After "Go Live", Ex Libris also offers an Alma premium sandbox (for an additional annual fee). This sandbox contains a full replication of the data and configurations from your Alma and Primo VE production environment. It can also be used for training, testing, and development purposes. When you purchase the premium sandbox, it replaces your standard sandbox. Note that with the Alma February 2019 release, Ex Libris introduced a new premium sandbox policy. For information on the new policy, see Ex Libris Premium Sandbox Policy: Frequently Asked Questions.
- Most Alma customers use the standard sandbox available from Ex Libris as part of the standard offering. The premium sandbox may be relevant in specific cases, as described below in Differences Between the Standard and Premium Sandboxes.
- A single institution cannot have both a standard sandbox and a premium sandbox simultaneously. You also cannot mix grades of Alma and Primo VE sandboxes. For example, if you have an Alma premium sandbox, you must also have a Primo VE premium sandbox.
- The sandbox environments are updated with the new monthly releases two weeks before the general release to the production environments (typically, this means that the sandbox environments are updated on the second to last Sunday of each month; refer to the exact release schedule published by Ex Libris).
- APAC customers must use the accelerated Alma domain for production only. The sandbox does not support the accelerated Alma domain.
|Area of Alma||Task||Supported Sandbox Type|
|Training||Alma training during implementation||Standard (premium not available before "Go Live")|
|Try out and learn new functionalities and features following a release; ongoing training following "Go Live"||Both standard and premium|
|Data services||Load patron records||
|Import bibliographic data (including e-books, digital resource metadata, and authority records)||
|Publish bibliographic data to the Primo sandbox||
Note that changes to records in the Alma sandbox will be seen within the Primo VE sandbox.
|Classification and heading enrichment||
|Load digital objects to the Alma cloud storage (Amazon S3)
For the premium sandbox, files that belong to records that are refreshed from the production environment can be viewed, but cannot be modified.
|Perform global data changes||Both standard and premium|
|Search for records in the Community Zone, see what e-records are available, activate global e-inventory in the Institution Zone||Both standard and premium|
|Fulfillment and courses||Test changes to fulfillment such as fulfillment configuration, loans, requests, fine/fee assignment, notices, and courses||Both standard and premium
Standard is limited to 1,000 reading lists (including Leganto).
|Acquisitions||Perform trial runs of EDI and EOD||Both standard and premium|
|Perform trial runs of fiscal period closure||Both standard and premium|
|Test acquisition workflows, such as purchase order claims and cancelations, or returns of material||Both standard and premium|
|Export requests for payment||Both standard and premium|
|System administration||Test changes to authentication settings||Both standard and premium|
|Test changes to configuration settings||Both standard and premium|
|API integrations testing||Test Alma API developments
Analytics APIs are not available on either a standard or premium sandbox. They are available only in a production environment.
|Both standard and premium|
|Data and configuration refresh||Refresh the sandbox data and configuration. This deletes all data and configuration on the sandbox and replaces it with:
||Both standard and premium, as stipulated|
|Data anonymization||Acquisitions and patron data anonymization, as follows:
Data anonymization is available only for consortias and not for Alma standalone institutions.
Data anonymization is optional, and can be done for only for Patron data or Acquisitions data or both (or none, in which case, all data is copied to sandbox as-is). You can modify the data anonymization behavior that was set for your institution (handled by opening a support case in the Ex Libris customer center CRM).
If an institution has enabled patron anonymization, they must set up accounts with Record Type= "Staff" in Production. These accounts are not anonymized when copied to the PSB. As a result, they are the only accounts that can log in to the PSB after a refresh, as the identifiers of all other accounts are scrambled.
|Logo customization||Customize the sandbox with your own logo and color scheme. Note that a sandbox refresh resets all customizations performed on the sandbox.||Both standard and premium|
- Neither the Alma premium nor the Alma standard sandbox includes Alma Analytics. Alma Analytics runs on top of a designated data warehouse (not on top of production data), in a read-only mode. Since production data is not impacted, it is safe to use the Alma Analytics available using the production environment to test and develop new reports (a sandbox is not required).
