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    Ex Libris New Premium Sandbox Policy

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What’s the news?

    Ex Libris is updating the premium sandbox policy for both Alma and Primo VE and upgrading the premium sandbox environment’s underlying technology. This upgrade is designed to provide customers with the following:
    • Better planning and predictability
    • Closer alignment of the Alma and Primo VE sandboxes
    • Improved sandbox performance and scalability

    Why did Ex Libris create the new policy?

    The major growth in the number of premium sandboxes led to a situation where today:
    • The current method of implementing the refresh process, in light of the increased number of premium sandboxes, entails processes that may impact the performance of production environments.
    • Current refresh requests take 45 days and sometimes longer, and this amount of time is expected to continue to increase.
    • There is an increase in the overall load on sandbox environments, which limits the ability of these environments to scale.
    • We must limit the number of sandboxes when working with a Network Zone.

    Without making a change to the underlying premium sandbox technology and refresh policy, we are at risk of impacting the performance of production environments.

    What are the main highlights of the new premium sandbox policy?

    The premium sandbox policy will enable:
    • Ease of use: Automatic sandbox refresh. Customers no longer need to open a Salesforce ticket to request a sandbox refresh. Quicker refresh times will allow for a much shorter system refresh time.
    • Predictability: Sandbox environments will be refreshed twice a year on specific dates, allowing you to better plan your sandbox activity.
    • Flexibility for institutions working with a Network Zone: With the new policy, customers working with a Network Zone can now order as many premium sandboxes as they want (up to the total number of member institutions).

    When will the premium sandbox will be refreshed?

    During November 2018, Ex Libris, together with the product working groups, reached out to the community to ask about the preferred annual refresh frequency and schedule. Over 100 responses were submitted.
    The majority of respondents selected the following options:
    • Two refreshes a year, in February and August
    • The refreshes should be scheduled for the Sunday after the Alma release on production environments.

    Why these specific dates?

    As stated above, the dates for the refresh were a result of a survey that was sent to the Alma and Primo user community. Another factor in determining the schedule of the premium sandbox refresh was the need to provide institutions using the premium sandbox with enough time prior to their fiscal period rollover to test the process on their premium sandboxes. For the vast majority of institutions, the fiscal period is either from the start of July to the end of June or from the start of January to the end of December.
    The refresh dates will allow for a reasonable testing period in the premium sandbox. All institutions will still have the ability to run the fiscal period rollover in report mode in production at any given time, which can provide details on potential issues without the need to actually make changes. For details, see Fiscal Period Closure.

    Will I be able to choose my own institution’s refresh date?

    This change in policy is designed to provide you with better service, minimal downtime, and no manual ticketing process. However, it does require a set date for the refresh. The refresh dates are therefore predefined for all customers.

    As an existing premium sandbox customer that is also using Leganto or Esploro, how will the new policy affect the data in these environments? 

    Because Leganto and Esploro are based on the same cloud platform as Alma, the new sandbox policy applies to these products as well.

    As an existing premium sandbox customer, what are the main aspects of this change that I should be aware of?

    There are four main aspects of the new policy that you should be aware of:

    1. We are keeping your existing premium sandbox environment, in addition to the new premium sandbox environment, throughout 2019. To allow for a gradual adoption of the new policy, your existing premium sandbox will be available to you until the end of 2019 (with no data refresh). You will have access to both the current and new premium sandbox environments during this period.
    2. To avoid impacting existing customers that are currently testing new integrations using APIs on their premium sandbox environment, API keys will not automatically be moved to the new premium sandbox environment and will remain on your current premium sandbox.
      During 2019, customers that want to test their APIs on their new premium sandbox environments must contact Support in order to move their API keys to their new premium sandbox environments. Note that all API keys will be moved to the new premium sandbox environments by the end of 2019.
    3. A one-time alignment of your sandbox security certificate may be required (related to the authentication profiles). For details, see Recommended Configuration to Account for Sandbox Refresh.
    4. For customers who are not using the Primo VE deployment model and have configured the Alma sandbox to work with the Primo sandbox, use the instructions in Primo Sandbox.

