Best Practices for Cloning (Historical)

UPDATE: As of May 2022, Admin Tools 2.0 no longer supports the cloning operation. Backup My Org is now the recommended product to handle the migration of items, users, and groups from one organization to another. Please see the previous link for more information on the capabilities of this product.

Admin Tools Cloning depends on complex logic and is not meant to be a "One Button-Push" silver bullet migration solution. Please refer to this resource to ensure the best possible migration of your content. 

Have the correct Admin Tools licenses and permissions for your Platforms.

It should be noted that you will need an Admin Tools for ArcGIS licensed connector (ArcGIS Enterprise or ArcGIS Online) to your respective platforms for both the origin of the content, as well as the destination where the content is migrating to. Having only one license for the destination OR the origin, or the free license of Admin Tools for ArcGIS will not be sufficient to clone content from one platform to another. Likewise, you will need to be logged in as a native Admin (not a custom role) of the ArcGIS Organization to access the tools and perform the clone.

Understand the expectations and considerations before cloning.

Please make sure you have read and understand the Considerations Regarding Cloning (Historical) knowledge base article before attempting to perform your clone, as it is necessary to ensure the expectations of how cloning works and is handled. It is our intent to make absolutely clear, that the cloning workflow is not intended to be a "perfect" one-click solution to your content migration needs, and that there will be times that some items will simply not migrate over. We try to enhance the cloning workflow capability for each update to Admin Tools to handle more scenarios and specific items, but it there will be situations where you will need to rebuild items and applications where necessary.

Understand that Cloning is a "push" operation.

You will need to be logged in to the origin of your content when opening the Admin Tools application. Then, after selecting the Cloning Tool, you will be prompted to access and log in to the destination that the content will be cloned to.

Have a plan, and perform essential setup before you begin.

Please make sure you have read the How To Clone an Entire ArcGIS Organization (Historical) knowledge base article before attempting to perform your clone, as these steps represent the best workflow for migrating your desired content. It's important to understand that the tags for your content carry-over to your destination. Also these tags will be invaluable time-savers for post-cloning clean up of the destination, as you will be able to filter your items, and perform operations in bulk by using these tags.

Be aware of the dependencies of your content, and consider cloning in portions.

It is possible (and in many cases likely) that cloning A Web Map may "pull" an unknown number of dependencies with it. Even though this is intentional to streamline the migration of content from one platform to another, it is important to understand how much content you are pulling in one cloning operation. A good tool for this is the View Item Dependencies function. We strongly advise against attempting to clone all your items at once. Instead, start with five or so Web Maps, and use that as a baseline to determine how much content gets pulled, and how easy your browser and network handles this operation. There may also be times when the clone will fail on one particular item, and will result in the whole clone failing. Breaking up the workload will reduce the chances of repeating the same clone multiple times.

There may be times when you should work from the bottom of your dependencies chain and continue "up."

If you encounter issues where your cloning operation seems to hang, stall, or be slower than expected, instead of cloning over the Web Maps and have the dependencies move with it, try working from the bottom of the dependencies chain, and clone the services (in groups you feel are appropriate for your browser and/or network), knowing that when the web maps transfer, they will automatically search and identify the services that they consume, and wire themselves appropriately.

Understand that you will need to migrate all desired content before attempting to re-assign ownership of items.

As mentioned earlier, when the web maps transfer, they will automatically search and identify the services that they consume, and wire themselves appropriately. They do this not by item ID, but by searching for Item name and owner. Please see the How Cloning Handles Same Title, Same Owner Items (Historical) knowledge base article for more information about this. Attempting to transfer ownership and move items before you finish migrating all your content may result in duplicate items in your destination.

Troubleshoot Across Different Browsers, Your Network Security, and Current Version.

Cloning is a complex task requiring many moving parts involving network traffic and your various content. There may be times when a clone may not work for reasons including, but not limited to:

  • Network Security, such as popup blockers.
  • Browser Compatibility: Sometimes, your browser may update and impact the way cloning is handled across network traffic. It is suggested that the items in this operation be deleted from the destination, and to attempt to clone again in a different browser.
  • Your version of Admin Tools for ArcGIS (Enterprise) may be out of date. Because of the nature of distributing individually licensed builds, your application will eventually need to be updated to the latest version. You can always check the bottom right corner of your current Admin Tools page to check your version, and visit to verify the current distributed version number.

Be able to isolate "problematic" items.

There may be times when cloning will stall or fail on one particular item. Typically, if this happens, it is suggested that the items in this operation be deleted from the destination, and that you attempt to isolate the problematic item causing the issue. Once you find the problematic item, skip it, and save that item for when you are done with the rest of your migration. Afterwards, after everything else is moved, attempt to clone the individual item. If it still fails, you can perform the following test to see what's wrong:

Attempt to reproduce the problem in the Native ESRI User Interface:
1) Export the item as a File GeoDatabase (zip).
2) Import and Publish the File GeoDatabase to the destination.
If the ESRI Native User Interface cannot do this, neither can Admin Tools for cloning. This may be the result of an unsupported format, item corruption, or some other limitation. If you are able to individually import this item in the native ESRI interface, please let us know with as much detail as possible.

Other tools in the Admin Tools suite will help in both Pre-Cloning setup and Post-Cloning clean up.

As mentioned earlier, tagging your items, users, and groups will be invaluable for saving time and organizing the cloning workflow. Transferring item ownership and other such tasks can also be streamlined using the Admin Tools, and will be very useful for content management well after the migration is finished. Again, it is important to ensure that all desired content is migrated before attempting to re-assign ownership to avoid duplication of content.

Admin-level ArcGIS knowledge and expertise, as well as general familiarity with your platform and content is implied when performing a Clone and using Admin Tools.

Admin Tools is a valuable and powerful suite of tools used to streamline and make an ArcGIS Administrator's job easier and more time-efficient. As with any tool, care and understanding (of how your content generally works in your ArcGIS Organization) is important. There is no "undo" function in Admin Tools. Destructive tasks, such deletion of Origin content after migration should not be performed until 100% confidence of migrated items is established.