Backup and Recovery

How to Protect Your Data When Upgrading to ServiceNow Utah

Mark Hambelton
International Solution Engineer - ServiceNow, Own Company
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To help its customers meet evolving requirements and stay current, ServiceNow releases new versions of its platform twice per year. Their latest release, Utah, is planned for March 2023.

Staying current with the Now Platform has several benefits. By keeping your ServiceNow environment up to date, you maximize your investment, reduce the risk of encountering issues that have already been resolved, and avoid running on an unsupported release.

Upgrading to new family releases is crucial to getting the most from your ServiceNow implementation. However, if not planned and executed correctly, it causes a negative impact on your users and data. Each ServiceNow release includes major enhancements, so you should always consider the effect of new functionality on your business.

Below, we offer a few suggestions on minimizing risk when upgrading your instance to ServiceNow Utah and how having a backup solution can help during the process.

Tips for upgrading your ServiceNow instance

Read the release notes

It’s important to plan thoroughly when performing an upgrade. To ensure a successful upgrade, you should read the release notes and become familiar with any new features. If you haven’t upgraded in a while, you should also be aware of any changes included in previous releases.

Make use of a dev instance

In ServiceNow, a sub-production instance is a clone of your production instance, including all configuration, code, and data. By cloning your production instance and performing your upgrade on the clone, you can simulate an upgrade without disrupting your production environment and day-to-day operations.

Review customizations

One of the benefits of ServiceNow is that it is customizable. However, your customizations are not overwritten when you do an upgrade, they’re “skipped.” That means you’ll have to review each of the skips and decide whether to revert, merge, or continue with those changes. Keep in mind that this step can take minutes to days depending on how many changes were made to the system.

How a backup and recovery solution can help during the upgrade process

In addition to the best practices above, you should also be able to back up your data before upgrading to the ServiceNow Utah release. Here are a few ways that having a backup and recovery solution can save your organization time and effort in the long run.

Back up your data in sub-prod instances

A backup solution will allow you to back up your sub-production instances and monitor any changes to your metadata as you test new features. In addition, using a backup and recovery solution can streamline the testing process by allowing you to backup and restore test data for a consistent baseline for regression testing.

Protect customizations

ServiceNow has countless configuration and customization options. Instances continually evolve by adding and changing metadata to make customizations that meet your company's needs. You can imagine how manually rebuilding all of your metadata would be a significant and costly disruption to your company. In this use case, your backups can be used to restore any customizations or configurations that may have been lost in the upgrade process to Utah.

Run an on-demand backup before upgrading in production

No matter how extensively you validate changes in your sub-production instances, mistakes are bound to happen. It’s a good idea to perform an on-demand backup before proceeding with any major change to your ServiceNow instance, like a platform upgrade. In fact, ServiceNow themselves recommend in their “Securing the Now Platform” whitepaper that “it may be desirable to use more traditional data backup and recovery mechanisms…in circumstances where a customer deletes some data inadvertently, or where a customer’s data integration or automation is misconfigured or malfunctions, resulting in data being rendered unusable or inaccessible.”

Own Recover for ServiceNow

When done right, upgrading your ServiceNow instance can maximize the value you get from the platform. Own Recover can give you peace of mind throughout the upgrade process to ServiceNow Utah by providing a best-in-class backup and recovery strategy for all your ServiceNow instances.

To learn more about Recover for ServiceNow, check out our ebook, "The Complete Guide to Backup and Recovery for ServiceNow".

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