Unfortunately, organizations cannot backup ServiceNow on-demand when using the platform’s out-of-the-box backup and restore functionality. 

By default, ServiceNow automatically creates instance backups on predefined schedules. While ServiceNow states that these backups occur during non-peak hours, this may not align with your organization’s requirements.

For example, many organizations opt to run reports outside of working hours due to the strain it puts on the platform. If the backup and reporting schedule overlap, then performance degradation could lead to reporting delays, or cause the report to fail outright. 

Fortunately, ServiceNow users can create on-demand backups using purpose-built backup and disaster recovery solutions, including a ServiceNow-native application.

Such solutions provide more control over when and how backups are created, and how data is restored when a recovery is required. 

Other ServiceNow Backup and Restore Limitations

ServiceNow’s backup and restore limitations extend beyond lacking the option to create backups on demand.

Other common issues ServiceNow users face when using ServiceNow’s OOTB backup and restore features include:

Backup retention limitations 

ServiceNow’s default backup retention period is short (only 14 days), significantly increasing the risk of data loss should the lost data fall outside the 14-day window. As for differential backups that contain recent data updated on the PROD instance, ServiceNow only retains them for seven days.

Increased risk of data loss

ServiceNow decides the best time for daily backups, which may lead to the loss of “delta” data – data entered since the given backup was made.

Consequently, ServiceNow experts recommend restoring a whole instance from a ServiceNow AHA backup as ​​a last resort – the impact of a backup restore request could be more damaging than the cause for backup initiation.

No control over what is included in the backup, or what is restored

ServiceNow does not provide a means of customizing the contents of a backup or a restore. Meaning an organization cannot recover a specific data set, and would instead have to restore the whole instance, increasing the risk of delta data loss.

Instance is unavailable during the restoration process

When restoring from a ServiceNow created backup, the instance becomes inaccessible for a time, disrupting operations and impacting both employees and customers. 

Backup ServiceNow On-Demand with a ServiceNow-Native Application

Fortunately, ServiceNow users who wish to backup their data on-demand can use the ServiceNow-native application – DataSync Snapshot, from ServiceNow partners, Perspectium. 

DataSync Snapshot provides ServiceNow users with more control over the backup and restore process, allowing users to create as many backups as they require, when they’re required, and then retain them for as long as necessary. 

By allowing users to schedule backups at a time and frequency that aligns with their organization’s needs, DataSync Snapshot greatly improves operational resilience. 

And DataSync Snapshot provides much more than simply on-demand backups. The table below highlights how ServiceNow’s OOTB capabilities compare to DataSync Snapshot:

ServiceNow’s OOTB Backup and RestorePerspectium’s DataSync Snapshot
What is backed up?Entire instanceControlled by the user:
Including forms, properties, scripts, business rules, referenced records & schemas
How often does the backup occur?Daily & WeeklyControlled by the user
When does the backup occur?Determined by ServiceNowControlled by the user
How long are backups retained?Daily – 6 daysWeekly – 14 daysControlled by the user
Where can backups be restored to?Originating instanceControlled by the user: (Any instance you like)
What is the risk of data loss?High:The entire instance is overwrittenLow:
Due to granular backups and indefinite retention period
Is the instance available during a restore?NoYes!

What Is DataSync Snapshot?

DataSync Snapshot works like a time machine for ServiceNow data. 

Instead of using web services or API calls for data replication, DataSync Snapshot leverages “Push technology” that promotes higher throughput and faster backup and restore process. 

With DataSync Snapshot, users can create as many backups as they like – either on-demand or to an automated schedule they decide. 

Users can customize the contents of a backup manually, or use condition-based filtering to automatically capture data that meets particular rules in the backup.

As users gain more control over what data is backed up and when, they have greater confidence in the availability and resilience of their ServiceNow data.

DataSync Snapshot benefits include:

  • Control over backup schedules and the ability to backup on-demand.
  • Control over what data is backed up and restored, eliminating the “all or nothing” approach.
  • Greater protection against manual errors, malicious activity, accidental deletion, viruses/ransomware, and natural disasters.
  • Control over where ServiceNow data is recovered to (the originating instance or elsewhere).
  • Complete data recovery (including metadata and attachments) or selective recovery – whatever is needed. 
  • Retain backups indefinitely and restore lost data beyond ServiceNow’s 14-day retention period.
  • Maintain referential integrity when restoring to preserve parent-child and recursive relationships.

Perspectium and its ServiceNow-native applications were created by ServiceNow’s founding developer, David Loo to address common difficulties in getting data out of ServiceNow. 

Perspectium’s ServiceNow-native delivery means the applications can avoid issues associated with external Rest API, and transfer massive amounts of data (over 1 billion records per month) without impacting performance.

This makes the applications and service ideal for organizations with large data volumes and advanced data backup needs. 

Curious to learn more about our DataSync Snapshot as the ultimate BDR solution for ServiceNow data? Talk to us.

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