• Article
  • Nov.7.2017

Jira migrations: What you need to know for Server and Cloud

  • Nov.7.2017
  • Reading time mins

With most Jira migrations we have a few simple questions: Why do I want to migrate? Should I actually migrate? How do I migrate? Having suitable information to correctly answer these questions is key to a successful migration.

In theory migrations are easy, however from our experience in practice they can be far from. I hope this article gives some insight into what is typically required and how to go about planning and executing a Jira migration.

With that in mind, we should start with a quick Cloud vs. Server overview.

Jira Cloud vs. Jira Server

Jira Cloud and Jira Server, although the same application can have very different use cases and functionalities. Choosing which one is correct for you in can be tricky – and who knows if it’ll still be the correct choice in three years’ time. Atlassian publishes plenty of material on the pros and cons of each Jira deployment, however for most it boils down to one of the following topics:

Size Supporting licenses up to 2000 users and 25GB-100GB total storage, can be an issue for some larger organizations and specific use cases. In general the choice is yours here, unless you’re considering Data Center.
Functionality Although Cloud boasts some built-in functionality over Server, such as switching users for Jira Admin’s and SSL, in general Cloud loses out here. Plenty of extra functionality can be utilized within Jira server; LDAP integrations, Project/Workflow importing, personalized domains and SMTP configurations to name a few. Jira Server also gives you more technical freedom with performance, logging and app integrations.
Overheads and Maintenance Cloud gets the one up on server here, with a five minute deployment, prices from $10 and upgrades taken care of by Atlassian. Along with the license costs for a server deployment you’ll also need to factor in hosting/hardware, security, technical skills along with managing your own installation and upgrades.

All in all, the choice between Jira Cloud and Jira Server isn’t an easy one, so it’s no surprise migrations between the two are so common.

Why and should I migrate?

In general the main reasons for considering a migration is change and consolidation. Change in requirements are typically driven by business growth, skill sets, business/customer requirements and performance problems – although I’m sure you can think of many more. Another common driving factor is consolidating multiple disperse Jira instances, increasing visibility and decreasing management overheads.

Deciding whether or not to migrate is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. The likelihood is you’ll gain in certain areas and lose in others, the trade-off must be fully considered. For example, you might gain some desired functionality in moving over to Server but lose app compatibility and incur data loss, such as with Tempo and Zephyr. Or maybe you have the requirement for Jira Server functionality, but with a lack of technical skills and hardware to manage your own deployment a third party hosting solution may not be best for you. Ultimately, fully understanding your current Jira configuration, utilizing Atlassian documentation, the Marketplace and reviewing current and known bugs in Jira via Atlassian support will be vital in this decision making process.

What to consider for your Jira migration?

So you’ve decided to go ahead with the migration, there’s a few core things to consider irrespective of which migration direction. If you’re going from Cloud to Server, you’re probably going to be starting from scratch – so setting up and managing the below items will be required. The reverse direction, no initial set-up is likely however versions may need to be upgraded before any migration can take place.


In order to correctly migrate in either direction, Cloud to Server or Server to Cloud, having the current version of Jira is critical. As Atlassian manages the upgrade and deployment of Jira Cloud, it is always up to date. That being said, the version of Jira Server you migrate from or migrate to must be the most recent version available. You will need to consider when migrating to Cloud, if your current Jira Server needs to be upgraded prior to migration and the ramifications that come along with that. You may also want to consider setting up a temporary Jira server instance to perform the data migration so production is not directly affected.


For a production environment, you’ll need a database and one that is supported with the latest Jira. Multiple options are available: PostgreSQL, Oracle, MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server. Make sure you check the versions by referring to Atlassian’s “supported platforms” documentation.


Hardware and software needs to be evaluated here. The supported operating system is simple; you’ve got Windows, Linux / Solaris, AWS and Azure. Linux is recommended but really just take your pick, remembering you’ll need the skills to manage this. Migrating to server you need to consider the hardware you use, this is a more difficult question to answer as it will directly impact the performance of Jira.


With Cloud, managing Java isn’t required. On server however you need to do this yourself, which is a key part of any Jira Server deployment.

Integrations / Apps

Checking each and every integration and app prior to any migration will be critical. Some of them will be supported on Jira Server but not on Cloud and vice versa. You may have to migrate app data separately from Jira’s core functionalities or data loss could occur.

Back Ups

Do not overlook a back up management during migration and maintenance. Again, with Cloud this is taken care of by Atlassian yet Server on the other hand it’s not.

These are just some of the key things to consider throughout the migration process. As always, refer to the official Atlassian documentation for your respective Jira version.

Migrating from Jira Server to Jira Cloud and Jira Cloud to JIRA Server

In general the complete migration process will be specific and depend on your own Jira configuration. However, a high level process for a simple Jira instance can be visualized here:


As you can see, migrating from Server to Cloud and Cloud to Server has some similarities and differences. Migrations will vary drastically for each Jira instance along with their complexity to complete. Before starting any migration the key is reviewing your current and target instance and allowing for adequate planning.

All the information you could need is out there – you can see the Jira Cloud to Server official migration documentation and the Jira Server to Cloud official migration documentation for a deeper dive on the subject. However, successfully completing a migration for most will be mission critical so getting it right first time is imperative. If you want to put your migration in the hands of our experts at Valiantys, just shoot us a message below!

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