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rjday1.3964593263009905E12rjday1.3964593263009905E12 

I am looking for the best way to make a complete clone of a salesforce instance including all fields, objects, scripts and configuration, but MINUS any data or user accounts.

I am looking for the best way to make a complete clone of a salesforce instance including all fields, objects, scripts, formulae and layouts but MINUS any data or user accounts. The NEW instance would need to be totally separate from the original and needs to retain the ability to still be further customized if necessary. I have already found some clues by reading material at the following links:

https://success.salesforce.com/answers?id=90630000000hPT7AAM

http://salesforce.stackexchange.com/questions/47/copying-metadata-and-code-from-one-production-org-to-another

http://blog.jeffdouglas.com/2008/07/15/migrating-salesforcecom-configurations-with-the-metadata-api-forcecom-migration-tool/

But I still need more details.  Is a specific minimum edition of salesforce required? Is there a way to also retain all the plugins that were in the original so that they are also in the new instance?

The use case here is the following: We have spent an enormous amount of time extensively customizing salesforce to get it to record and do exactly what we want for our specific business. Now we need to deploy salesforce to a totally new business so that the second salesforce instance does exactly the same thing as the first, but the new business cannot be allowed to see any of the customer data in the original salesforce instance (or vice versa).  Any ideas?
@LaceySnr - Matt Lacey@LaceySnr - Matt Lacey
You'll want to ensure that the new business has the same edition (and thus the same restrictions/limits) as the existing one. Change sets are a great way to move configuration, or you can deploy using the migration tool or an IDE like the Force.com IDE or MavensMate None of these tools will move any data or user accounts. Apps that are installed will not be moved and will need to be installed in the new org separately.

One question though: are the two businesses totally separate or are they related? It is possible to have both using the same org and use sharing rules or territories to split the data visibility, it might be worth considering in order to save on maintenance of two orgs.