    I have a standard sandbox. Will there be any changes to my sandbox?

    No. The policy relates only to the premium sandbox.

    What happens to my sandbox data and configuration upon refresh?

    Upon refresh, data and configurations are replicated from the production environment to your premium sandbox, as with the current premium sandbox refresh, only much faster. This also applies to institutions working with a Network Zone.
    To help customers deal with the prescheduled refreshes, Ex Libris, together with the product working groups, will assess the need to retain configuration areas during the refresh process. The results of this analysis will be shared with the community once completed.

    How will the semi-annual indexing will be handled in the premium sandboxes?

    The search indexes in the premium sandbox environments will be updated as part of the semi annual refresh which takes place in February and August. The process that updates the production environment is responsible for updating the production indexes, which takes place during January and July respectively, ensuring that the sandbox environments have up to date indexes when refreshed.

    How are passwords stored for users in a premium sandbox?

    The passwords for users in premium sandbox instances are stored separately in the Ex Libris Identity Service. You can set the password for an internal user in a premium sandbox using the same methods available in Alma production instances, for example, by sending the user a change password email or by changing the password directly in the user's profile. Changing the password for users in the premium sandbox does not affect passwords in production instances.
    The new premium sandbox and the old premium sandbox use the same Ex Libris Identity Service, so the passwords for these two environments are the same.

    What happens to passwords of internal users after the refresh of a premium sandbox?

    Passwords for internal users are stored in the Identity Service and not in the Alma database. When you log in to the premium sandbox for the first time as an internal user, you will have to reset your password using the reset password link.
    Once the password for a premium sandbox internal user has been set, it will not be reset by a sandbox refresh.

    Is there any change in the pricing for the new premium sandbox?

    No. There is no change to pricing.

    Does the new premium sandbox policy also apply to Primo sandboxes?

    The new policy applies to Primo VE customers that have premium sandboxes. There is no change in the Primo sandbox policy for all other Primo customers (that are not using the Primo VE deployment model).

    Can we have a premium sandbox for Alma and a standard sandbox for Primo?

    There is no change in the new sandbox policy regarding the compatibility rules between Alma and Primo sandboxes. The Primo and Alma sandboxes must still be either both premium or both standard.

    We are a group of 20 institutions working with a Network Zone. Can we purchase 10 premium Alma sandboxes and 20 Primo VE premium sandboxes?

    No. Since Primo VE is a cloud-based discovery tool that is running on the Alma cloud platform, the Alma and Primo VE premium sandboxes must be aligned. The number of Alma and Primo VE premium sandboxes must therefore be the same.

    We are a group of 20 institutions working with a Network Zone, but have only 10 premium Alma and Primo VE sandboxes. Can the remaining institutions test their Primo VE patron-facing interface before releasing it on production?

    The remaining member institutions that did not purchase premium Alma and Primo VE sandboxes will be able to test their Primo VE views within their preview sandboxes (for testing search functionalities, requests, and so forth). The data of the preview sandbox will be copied from the institution's production setup and data. However, they will not be able to make configuration changes unless they purchase premium sandboxes.

    We are a group of 20 institutions working with a Network Zone, but only 10 member institutions have an Alma premium sandbox. With this new policy, can we get premium sandboxes for all our member institutions?

    With the new policy, there is no limit to the number of premium sandboxes that you can order. All member institutions working with a Network Zone can obtain a license for the premium sandbox.

    Will the link to my premium sandbox change?

    Yes. With the move to an improved underlying technology for our premium sandbox environments, we are also introducing an improved URL structure for premium sandboxes, replacing the following URL structure:

    https://<sandbox-eu.alma.exlibrisgroup.com>/mng/login?institute=<abc>

    with an institution-specific URL, making it easier to track, as in the example below:

    <abc>-psb.alma.exlibrisgroup.com

    The link to your premium sandbox will appear in the Help menu.

    Note that the IP address of your premium sandbox may not remain the same, although it will be within the range specified here.

    Whom should I contact for more questions that I may have?

    We hope that this page covers most of the questions you may have, but if you still have any questions or concerns, you are welcome to contact Support and we will do our best to assist you.
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