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The field history is important to our organisation and I need to retain it indefinitely. According to the field history tracking documentation, the field history is automatically deleted after 18 months unless field audit trail is used or the organisation was created before june 2011. However, I just checked our org and we have field history records going back to the start of our org in 2014.

This seems contradictory, and I'd love an explanation. While searching I found this post to an older question: Retention of field history data

There it states that in 2014 an attempt was made to enforce the 18 month limit, but that it was reversed due to customer requirements.

This leads me to three possible explanations:

  • Even though our organisation is from 2014 we still are still part of the permanent retention policy.
  • Our field history records are being deleted but not universally, which is why some records still remain.
  • Our field history will be deleted whenever Salesforce deems it necessary (and I don't know when).

Does anyone know which it is?

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+50

It is possible that auto-deletion was requested to be disabled back in the day. Out-of-the-box, yes, the information you have is correct. There are requests that can be made of Salesforce to change back-end org settings (e.g. number of field tracking fields on an object, number of workflows on an object, etc.), but I don't know if this is still possible with the introduction of Field Audit Trails. I found an Idea citing release notes about what I've mentioned above and Salesforce is pushing the Field Audit Trails add-on.

If data storage isn't an issue for your org and Salesforce can't support you beyond 10 years, you may want to consider a custom solution to create records for the fields you want to track. You could also export the data to a data warehouse and get that information whenever you need via lightning connect or odata connection to show your history data in Salesforce.

I recommend you open a case with Salesforce. Only they can tell you the settings for your org. I hope this helps you some.

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  • Thank you Tyler. I hadn't seen that idea yet, and didn't know that it used to be an option. I'm sure no-one in our organisation requested it. I will open a case and see if there is anything support can do. I'll also have my boss contact our account executive to see if that makes a difference. The idea you posted doesn't make it seem very hopeful though. Thank you for the help! – Kasper Aug 11 '17 at 8:45
  • You're welcome @Kasper. I hope they're able to help you. – Tyler Aug 11 '17 at 16:54
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UPDATE: A few months ago I was told by Salesforce Support that the Field history tracking date would not be deleted after 18 months. When after a few months the documentation had not been updated to include this new information, I opened a new support case. The same support agent looked into this again, contacted the escalation team, which contacted R&D, who came up with a new answer:

Tracking history is guaranteed to be retained for 18 months, and can still be possibly removed in the future, with no estimated time, or any prediction date that it may happen.

I was told to make sure to have my own backups in case it gets deleted. On the positive side, the documentation has now been updated to reflect this information.

PREVIOUS ANSWER: I just heard back from Salesforce support and they informed me that the field history data will not be deleted at all. It is actually the documentation that is wrong and the team responsible for this has been informed. (It's only been a day so the old information is still there. I hope it will be updated soon.)

(This only applies if you don't have field audit trail enabled. If you do have that enabled, you may have to check what happens.)

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You got everything right there except you missed the highlighted part

If your org was created post June 2011 then as of Spring '15 we will keep field history for up to 18 months after which it will be deleted using a rolling window policy.

Since your org was created in 2014, you are not eligible for permanent retention. Your old history will be deleted eventually and soon on a rolling window policy! (if you haven't bought the Audit Trial Add-on).

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  • Good point, sfcdFanBoy. I hadn't read it like that. Do you think they are still busy deleting it? Spring '15 is more than two years ago after all. Your point does freak me out a little though. (I have back-ups, but still.) Thank you for your insights! – Kasper Aug 11 '17 at 8:47
  • Ya still not sure about the progress of the deletion though...I'm checking! – sfdcFanBoy Aug 13 '17 at 17:40
  • Thank you for checking! Did you find anything? – Kasper Aug 15 '17 at 7:59
  • I did check. Salesforce said it is org specific and suggested to check with your respective Account Executive for details. – sfdcFanBoy Aug 16 '17 at 5:04
  • Thank you for your help sfdcFanBoy! I will have my boss contact our account executive for that information tomorrow. – Kasper Aug 16 '17 at 20:47
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We got an email December 2018 that said they were going to start enforcing the data history retention limit:

We’d like to remind you of some important changes coming to Field History Tracking , as you are an admin of an org that uses this feature. As communicated previously, Salesforce guarantees to retain your field history data for up to 18 months through your org, and up to 24 months via Data Loader or the API. Starting with the Spring ‘19 release*, Salesforce will enforce the 18-month retention policy and begin the process of removing field history data beyond 24 months. If you have data beyond 24 months that you would like to retain, please take action well before the Spring ‘19 release.

NOTE: Salesforce orgs created before June 1, 2011 are exempt from this change.

*Currently scheduled for February 2019; Date subject to change

I have data beyond the 18-month limit. How can I get access to and retain my data?

Data older than 18 months is only available to you via Data Loader or the API. If you have data beyond the 18-month limit, and would like to access and retain that data, you have 2 options:

Option 1: Purchase Field Audit Trail (FAT).

The FAT add-on guarantees that you have access to your field history data beyond 18 months. FAT preserves data in Field History Tracking and provides a FieldHistoryArchive standard big object for automated archival. FAT also lets you define a custom policy to retain archived field history data up to 10 years from the time the data was archived. To purchase FAT, contact your Salesforce Account Executive.

Option 2: Download the data yourself and add it to a custom big object.

Data older than 18 months is available only via Data Loader or the API. Data older than 24 months is also available, but only until the Spring ’19 release. After Spring ’19, Salesforce begins removing data older than 24 months. Use Data Loader or the queryAll() API to retrieve old field history. Information and examples about using Data Loader and queryAll() methods are available here. To move this data to a custom big object, see the Big Objects Implementation Guide.

Note: Once Salesforce removes data, you cannot use the getDeleted() API to retrieve it.

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