM application, which means a lot, maybe thousands of records are created in the Events object every single day. Salesforce publishes the size of each standard object here, and you can perform a data growth assessment exercise with fair precision.
Here is an example. When you check the setup of your production Salesforce, you can check how much storage has it being used. This option is called “Storage Usage” on the setup menu, and here is how it may look:
As you probably noticed, this production Org is using more storage than it is supposed to. That will incur in surcharges or will force the system administrator to act and reduce the number of records in the objects.
To solve this problem, the only option available today for Salesforce administrators is the “Mass Delete Records”, which allows to permanently delete records of “Accounts”, “Leads”, “Activities”, “Contacts”, “Cases”, “Solutions” and “Products”.
In our research, we noticed that customers also have a large amount of data in custom objects, which cannot be purged with the mass deletion option (custom objects created by the customer which may be or not related to the standard data model available at Salesforce).
Moreover, customers would like to keep records for historical reasons. Physically purging them is not acceptable. For instance, a manufacturing company of durable goods using Salesforce to manage cases, may want to keep the history of calls for the entire lifecycle of the product. Or a pharmaceutical company may be required by law to retain customer interactions for decades.
Informatica Data Archive solves this problem by allowing customers to archive these historical and infrequently used records. Data Archive is shipped with a connector for Salesforce, which turns Salesforce into a source and lets you archive records for all objects in the Salesforce Data model – standard and custom objects – in a highly compressed mode and stored in an encrypted format. The records are then kept in Informatica’s Data Vault. Data Vault is Informatica’s columnar database with proven technology designed specifically to deal with archiving of records and to adhere to all compliance and restrictions enforced by law. Once data is in the Data Vault, customers can query it (from Salesforce or from any JDBC/ODBC compliant reporting tool), apply retention and legal hold and purge it once the retention expires.
In short, the Informatica proposition is to keep flat data growth in SaaS applications as well, while keeping records as required by regulations.