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  • Dec.3.2019

What is a Jira Enterprise Release and why it matters

  • Dec.3.2019
  • Reading time mins

Atlassian Enterprise releases are designed specifically for larger, more complex instances – ones that require significant planning and effort to upgrade. We understand that upgrades for such instances can be few and far between, and so every upgrade needs to count. If you can manage only one feature release upgrade every year, make sure you upgrade to the latest Enterprise release.

To avoid the risk of an urgent upgrade that would remedy an outdated and unstable version, Atlassian instances must be updated regularly and planned well in advance. Discover in this article the different release types, when to choose Enterprise Releases and how to make your upgrades easier.

What are the different release types?

Every Atlassian product has three different release types: PlatformFeature, and Bug fix. A Platform release contains significant or breaking changes. For example changes or removal of existing APIs, significant changes to the user experience, or removal of a major feature. A Feature release can contain new features, changes to existing features, changes to supported platforms (such as databases, operating systems, Git versions), or removal of features. These were previously referred to as ‘major’ releases by most products. Finally, a Bug fix release can contain bug fixes, stability and performance improvements. Depending on the nature of the bug fixes they may introduce minor changes to existing features, but do not include new features or high-risk changes, so can be adopted quickly. We recommend regularly upgrading to the latest bug fix release for your current version. These were previously referred to as ‘maintenance’ releases by most products. You can easily differentiate them by their version number.

How is an Atlassian Enterprise release different from another release?

Enterprise releases are for Server and Data Center customers who prefer to allow more time to prepare for upgrades to new feature versions, but still need to receive critical bug fixes. If you only upgrade to a new feature version about once a year, an Enterprise release may be a good fit for your organization. For Jira Software and Confluence, Atlassian will:

  • Designate a feature release as an Enterprise release, at least every 12 months.
  • Backport critical security fixes, as outlined in our current security bug fix policy, and fixes relating to stability, data integrity or critical performance issues.
  • Make bug fix releases available for the designated version until it reaches end of life.
  • Provide a change log of all changes between one Enterprise release and the next to make upgrading easier.

Not all bug fixes will be backported. Atlassian target the bugs and regressions that they deem most critical, focusing on stability, data integrity, or performance issues. There may also be some fixes that they choose not to backport due to risk, complexity or because the fix requires changes to an API, code used by third-party apps (also known as add-ons), or infrastructure that Atlassian would usually reserve for a platform release.

For Jira Software Data Center customers, Atlassian endeavour to allow zero downtime upgrades between one Enterprise release and the next Enterprise release, but can’t guarantee that downtime will not be required, depending on the nature of the changes. The change log will indicate if a zero downtime upgrade will be available.

Should I go for the Enterprise release or the latest feature release?

It depends on how long you intend to stay on a specific release or your ability to perform updates.

The latest feature release will always contain the most up-to-date features and bug fixes. Atlassian always recommend customers upgrade to the latest feature release, to take advantage of the full value the product has to offer.

Atlassian products have several feature releases in a year – for example, Jira Software releases a new feature release every 6 weeks. This allows us to deliver improvements and fixes incrementally to customers, but it also means clients need to keep up with this pace to guarantee that you’ll get access to the newest features and updates – including fixes for critical bugs and security issues.

If you can only upgrade to a new feature release about once a year, then we recommend using the latest Enterprise release. Every Enterprise release will continue to receive fixes for critical bugs and security issues throughout its two-year support window.

Planning your upgrade

Feel like you’re ready to upgrade? With our proven methodology and hundreds of Atlassian updates, we help you reduce risk and avoid service disruptions.Contact one of our technical consultants for a recommendation based on your environment and upgrade cadence.


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