System clone

The System clone application allows users with the clone_admin or admin role to clone data from one instance to another.

This functionality is primarily used to clone a production instance over an existing sub-production instance before developing or testing changes. All clones are performed using the most recent nightly backup. This application applies to instances in Gen2 and later datacenters.

Figure 1. Clone process
Clone process overview

Clone from a backup

The platform uses data from the most recent nightly backup of the source instance when cloning. Backups used for cloning are at most 36 hours old.

After cloning from a backup, the target instance is unavailable for several minutes before the clone is marked as complete in the source instance. If the source and target instances are on different versions of the ServiceNow platform, the target instance is modified to match the source instance version during this time.

When starting a clone from a backup, the date and time the backup was taken, as well as periodic progress messages, appear in the Clone Log related list.

Figure 2. System clone backup log
Clone log backup record

Clone over production instances

Production instances cannot be used as the target instance for a clone after the instance is live. 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 for a production instance, the system automatically follows this process:
  • 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 the non-core hours.
Region Non-core business hours
Americas East Coast 23:00 to 04:00 Eastern time (UTC –5) and all day Saturdays and Sundays
Americas West Coast 20:00 to 01:00 Pacific time (UTC –8) and all day Saturdays and Sundays
Australia 23:00 to 04:00 Australian Eastern time (UTC +10) and all day Saturdays and Sundays
Europe Amsterdam 00:00 to 05:00 Central European time (UTC +1) and all day Saturdays and Sundays
Europe London 23:00 to 04:00 British time (UTC) and all day Saturdays and Sundays
Asia Hong Kong 23:00 to 04:00 Hong Kong time (UTC +8) and all day Saturdays and Sundays
Asia Singapore 23:00 to 04:00 Singapore standard time (UTC +8) and all day Saturdays and Sundays