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What is Salesforce Database?

Are you eager to know what the Salesforce database is? Your wait is over. This blog lets you get all that you want to know about the Salesforce database. Know that the Salesforce database is the relational database where we can efficiently store and retrieve customer data. What’s more! This blog uncovers the basics of the Salesforce database, its architecture, data modeling components, salesforce migration, and more in greater detail. Okay! Let’s go to the blog without any further ado!

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Salesforce is a company that offers one of the powerful Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools. Mainly, it drives customer engagement into higher realms using its advanced tools. It manages customer data effectively, converts it into valuable analytics, and derives insights with its automation capabilities. On this note, Data storage becomes crucial for storing customers' data and sales journeys. No doubt, it acts as the backbone of the salesforce software.

Well! This blog will help you learn the Salesforce database fundamentals, salesforce architecture, data modeling components, salesforce migration, SOQL, and many more.

What is Salesforce Database - Table of Contents

What is Salesforce?

Salesforce is a cloud-based software that you can use to communicate effectively across teams, improve customer relationships, and enhance user experience. This tool allows sales, commerce, marketing, and IT teams to work on a common platform. With Salesforce software, all you want to know about customers can be seen in a single view. This tool's underlying AI capabilities help businesses make informed and accurate decisions. Using this tool, you can track customer journeys from the beginning to the current stage, personalise customer engagement, and many more. As a result, teams can efficiently share information, improve collaboration, and optimize productivity.

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What is the Architecture of Salesforce?

In its basic form, salesforce architecture is a multi-tenant architecture built-up of a series of interconnected layers. The important thing about this architecture is that it shares database resources with all its tenants and stores data securely. This architecture offers an easy-to-use interface so users can operate Salesforce software effortlessly.

Architecture of Salesforce

Of the many layers of the Salesforce architecture, the Salesforce platform layer serves as the foundation of the architecture. This layer is powered by metadata and includes vital components such as data services, AI services, and API. Here, metadata consists of custom setups, scripts, and functions. It helps to access data from databases quickly. And APIs help to communicate with other systems seamlessly. Moreover, the top layer of the architecture consists of the Salesforce Apps such as sales, services, marketing, and so on.

What is Salesforce Database?

Essentially, the Salesforce database is a relational database. This is where you can store your customer information in database objects. And Salesforce database uses object record tables for storing data. The data may include customer names, email addresses, contact numbers, sales history, etc. The Salesforce database provides many excellent features, such as reliability, security, and flexibility to its users. Additionally, the functionalities of the Salesforce database remain unaffected even when variations occur in the scaling of applications. Not only that, it remains balanced regardless of the changes in the data storage and processing power.

Salesforce Database

Data Modeling Components of the Salesforce Database

Objects, Relationships, and Schema Builder are the three crucial data modeling components of the Salesforce database. Let's learn them in detail one by one below:

1. Objects

Objects are nothing but tables in the Salesforce database. Three types of objects are used in the Salesforce database: Standard, Custom, and External. The first one, standard objects, are the prebuilt objects used in the database. The prebuilt objects are named account objects, contact objects, and lead objects. Then, Custom objects are the ones you can create based on the business needs. For example, if you are running a retail industry, you can create an object like ‘orders’. Custom objects provide custom layouts that help to build analytic functions and reporting in the objects. External objects, the third one, support mapping data outside the Salesforce database.

Know that every object in the salesforce database consists of records and fields. The rows of tables are known as records, and the columns are known as fields.

Let’s take a look at the fields and records in the following:

2. Fields

When considering fields, standard objects consist of three prebuilt standard fields. Similarly, custom objects also consist of standard fields. The standard fields are known as identity, name, and system. At first, identity is one of the essential components of the Salesforce database. Every record in an object will have a field that has a unique identifier for the record. The second one, the name, is another standard field with the record's name. Sometimes, it can be a number too. The third one, the system, is a read-only object field. It will show the identity of the person who modified the data in the record for the last time. Apart from all these three standard fields, every object will have fields such as checkboxes, dates, formulas, numbers, etc.

3. Records

Salesforce database allows creating records on the objects once you have finalized the required fields for the objects. For example, suppose you need to insert a new customer into the customer table in the database. In that case, you can generate a new record for the new customer on the customer table.

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4. Relationships

As you know, Salesforce adapts relational database structure. So, you can link multiple tables in a Salesforce database together and easily share information. Note that we need to set up relationships for custom objects, which is not required for standard objects.

There are three types of relationships in the Salesforce database: Look-up, Master-detail, and Hierarchical. Let’s have a look at them below:

Data Modeling Components

5. Look-up

This relationship represents a relationship between two objects in the Salesforce database. In this type, one object looks up another based on their relation. So, you can use a look-up relationship only when two tables are related based on certain aspects. Besides, there can be two types of relationships: one-to-one or one-to-many.

6. Master-detail

In this relationship, one object acts as the master, and another acts as the detail. The master object can control the behaviors of the detail object. For instance, who can view the detailed object data can be decided by the master object. In a way, the master-detail relationship is a complex one. If you delete the master object, the detail object will also be deleted along with the master object.

A simple but essential note is that you can use the master-detail relationship when objects are always related. But you can use look-up relationships only when objects are related sometimes.

7. Hierarchical

It is yet another type of relationship but a special one. You can use this relationship only for user objects. This relationship helps to build management chains between users.      

8. Schema Builder

It is a tool that can be used to visualise, understand, and edit data models. Not just that, you can create fields and objects using schema builder. With this tool, you can quickly brief team members about the customisations you have made in the Salesforce software. Besides, we can clearly understand how data flows in systems from this tool.

