A GxP sandbox is a type of developer sandbox designated to contain specific Box functionality that have been released over the course of the previous quarter so GxP customers can test and validate that functionality before making it available to their users. This process is often known as controlled release.
The GxP sandbox is a test environment, meant to be a way for GxP customers to validate the intended use of Box for regulated content before release to production. For enrolled GxP customers, most customer-facing features across Box will be held until the end of each quarter, and then will be released for preview into their GxP sandbox environment in bulk (along with a set of release notes). Customers will have a 30-day preview period where they can validate these features in their GxP Sandbox Test Environment before the features in the GxP sandbox are released to their production environments.
This differs from the typical SaaS (software as a service) process where as features are completed, they are generally released to be available.
The GxP sandbox does not replace Box's automated daily testing of Box functionality, which GxP customers view and monitor on the GxP Insights page.
If you choose not to participate in the GxP sandbox program, your current Box environment will still remain GxP compliant and the Box product release process will remain as it always was.
GxP Sandbox Feature Release Criteria
Box uses the following definitions to decide what feature releases will be added to the GxP sandbox:
- Major product launch with full marketing support.
- Product/feature release with high customer impact. Standalone release or bundle of related releases.
- Feature/integration release with medium customer impact. Standalone release or bundle of releases.
Feature/integration releases or EOLs with low customer impact or component releases that are part of a larger launch bundle are examples of feature releases that will not be added to the GxP sandbox. Bug fixes are also not added to the GxP sandbox. These will be released upon completion, as is typical of SaaS software, but will also be included in GxP release notes for review at the end of a quarter.
In addition, desktop products, such as Box Drive, are not part of the GxP sandbox program.
GxP Sandbox Release Process
The GxP sandbox release process is as follows:
- For enrolled GxP customers, features meeting a specified criteria are held for release throughout a quarter.
- At the end of a quarter, all held features are released to the GxP sandbox, which is also the same time that GxP release notes are released.
- 30 days after held features were released to the GxP sandbox, they are made generally available for GxP customers.
GxP Sandbox Release Schedule
The approximate general GxP sandbox release schedule is as follows:
- Begin Feature Hold: First day of each Box fiscal quarter (Feb 1, May 1, Aug 1, Nov 1)
- Features Released to Sandbox: First day after the last day of each Box fiscal quarter, or the first business day after that if the date falls on a weekend or Box holiday
- Features Released to Production: 30 days after the Features Released to Sandbox date, or the first business day after that if the date falls on a weekend or Box holiday
Specific dates for upcoming quarters are included in the quarterly GxP release notes. A draft of GxP release notes, with most of the quarterly updates included, is typically published to GxP customers 4-5 days before the end of each quarter. The final version of GxP release notes is published to GxP customers typically within 3 business days after the released-to-sandbox dates.
Creating a GxP Sandbox
Creating a GxP sandbox involves the following steps:
- Create a developer sandbox. Give the sandbox a name that will help you recognize it as a GxP sandbox.
- Note the EID (enterprise ID) of the develop sandbox. (When you view existing sandboxes in Admin Console > Platform, this value is in the Enterprise ID column in the list of sandboxes.)
- Contact your Box account representative to have that EID included in the GxP sandbox program.
You can also convert an existing developer sandbox into a GxP sandbox. Simply note the EID of the sandbox (as in step 2 above), and then contact your Box representative (as in step 3 above).