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Currently, I've to refresh one of my Developer sandbox as it has become little outdated. But I don't want to lose data. This is because There are too many objects having relationships. So creating test data for all such objects will be tedious task involving efforts of approx 2 days.

Just curious to know, what are the options I've ?

One of the way I'm thinking is to use ANT . These are the basic steps I'm thinking for this :

  1. Back up of all the metadata via Eclipse/ANT of all the components of Sandbox so as to prevent inadvertently overwrite of any component having change present only in this sandbox.
  2. Retrieve all the components from production
  3. Deploy retrieved components into Sandbox.

I just like to find, if any kind of issues I could face for doing this as I've limited time available to perform this activity.

Would this also lead to any kind of tasks , where I might have to spend lots of time? I don't want to run into situation, where I've to 'ultimately' go for standard Sandbox refresh' functionality.

Thanks for any ideas on this !

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You should eventually get to a point where you can refresh your developer instance. It would be best if you could write your tests to create the data needed to execute the tests such that you have full coverage of the functionality.

You could try your idea of doing the metadata, but I do not think it will work as you will not be able to transfer your managed packages this way and there is metadata you cannot get from the API.

If you want to know what is different I would advise you to pull down the metadata for all of your orgs and put them in source control. Then you can use a folder diff tool such as winmerge to see how far apart you are. Knowing the scale of differences will help you take the best path.

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I would recommend to use tool which is built for this specific purpose. I have stumbled across Flosum Data Migrator, and used it in my tests as well. It is designed very well.

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