Remember Thor, the Son of Odin and the God of Thunder, who was to be the protector of the nine realms? While realm literally means the world, it’s different in the context of Salesforce e-commerce. Here, a realm is a combination of instances.

Realm? Instances? Does it sound complicated? Let’s break it down.

A realm is like your world in the Salesforce commerce cloud platform. It’s the place where you can build, test, and deploy your e-commerce site. Like anything else hosted on the cloud, you can “access your realm” with an URL, user ID, and password.

So, what’s an instance? An instance is an application infrastructure that your website might need: a web server, application server, and/or database server.

In typical B2C commerce, a realm comprises two groups – the Primary Instance Group (PIG) and Secondary Instance Group (SIG).

  • The PIG consists of
    • development instance – a safe, simulated test environment
    • staging instance – to configure and stage your storefront
    • production instance – go live with the fully configured storefront

The SIG comprises sandboxes. A sandbox is used by developers and is a copy of code. The difference between a sandbox and a production instance is that the code in production is live whereas any changes the developer makes to sandbox will not reflect in the actual platform. If you don’t like testing your product, most likely your customers won’t like to test it either. With this in mind, the sandbox gives developers the opportunity to play around with the code before it goes to production.

How does this work?

A B2C merchant by default receives 9 instances in a realm – 3 PIG instances for staging, testing, and deployment, and 5 SIG sandbox instances used for code development and a demo instance. The merchant can scale up to 47 sandboxes within the same realm.

The merchant gets an instance administrator option, which has complete control over who has access, and for starts or stops instances, password management, and related permissions within the realm.

But, what happens when a merchant has more than one business vertical? Can he use the same Salesforce commerce cloud realm to host both websites?

Salesforce Commerce Cloud supports the use of single and multi-realm precisely for such cases.

A single realm can host more than one site, provided they share the same functionality, operations, and development team. The biggest advantage of hosting multiple sites in the same realm is to share a master product catalogue. Businesses that run parallelly, sharing the same policies, processes, functionality code, development teams etc will fare well in single-realm e-commerce. Any process that can be streamlined to operate in perfect synchronization will boost the efficiency of a single-realm.

Single realms are easy to manage and can share resources. Admins can share responsibilities and people managing storefronts can do so from different locations.

But what if you are running a multibillion-dollar conglomerate with various business units and verticals such as electronics, apparel, and pharmaceuticals to name a few? The core functionalities and day-to-day operations of these verticals are entirely different. For example, pharmaceutical commerce sites need to verify doctors’ prescription before processing orders. In such cases, when the same merchant is running different businesses, a multi-realm Salesforce cloud commerce platform could be the best option.

In a multi-realm scenario, the Software Development Life Cycle is done from scratch for different business verticals, which means independent requirements gathering, code development, test, and go live and is perfect for delivering out of the box e-commerce solutions.

The drawback of a multi-realm approach is the increase in maintenance and infrastructure costs. You might feel the initial pinch of implementing a multi-realm scenario, but the benefits far surpass the downsides of a single-realm platform for bigger businesses.

Talk to us today to help you with a well-tailored Salesforce Commerce Cloud solution that is the perfect fit for all your business needs.

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