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Migration strategies

In ArcGIS Enterprise, the term migration describes an organization's requirements to move an existing deployment, or portions of it, to a newer or alternate deployment or infrastructure. Migration strategies can be used to move existing content, users and groups, and software.

Common strategies

Architectural and migration needs vary from one organization to another, as do the respective strategies and solutions. The sections below outline common migration strategies and include links to tools, help documentation, blogs, and other resources to support your work in these areas.

Migrate content from one ArcGIS organization to another

This strategy may be helpful if your organization intends to do the following:

  • Promote content across individual organizations such as from development to staging to production.
  • Maintain select content in ArcGIS Enterprise while migrating a selection to ArcGIS Online or vice versa (for example, to deliver a combination of private and public items).
  • Maintain select content in one ArcGIS Enterprise deployment while migrating a selection to another ArcGIS Enterprise deployment (for example, within disconnected environments).

When copying or migrating content, you can use tools and resources in ArcGIS API for Python or the ArcGIS REST API:

  • The cloning content guide details how the clone_items() function is used across environments. The clone_items() function supports hosted services, web maps and apps, and other item types.
  • As of 10.8.1, the arcgis.gis.GroupMigrationManager.create() function is available to export group content from an ArcGIS Enterprise organization as a package. Administrators can use this function to extract selected group content and import it into another organization's group. This function provides support for hosted feature layers, web maps and apps, and other text-based items. Item IDs are maintained during migration.
  • As of 10.8.1, the arcgis.gis.GroupMigrationManager.load() function is available to import an exported package to an ArcGIS Enterprise organization as group content. Once imported, item ownership defaults to the administrator who imported the package. Items can then be assigned to other owners as needed.
  • As of 10.8.1, the and export and import group content operations can be used in the ArcGIS REST API to move content from one ArcGIS Enterprise organization to another. These operations are useful when moving content from a development to a staging environment or across disconnected environments.


While the scenarios above describe moving items across environments, sharing items across organizations is also common. In this case, items are replicated across environments, for example, to deliver and distribute public and private items across organizations. For this strategy, you can use distributed collaboration. Shared content can be sent from an ArcGIS Enterprise organization to another or from ArcGIS Enterprise to ArcGIS Online.

Migrate an existing deployment from one machine to another

This strategy may be helpful if your organization needs to move existing software components to newer hardware or a newer operating system. This strategy can be used for single or multiple machine deployments that are hosted on-premises or in the cloud.

  • To replace a machine in your deployment without losing content or interrupting service, use the Join Site operation to migrate software components to another machine. The Join Site operation is available in both ArcGIS Server and portal. Additional details are outlined in this blog and include steps to move an ArcGIS Data Store.
  • A slightly more involved workflow is to use the webgisdr utility. You may prefer this workflow, as it doesn't impact the work in your production environment. Additional details are outlined in this blog.

Migrate an existing on-premises deployment to a cloud deployment

This strategy may be helpful if your organization intends to do the following:

  • Add new capabilities.
  • Improve system performance and capacity.
  • Reduce system cost.
  • Improve or comply with security standards.

To determine whether this migration strategy is appropriate for your organization, review the following:

Upgrades and migration

Upgrading ArcGIS Enterprise software is not a migration strategy. When you upgrade ArcGIS Enterprise (including base deployment components, server roles, and so on), the goal is typically to gain access to new features, capabilities, and apps. For example, an organization may be using version 10.7 but is planning to upgrade to gain access to new features or apps available in 10.8.1. In this case, the existing deployment is backed up and the newer software version is installed on top of the existing software to bring it up to date.

However, the need to upgrade software is often done in conjunction with the implementation of a migration strategy.