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ArcGIS Enterprise backups

You can create backups of your ArcGIS Enterprise deployment and restore the most recent backup in the event of a failure or corruption. This allows you to recover the portal items, services, and data that existed at the time you created the backup.

Restoring backups to recover your deployment is a good option if your users will accept some amount of downtime and possible data loss, and your organization does not have the infrastructure or resources to devote to a highly available deployment.

Backups can also be kept even if you implement other disaster recovery strategies. They provide extra insurance that you can recover your deployment if your primary strategy fails. For example, if you maintain a replicated deployment and both your primary and replicated deployments fail at the same time (perhaps they were running on servers in the same building and the building loses power or there's an electrical surge that destroys both servers), you still have a backup to which you can resort.

What's included in the backup?

Use the webgisdr utility to export backup files of the following components of your ArcGIS Enterprise deployment:

  • Your portal items and settings
  • GIS services and settings
  • The relational data store and tile cache data store

You have the option to create incremental backups between full backups. When you create an incremental backup, the backup file contains all changes made since the last full backup.

The backup created with the webgisdr utility does not include the following:

  • Map service cache tiles and hosted tile layer caches—If you have either of these, make a backup copy of all directories where your cache tiles are stored (for example, the entire arcgiscache directory under C:\arcgisserver\directories\ or <ArcGIS Server installation directory>/arcgis/server/usr/directories). These directories contain the cache tiles and the tiling scheme file conf.xml. The cache directories may also contain a file geodatabase, status.gdb, which contains information about what tiles have been built. When you restore the site, move or copy the information back to the original arcgiscache directory.
  • Referenced data sources for web services—For file-based data sources, you need to make backup copies of those files. For data stored in a database, use the tools of your database management system to create database backups.
  • Spatiotemporal big data store backups—If you have a spatiotemporal big data store registered with your hosting server, create backups using the ArcGIS Data Store backupdatastore utility.


To create incremental backups with the the webgisdr utility, you must enable point-in-time recovery, or the utility will fail.

Also note that the webgisdr utility must have access to at least one of the machines in the hosting server site through the ArcGIS Server Administrator Directory URL and the primary data store to succeed. To determine if the ArcGIS Server Administrator Directory URL is accessible, open the ArcGIS Server Administrator Directory from a browser on the machine where you will run the webgisdr utility.

How often should I back up my ArcGIS Enterprise deployment?

The more frequently you create backups, the less data loss you incur if your primary deployment fails. However, it is not practical (or often even possible) to do continual backups. Keep the following in mind when deciding how frequently to create backups of your deployment:

  • Each backup takes time to create. The amount of time it takes increases as the amount and size of your content increases. You can decrease that time by doing incremental backups between full backups.
  • Backup creation is a network-intensive process and could affect network performance. It would be best to perform full backups while there is less traffic on your network, such as at night, and perform incremental backups during periods of lower traffic during the day, such as during the staff's lunch hour. You can run the webgisdr tool as a scheduled task within Windows Task Scheduler. Additionally, the tool can be moved to and run from a different machine than the portal installation, as long as communication is open between the machine where the tool is run and the ArcGIS Enterprise components.
  • Even though backup files are compressed, they still take storage space. You have to maintain enough space in your secure backup location to store your backup files.

How long should I keep backup files?

Deciding how long to keep backup files depends on the amount of free disk space you have and how much flexibility you require for recovery options. If you won't need to restore to a time before the last full backup, you can keep the last full backup and the incremental backups created since then. Incremental backups created with the webgisdr tool are cumulative; you can apply the most recent incremental backup to the last full backup. Therefore, at minimum, you need to retain the last full backup and the most recent incremental backup created since that full backup.

You could also move a few sets of older backups to another location, such as storage media. That way, if you discover that key data and services were deleted prior to the last full backup, you'll still have the files available.


The webgisdr utility records the software versions of the ArcGIS Enterprise components when you create a backup. The deployment to which you restore must be at the same version it was when you created the backup. Additionally, you must restore to the same type of operating system. For example, you cannot create a backup of an ArcGIS Enterprise deployment on Linux and restore it to Windows machines.