Best Practices for Cloning an ArcGIS Organization

Moving content from one ArcGIS Organization to another can be a large undertaking. This guide is intended to serve as GEO Jobe’s recommended best practices when cloning content from one ArcGIS Organization to another. While it is possible to take other approaches, these are the recommended processes based on the experience of several support technicians, the application developers who designed GEO Jobe’s products, and our Enterprise team.

Please read through this guide and ensure you understand the steps before beginning your migration. If you have additional questions or need support, please feel free to reach out to us here.

NOTE: This guide assumes the ‘target' ArcGIS Organization has already been set up.


Clean Up Content

As your ArcGIS Organization ages, it is likely that you will have broken, out of date, or unused content. Content that has broken links or other errors will not clone successfully. Depreciated or unused content will just take up extra space in your organization. We always recommend cleaning up the content in your ArcGIS Organization before starting a cloning operation. To support this process, we have created Clean My Org.

Set up Custom Roles

On the destination server, be sure to set up any Custom Roles that may be needed. This will make rewiring user roles easier once restoration begins.

Supporting Content

Some content will need to be copied over, backed up, or migrated manually. These are typically things that other content will rely on being in place before they are created, but are not something that BMO currently supports (due to how publishing content works with the various APIs).


Create any needed geodatabases in the new environment. Migrate copies of all required data to the new environment and load into the appropriate locations.

ArcMap Maps and ArcGIS Pro Products

If needed, migrate copies of maps / supporting files to the new environment to support service publication.

Publish Map and Feature Services

This section only pertains to when cloning from one ArcGIS Enterprise Organization to another ArcGIS Enterprise Organization.

When you publish a service that is not a Hosted Service, you set up your data (such as an Enterprise Geodatabase) and point a layer in your ArcGIS Organization to look at it. When you are migrating content from one Organization to another, you want to make sure the data is set up properly in the target Organization as well. In the case of non-Hosted Services, you will need to republish the services in the new ArcGIS Organization in order to ensure the target Organization will be able to access the information properly.

You may need to publish these from .mxds or ArcGIS Pro projects. They will need their configurations pointed at the appropriate resources in the target ArcGIS Organization.

Backup My Org

Backup My Org has the ability to clone content from one ArcGIS Organization to another. While it is hypothetically possible to clone an entire Organization all in one go, we highly recommend breaking the process down into several smaller steps. This allows for a more stable migration, easier rewiring of various components after the cloning, and better error management.

After cloning content, there will often be a post-processing step. During this process, you can review URLs, Esri IDs, and other content that BMO could not directly rewire. Here you can specify custom URLs, IDs, or other changes that may need to be updated in the target ArcGIS Organization.

Cloning Users

In Backup My Org (BMO), you will want to begin by cloning the Users you want to move from the source Organization to the target Organization.

When you clone a user from one Organization to another, the target Organization will check to see if there’s already someone with the same username.

  • If there isn’t a match, BMO will suggest you create a new user in the target Org with that user’s information.

  • If it does find a match, BMO will suggest you restore the user from the source Org to that user. If you do so, the user in the target Org will have their information overwritten with the information from the user in the source Org. If you do not want to do this, we recommend you create a new user instead (you will be prompted to provide an alternative username for the new user).

Clone Groups

After you have finished cloning the users, you may begin cloning the groups. At this time, we do not have any recommended special considerations for cloning groups.

Clone Items

We highly recommend cloning items in batches based on the item type. By breaking the cloning part into segments this way, you ensure that any supporting content (like a web map) has been cloned before something that needs them (like an application). This also gives you the opportunity to identify any hiccups in the cloning process and address them before they become more complicated.

We recommend you clone items in the following order:

NOTE: while there is a notable variety of item types, they are not all supported for cloning in Backup My Org. This may be because the REST API currently doesn’t share enough information for the item to be cloned successfully, because the Products team is still developing and testing the workflow, or a variety of other reasons. If you would like to double check the list of unsupported item types, you may do so here. If there is an item type you specifically need help with, reach out and we will see what we can do.


Test to make sure content is working properly in the new environment.