Clone prod environment to dev (or other)

Ever wondered how you can clone your productive environment to your development environment to work, test and develop with real data?

That’s what we want in our company. For now we made all changes in the productive environment, as the initial configuration. But after the go live, we wanted to test the changes and planned improvements for the ServiceNow experience before we implement those in our productive instance.

Note: The cloning process in ServiceNow is handled as a change request in the HI portal.

Clone process

In the following image you’ll find the clone process.

Clone process overview

The following tasks will be performed of the ServiceNow platform:

  1. Generates a file to preserve operational data on the target server. This file contains the data preserved by data preservers.
  2. Copies the database schema from the source instance to the target instance.
  3. Create tables in the target instance database using the source instance table definitions.
  4. Copies data from the most recent nightly backup of the source instance to the target instance database.
    Certainly large tables are normally excluded. These include audit, log, and email tables.
  5. Briefly disables UI traffic and requests to the target instance server.
  6. Displays the message Clone in progress… to any user accessing the target instance.
  7. Restores operational data preserved from the target instance.
  8. Runs any post-clone cleanup scripts on the target instance.
  9. Briefly suspends all email functions on the target instance.
  10. Queues any event to regenerate text indexes.
  11. Enables UI traffic and requests to the target instance server.

What you’ll need:

Roles: Clone_admin
URL of target instance
Admin username and password of target instance

Note: The target cannot be a live production instance

Note: Ensure the target instance, whether dev, test, stage or other, has the system property glide.db.clone.allow_clone_target enabled.

After you provided all information, we will prepare the cloning process.

Source instance:

Co create a target, go to the module Administration -> Clone Targets and hit new.

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Select the target instance

Now we created a target entry, we will request the clone process. Therefore navigate to System Clone -> Request Clone.

You are asked to provide the target instance. Therefore select the previous created instance.

In the next field, you can define a schedules start time for the clone process.

Now a form is displayed where you have to set the necessary information:

Field Description
Target instance Select the previous created instance as target.
Clone Schedules Start time Note: I’d like to recommend to clone the instance outside the business hours due to performance issues of the productive, source instance.
Email upon completion Email recipient when the clone is done or failed

Clone options

Field Description
Exclude tables specified in Exclusion List Prevent cloning records from the source instance specified in the System Clone > Exclude Tables module. Use this option to create empty but usable tables on the target instance. By default, the system excludes tables for auditing, license usage, logging, and notifications. This option is selected by default. Note: This option is not supported by the legacy clone engine.
Exclude audit and log data Prevents cloning audit and log records from the source instance. Use this option to create empty but usable audit and log tables on the target instance. This option is selected by default.
Exclude large attachment data Prevents the cloning of large attachments such as video files, image files, and other typically large binary file types. Excludes all common binary file types, regardless of file size. When selected, the clone also excludes attachments from the Attachments [sys_attachment] and Attachment Documents [sys_attachment_doc] tables that meet all these criteria.
The attachment table_name value does not indicate it is a small file. Small attachments have table name values that start with ZZ_.
The attachment data type value indicates it is a large file such as application or video.
The attachment table_name is not one of these system tables: sys_certificate, ecc_agent_jar, ecc_agent_mib, sys_store_app, or invisible.sys_store_app.
Amount of data copied from large tables Select the number of days of historical data to clone from large source tables, including task, pa_scores, and metric_instance. By default, the target instance receives the latest 90 days of historical data from the source instance.
Preserve theme Preserves the theme and CSS elements on the target clone.
Preserve users and related tables Prevents Users and user-related tables from being overwritten on the target clone.
Clone frequency* Specify how often this target automatically receives clone data. For more information about scheduling cloning, see Schedule cloning.
No. of occurrences* Specify the number of automatic clonings. The maximum value is 9.

*This is not necessary in our use-case.

System Clone 
Cloning copies configuration and application data from the source instance to the target instance (More info). Backup 
any unpublished custom applications and update sets tkfore requesting a clone (More info) 
* Target 
* Clone Scheduled Start Time 
Email upon completion 
Exclude tables 
Amount of data tables 
Last 90 days 
and tables 

After you provided all information and hit the submit button, you are asked to authenticate with the credentials of the target instance admin.

Machine generated alternative text:
Authenticate Target - 
To clone to an instance, ycnl must have admin privileges on the target instance 
Instance URL: https:/, 
Username: admin 
Machine generated alternative text:
Any update sets, development work, and data in the target instance will be 
Do you want to proceed? 

When everything is prepared, you’ll receive change request notifications for your clone request. Those notifications are sent from the HI portal.

I’d like to show you this notifications, but there are sensitive data contained, so you’ll need to view those on your own. 😉

Cancel a clone

Required role:

In some cases you have to cancel a clone process for a reason. To cancel the clone, you simply go to the module System Clone -> Live Clones -> Active Clones. You’ll find a list with the active clones. Now open the wanted clone. The option to cancel a clone, you find on the Related Links section. Be careful, the clone process is directly canceled. You won’t receive any confirmation page.

= System Clone I clone_request view•l 
Clonng copies configuration and application data from the source instance to the target instance (Yore info). Backup 
any unpu%hed custom applications and update sets before requesting a clone (More info) 
* Target in 
* Clone Scheduled Start Tirne 
Email upon completion 
Related Links 
Cancel Clone

Duration and completion

The duration of the progress depends on your amount of data and which tables you defined for the cloning.

For comparison, we have productive data from two months and not excluded any table. In our case, the cloning took about 00:45h for completion. You can see the history as well as the Clone Logs in the System Clone -> Live Clones -> Clone History module.


After clone completion, you have up to contact ServiceNow Customer Support and request a rollback of the target instance to its pre-clone state. You are notified when the rollback is complete.

Referred Links

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