Being able to copy a whole environment over to another one is a very useful feature and something that is nearly almost needed in Dynamics 365 and/or Power Platform implementations. Doing so in the admin center is a very straightforward process but you have to be patient since the actual copy is time-consuming. The duration is of course dependent on the amount of data in the database when you chose to copy all the data.
Before you copy an environment you need to have few things in mind
The first thing you need to make sure of is that you have a target environment that you are going to overwrite with application elements and possibly all the data from the database as well. If you don’t have a target environment then you need to start by creating one.
You need to stay within these boundaries for the copy process.
- You cannot overwrite production environments so you won’t see any environments of type production.
- You can only copy to an environment in the same tenant and region.
- Components that have not been added to a solution (including canvas apps, flows, custom connectors, and connections) might not be part of the copy. You should validate your app’s post copy.
- You cannot copy from or to a default type environment.
- Depending on the amount of copied and restored audit data, copy and restore operations can take up to 8 hours.
Copy everything or just customizations and schemas
During the copy process, you can choose from copying everything from the source environment or just customizations and schemas, so let’s look at the difference.
When you copy everything that includes all application elements, Dataverse schemas, data, users and all customizations from the source environment. Copying everything is great for the following
- Data migration
- UAT – User acceptance testing
- Upgrade testing
- Preview in production (TAP/EA)
Copy customizations and schemas
When you select this copy option only users, customizations, and database schema from the source environment and is suitable for:
- Iterative team development
- Partner/ISV solutions
- Proof of concept
- Functional testing
- Master configuration
How do you copy an environment
The environment copy function is done from the Environment management in the Power Platform Admin Center. Click the three dots for the environment you want to copy and from the context menu select “Copy“
This opens a fly-in dialog from the right with all the options for the copy function
- The copy environment dialog
- The copy options
- Copy everything
- Only copy customizations and database schema
- Select the environment to copy
- Select a security group for the source environment
- Edit additional details
The copy process can take a good 30 minutes for an environment only with the standard demo data. So expect a good time for the copy process to finish for an environment that has a considerable amount of business data.
For more details read the Microsoft documentation