Cloning your ServiceNow instance | Versions prior to Berlin 



To conduct accurate development and testing without affecting the production environment, clone a ServiceNow instance. Cloning preserves the instance name and email properties of the source instance. Also, the clone target instance is always of the same version as the source instance. 

Note: The information and procedures on this page apply only to pre-Berlin releases hosted in ServiceNow datacenters. Instances running Berlin or later releases use the System Clone application.


Preparing for cloning

Cloning overwrites infrastructure changes and content on the target instance. Export any application content you want to preserve to XML files on a local drive before requesting the clone. After the cloning process is completed, import the XML files back into the application.

Keep these details in mind as you plan for a clone:

  • To preserve update sets on the target instance, back up the update sets before submitting the clone request.
  • Maintain the necessary data on the target instance by using data preservers. For example, when using a MID server you can avoid overwriting the MID Server [ecc_agent] table or save data from the Project Portfolio Management application.
  • A clone over a production instance is a full database copy from one instance to another. Email configuration is removed from the target instance. For more information, see Post-Cloning Quick Start.
  • All business rules, schedules, and other configuration records will exist on the target instance. Since email configuration will not exist, notifications and alerts are not sent, but all rules are normally executed.
  • Cloning does not require an outage on the source instance. Cloning requires replacing the entire database on the target instance, so the target instance is down while work occurs.
  • The source and target instances should be of the same build. Otherwise, the target instance is upgraded or downgraded automatically prior to cloning.
  • LDAP functionality remains enabled in the target instance only if it is enabled in the source instance.
  • Multiple clones cannot be scheduled for the same time.
  • Production clones are created during non-core business hours. Tables are backed up sequentially rather than simultaneously. Modifying data on the source instance during a clone can cause a data mismatch between records or duplicate record entries. This issue is minimized by running a clone after normal business hours.
When scheduling a clone over a production instance, the system automatically:
  • Determines the instance region.
  • Determines the non-core business hours for the region.
  • Restricts the possible cloning time that can be specified on the Clone Request form to be within the non-core hours.
  • Non-production instances can be cloned during business hours.
  • To change a clone request time, on top of updating the Change Request form, you need to call Customer Support. Updating the Change Request form without calling does not affect the scheduled clone time.


Scheduling cloning

Cloning takes place at the beginning of local, non-core business hours for the datacenter that hosts the customer instance.

The local (datacenter location) hours for cloning over a production instance are listed below. 

Region Non-Core Business Hours
Americas - East Coast 11 pm to 4 am Eastern time (UTC –5) and all day Saturdays and Sundays
Americas - West Coast 8 pm to 1 am Pacific time (UTC –8) and all day Saturdays and Sundays
Australia 11 pm to 4 am Australian Eastern time (UTC +10) and all day Saturdays and Sundays
Europe - Amsterdam 12 midnight to 5 am Central European time (UTC +1) and all day Saturdays and Sundays
Europe - London 11 pm to 4 am British time (UTC) and all day Saturdays and Sundays
Asia - Hong Kong 11 pm to 4 am Hong Kong time (UTC +8) and all day Saturdays and Sundays
Asia - Singapore 11 pm to 4 am Singapore standard time (UTC +8) and all day Saturdays and Sundays


Requesting a clone

Users with the customer_admin role can request a clone over a production or non-production instance. Users with the customer role can request a clone over a non-production instance only.

Setting the date and time when the clone should occur is an important step in requesting a clone. By default, the Date and Time field on the Clone Request form is set to two business days ahead. After you specify a Target Instance, a message with more information about clone timing may appear under the Date and Time field. Keep the following information in mind:

  • Source instances and non-production target instances can be cloned once within a 6-hour period.
  • Clones over a production instance can be performed once within a 24-hour period. The clone takes place at the start of non-core business hours of the datacenter hosting the target instance.
  • If a timing conflict is found, a message suggests an alternate date.

To request a clone:

  1. Navigate to hi.service-now.com.
  2. Click Service Catalog and, under Instance Management, click Clone Instance.

    Clone Request form for Enterprise customers

  3. In Source Instance, specify the instance that the clone should be taken from. For example, acmedev.
  4. In Target Instance, specify the instance to which the clone should be applied. For example, acmetest.
  5. Select any Clone Options:
    • Preserve instance theme: Retain the theme CSS elements, colors, and banner displays.
    • Include Audit data: Retain audit information from the sys_audit table such as activity logs.Include System Logs: Retain system log information stored in the syslog table.
    • Include Import Sets: Retain import set data from the sys_import_set tables.
    • Copy Email to Target Instance: Retain email message data from the source instance sys_email tables.
  6. The Your Current Timezone field is automatically filled in based on the time zone specified in your user record.
  7. Set the Date and Time you want the clone process to take place. For example, 2013-02-28 14:00:00.
    The date and time must be at least 48 hours ahead of the current date and time. (By default, this field is set to 48 hours ahead.)
    If you selected a production instance in the Target Instance field, the clone can only be done during non-core business hours.
  8. Answer the question Are you sure you want to clone OVER your Production instance by using the choice list and selecting Yes.
  9. In the confirmation dialog box, click OK.
    The Change Request form appears with a set of messages at the top.

After you submit the Clone Request form, most fields on the resulting Change Request form are read-only. You can add users to the Watch list.


Monitoring clone progress

Users with the customer_admin role can monitor the progress of the cloning process by viewing the Change Request form.

  1. Navigate to hi.service-now.com.
  2. Click Open Issues.
  3. Click the change request Number for the clone.
    When the cloning process begins:
      • Actual work start field is updated with the time the cloning process began
      • Additional comments field is updated with Clone Started
      • State field changes to Work in Progress
    Every two hours during the cloning process, the Additional Comments field is updated with the message "X out of X tables copied."

    When the cloning process is complete:
      • Actual work end field is updated with the time the cloning process completed
      • Additional comments field is updated with the message Clone completed successfully
      • State field changes to Closed Complete

  4. [Optional] Enter text in the Additional comments field if there is more information you need to add.


Canceling a clone request

If you need to modify a scheduled clone, cancel the change request and submit a new one. For example, to schedule a new cloning time, create a new change request with new time settings. If you require assistance, submit an incident and refer to the change request number or call Customer Support. You can cancel a clone request if the following conditions are met:

  • The scheduled clone start time is more than two hours in the future.
  • The change request associated with the clone request has a State of Open or Pending.

To cancel a clone request:

  1. Navigate to hi.service-now.com.
  2. Click Open Issues.
  3. Click the change request Number for the clone.
  4. Click Cancel Clone.


Clone requests prior to go-live

Be sure to coordinate your clone request with your Engagement Manager or Professional Services Consultant.


Post-clone process

After the clone is complete, the administrator must use the Post-Cloning Checklist to ensure that the cloned instance is ready for use.

In post-deployment, it is possible to expose deficiencies in the production environment that require emergency changes. Before making emergency changes, create an update set on the production instance. The update set can be used to update the development or test instance. Making changes to the production instance without an update set could force a clone back to development. Any changes made on the development instance prior to the clone are lost.


Article Information

Last Updated:2016-09-14 07:00:46