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What are the Keys used in Salesforce Database?

We can use primary and composite keys to identify records in the Salesforce database. Let’s have a brief about them below:

  • Primary Key: A primary key is nothing but a column in a table that acts as the unique identifier to locate records in a database. Choosing a primary key is crucial since it plays a vital role in adding or updating records in tables. For example, consider the Salesforce database. A customer's phone number can be the primary key to identifying a customer record from a table.
  • Composite Key: When you cannot find a column as a primary key in the Salesforce database, you can combine one or more columns to form a composite key. It is important to note that this composite key would be formula-based.

Keys used in Salesforce Database

What is Salesforce Migration?

Data migration is basically the process of transferring data from one system to another. In Salesforce, it is moving data from the Salesforce database to external systems. The external systems can be databases, applications, data warehouses, or others. The problem with data migration is that if you move a large amount of data, it might not be accurate and absolute. Thankfully, Salesforce migration overcomes this common setback and ensures accurate and reliable data transfer.

Know that Salesforce effectively performs org migration. Let’s see what org migration is.

Org Migration

In Salesforce, org is the virtual space where you can store customer data and their applications. Org migration is moving an org of a Salesforce instance to another. Salesforce has many SORs, known as the System of Records. SOR is used to store metadata and customer data. You can store customer data in SOR copying from relational databases, FileForce, and NoSQL Databases.

Moreover, the org migration tool can be used to move one Salesforce SOR to the target SOR. You cannot use standard migration tools if you want to migrate data from the Salesforce database to other systems. This is because Salesforce comes with multi-tenant architecture. But, the ‘custom data copy’ tool can be used to migrate data. This tool can run on Salesforce application servers seamlessly.

Know that FileForce is also known as Keystone. It consists of a store for extents and a metadata catalog. Here, the metadata catalog is stored as tables in the Salesforce database. NoSQL database is also known as HBase. The migration between two HBases is performed in two stages. In the first stage, the data being moved from one HBase appears on the target HBase system. After that, the copying of data begins. Actually, it is a long process, and the time taken to complete the process depends on the data size.

Know that FileForce is also known as Keystone. It consists of a store for extents and a metadata catalog. Here, the metadata catalog is stored as tables in the Salesforce database. NoSQL database is also known as HBase. The migration between two HBases is performed in two stages. In the first stage, the data being moved from one HBase appears on the target HBase system. After that, the copying of data begins. Actually, it is a long process, and the time taken to complete the process depends on the data size.

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How to Manage Data Transfer in the Salesforce Database?

Salesforce offers many efficient tools for importing and exporting data. Let’s get to know them one by one.

  1. Importing Data: You can import external data into the Salesforce database using two methods – data import wizard and data loader.
  2. Data Import Wizard: This tool allows importing objects such as contacts, accounts, and leads into custom objects in the Salesforce database. Using this tool, you can import over 50,000 records simultaneously. It provides an easy-to-use interface to specify configuration parameters, field mappings, and data sources. Here, field mappings support mapping the field names in the imported file with the field names of the Salesforce database. You can use this tool if you don't want to automate the importing process.
  3. Data Loader: When the data import wizard tool doesn’t support importing data, you can use the data loader. No wonder you can import over 5 million records at a time using this tool. Here, the data can be of any type, and the source can be any database connection. GUI and command line window can be used to operate this tool based on the user's convenience. Above all, we can automate importing process with the help of API calls.
  4. Exporting Data: Similar to importing, you can export data automatically or manually. Two methods are used to export data in Salesforce Database: data export services and data loader.
  5. Data Export Service: It is a sort of browser service. You can access this service using the setup menu. You can use this tool to export data weekly or monthly.
  6. Data Loader: We need to install this tool separately. Also, you can use both GUI and the command line to operate this tool. The Command line is used to automate the exporting process. Moreover, you can use APIs to integrate Salesforce with other systems.

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What is SOQL?

You must have understood how to import and export data in the Salesforce database. Now, the question is how can you retrieve data from the salesforce database? Right?

The answer is simple – SOQL.

SOQL refers to Salesforce Object Query Language. You can use this language to access data from an object stored in the Salesforce database. You can also use this language to retrieve data from more than one object. But, simultaneously, the objects must be related within themselves in a certain way. Besides, we can count and sort data using this language.

In a way, SOQL is similar to SQL but designed only to operate with the Salesforce database. With SOQL, you can specify source objects, conditions for choosing records, and a summary of fields to retrieve from the objects. But, you cannot use SOQL for working with arbitrary join operations, calculation expressions, etc.

SOQL can be combined with SOSL, where SOSL is known as Salesforce Object Search Language. Essentially, SOSL works based on the search index. When they are used combined, they will yield the best outputs. You can also use SOQL with filtering statements to retrieve data from the Salesforce database.

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Uses of SOQL

Let’s see a few uses of SOQL below:

  • SOQL helps to retrieve data from more than one object.
  • It supports counting the number of records that meet the given criteria.
  • It allows sorting the results of queries.


In short, the Salesforce database is the relational database used to store customer data and their applications. It supports improving customer relationships and engagement by effectively managing data. We hope this blog might have taught you all about the Salesforce database, its architecture, data modeling, data migration, and many other things. Overall, the Salesforce database simplifies the entire customer journey by effectively managing customer data.

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Last updated: 28 Jul 2023
About Author


Madhuri is a Senior Content Creator at MindMajix. She has written about a range of different topics on various technologies, which include, Splunk, Tensorflow, Selenium, and CEH. She spends most of her time researching on technology, and startups. Connect with her via LinkedIn and Twitter .

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