- Standard sandboxes can be set up to share the Primo Central Index with production. Then when testing with the sandbox's Primo instance, you will have the same records (bibliographic, portfolios, authorities, etc) available to that search. You can also choose to have separate indexes, in which case the Sandbox index will start with only the standard records, and all maintenance going forward will have to be done manually, since scheduled jobs do not run automatically in the sandbox.
- In an Alma standard sandbox, data and configurations on the sandbox are reset with every sandbox refresh. In an Alma premium sandbox, all data and configurations are copied from your production environment as part of a refresh. These replace any data and configurations on the sandbox.
- Both the Alma premium and Alma standard sandboxes are limited to 30 active/distinct users who may log in (you may create generic users for sandbox login such as TEST_1, TEST_2, and so forth).
- A single institution cannot have both a standard and a premium sandbox environment. Following "Go Live", you must choose between these two options.
|Implementing a Network Zone||Default Standard Sandboxes||Recommendations for Premium Sandboxes|
|Yes||Total of 3:
|No||2 standard shared by all institutions||
|Area of Alma||Alma Production||Alma Sandbox|
|Email services||Email services are active by default, using real email addresses that were loaded to Alma from SIS and other sources||Email services are disabled by default. You can activate the email services (for testing purposes) by entering email addresses in the Email Include List mapping table (see Configuring Allowed Emails). Email services are handled in this manner in order to prevent unintended emails from being sent.|
|Alma Analytics||Provided as part of Alma and accessible to Alma users. Alma Analytics supports the creation and testing of new reports without distributing them, providing limited access to specific users. This enables you to test new reports prior to their distribution.||Alma Analytics is not part of the sandbox. Instead, new reports can be safely created and tested in your production environment before distributing them to production users. Analytics APIs can also be used with a production environment and are read-only in nature.|
|Number of users||Limited according to your subscription parameters||Limited to 30 active/distinct users who may log in.|
|Integrations with third-party systems||All integration interfaces are available and enabled by default.||
FTP for publishing to Primo is available in a modified form (see below).
Other integrations involving FTP are disabled by default. You can enable specific FTP addresses for communication by entering FTP host names/IP addresses in the FTP Include List mapping table (see Configuring Allowed S/FTP Connections During Testing). This enables the testing of FTP-related integrations with third-party systems.
All other integration interfaces are available and enabled by default.
|Community Zone contribution jobs||Ability to contribute bibliographic record changes and other electronic resources to the Community Zone is available from the production environment. You can define publishing and other jobs as required.||
Users of sandbox environments can use the Community Zone, but will not be able to make changes or contribute material to the Community Zone from sandbox environments.
The sandbox environments will not include any Community Zone updates for activated Community Zone content.
|Scheduling of jobs||Ability to automatically schedule jobs according to the available scheduling options.||The automatic scheduling of jobs is unavailable on sandbox environments.
You can run jobs manually on demand by selecting Run Now (when available) on the profile configuration page, or by selecting Run Now for the job in the Scheduled tab on the Monitor Jobs page (Administration > Monitor Jobs).
|Publishing to Primo and the Primo sandbox||You can define the publishing to Primo job as required.||Primo – The Alma premium sandbox can publish up to 10K selected records to the Primo sandbox (premium or standard)
Primo VE – Changes to records in the Alma sandbox will be seen within the Primo VE sandbox.
|Environment infrastructure||The Alma production environment runs on a highly scalable infrastructure, using high availability and redundancy capabilities across all layers of the infrastructure.
The production infrastructure can scale and accommodate a high performance load.
|Sandbox environments use scaled-down infrastructure that provide you with cost-effective testing environments.
The sandbox environment does not match the production environment in sizing/strength and cannot be used to benchmark/time batch loading of records or performance of API calls.
|Digital objects in the Ex Libris cloud||The production environment includes the digital resource metadata and all the digital objects loaded to the Ex Libris cloud storage, according to the subscription agreement.||Sandbox environments (premium or standard) do not contain a replication of the digital objects that were loaded by the customer to the Alma production environment. Note that the premium sandbox will contain the digital resource metadata.|