Plan your Jira Server to Cloud migration

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This guide provides a high-level plan for migrating a self-hosted Jira Server site to Jira Cloud. It applies to all Jira products (Jira Software, Jira Service Desk, Jira Core and Jira Ops). 

It covers enlisting your project team, evaluating technology options, ensuring that the current Jira Server site is ready for migration, and executing the migration.

Not sure if you should migrate from Jira Server to Cloud? Learn more about the benefits of Atlassian Cloud or check out our Jira migration FAQs

Who should use this guide?

Use this guide when you need to migrate:

  • From Jira Server products to the Jira Cloud equivalent.
  • Fewer than 5,000 users. The current user limit for Jira Cloud is 5,000 users per site.

If you need to migrate a large amount of data, are merging users or projects from multiple sources, or are migrating multiple sites, we recommend contacting support to help plan your migration strategy.

Some of the steps in this guide require advanced permissions. Before you begin, you many want to check that you:

  1.  Have System Administrator global permissions in Jira Server.
  2. Are in the site-admins group in your cloud site. This grants access to all your applications (e.g. Jira and Confluence), their administration features and site administration, which includes managing users and bills.

Pre-migration

Decide to migrate

  1. Evaluate your migration type: Are you bringing your data to a new Jira Cloud site, or merging with an existing Jira Cloud site? This guide is intended to help your migration to a new Jira Cloud site that does not contain existing data. If you need to merge with an existing Jira Cloud site that has data, you'll need to first merge them in Jira Server before migrating to Jira Cloud to prevent your cloud data from being overwritten during the migration.
  2. Review your security and compliance requirements: Adhering to your organization's security requirements is critical to a successful migration. For more information about Atlassian's security, privacy, and compliance policies, check out Trust at Atlassian. At this point, you may need to engage with your procurement or security teams to ensure Atlassian Cloud meets your requirements.
  3. Evaluate apps: Before deciding to migrate, review any apps and custom integrations you may have to determine what you'll need for your Jira Cloud site. Keep in mind while you're evaluating that Jira Cloud may have some functionality that replaces the need for your server apps. For example, Jira Cloud includes a number of workflow validators and conditions, SSO (available with a paid Atlassian Access subscription), and advanced integrations with Bitbucket Cloud and Github. To see which of the apps you use are available in Jira Cloud and to discover new cloud-only apps, check the Atlassian MarketplaceYou may also have in-house or custom-built apps to consider. 
    1. App data is not typically included in the backup when migrating from Jira Server to Jira Cloud. Some apps do have the capability to export and import their data but you'll need to check with the app developers or their documentation to confirm if this is possible.
    2. If you do need to map Jira Server apps to Jira Cloud, first check if there is a cloud equivalent of your server app in our Marketplace. If there is a cloud equivalent, your next step would be to check with the app developer to see if it stores any data. If it does, you'll need to work with the app vendor to understand your data migration options. Atlassian doesn't directly handle migrating data generated from third-party server apps to cloud apps. If there's no equivalent and the app stores data, you should still contact the vendor to see if there's a way to export the data. 
  4. Check costs: There's no cost to migrate to Jira Cloud besides the cost of your Jira Cloud subscription. However, you'll still want to assess your payment options and overall costs. A few things to keep in mind:
    1. Unlike Jira Server, Jira Cloud is sold as a subscription, not a perpetual license. You can pay either monthly or annually, with a discount for paying annually. Check out Jira Licensing to decide which payment schedule is best for your team and estimate your baseline costs, or try our Atlassian Cloud pricing calculator.
    2. If you're planning on using apps from the Atlassian Marketplace in Jira Cloud, remember to factor these into your cost considerations. The Atlassian Cloud pricing calculator can help you calculate your total monthly or annual cost including apps.
    3. Note that your existing Jira Server license and maintenance will not transfer to Jira Cloud. These are two separate licenses, and are paid for separately.
  5. Review the FAQs: We've developed a comprehensive set of FAQs in the Atlassian Cloud Migration Center to assist you in planning your Jira migration. If you have questions that we don't cover, let us know.
  6. Try out Jira Cloud: Sign up for a free Jira Cloud trial to give Jira Cloud a spin. The design and layout are not the same across Jira Server and Jira Cloud, and you can't switch between the two. To get comfortable with the differences and identify any communications or training needed to help onboard your users, we recommend trialing Jira Cloud before migrating.

Prepare to migrate

Now that you've decided to migrate, let's figure out how to get there.

  1. Assemble your team: Migrating from Jira Server to cloud will have an impact on your users' experience and workflows, as well as various stakeholders throughout your organization. Depending on the size of your organization and number of users, a migration may require a fully fledged project with defined roles and responsibilities across teams. As early as possible, you should communicate with individuals and stakeholders who are interested and impacted by a move to Jira Cloud. Where possible, recruit and enlist these people to be a part of the process.
  2. Communicate early and often: Beyond informing your organization about the migration schedule, share your migration plan with team members. Determine how you'll alert users about any issues or errors that arise. At this stage, your migration communication plan should cover things like:
    1. When will the migration occur?
    2. What downtime can users expect?
    3. Ask people to avoid changing anything during the transition.
    4. What will happen to the old site after migrating? Will it still be accessible or readable?
  3. Prepare your Jira Server site: Evaluate your current environment to determine if you need to make any changes before migrating your data.
    1. Check if you're on a supported server version:
      1. If your Jira Server version is 7.6.0 or higher, you don't need to upgrade before migrating.
      2. If your Jira Server version is between 7.0.0 and 7.6.0 (released November 2017) we advise upgrading to 7.6.0 or higher before migrating. Migrating versions between 7.0.0 and 7.6.0 may work, but these versions are no longer guaranteed to work without requiring an upgrade.
      3. If your Jira Server version is below 7.0.0 (released October 2015) you will need to upgrade to 7.6.0 or higher before migrating.
    2. If you're using any external user directories like LDAP or AD on your Jira Server instance, those users won't be imported during your migration. You'll need to either migrate those users to the internal Jira user directory before migrating or create the user accounts after the import is completed. This applies even if your users are stored in Atlassian Crowd. 
    3. You may also want to take this opportunity to clean up or remove any unnecessary data.

  4. Review your anonymous access settings: If you don't want to allow anonymous users to access data in Jira Cloud without logging in, review all permission schemes used in Jira Server projects before you migrate. You'll need to ensure that none of the projects have added the Anyone group to the Browse Project permission as described in Allowing anonymous access to your project.
  5. Back up your data: Back up your Jira Server data before importing into Jira Cloud. If data is present in your Jira Cloud site, back it up for safekeeping as well. 

Set up Atlassian Cloud

Next, you'll need to sign up for your cloud site.

  1. Sign up for cloud: Sign up for a free Jira Cloud trial for the Jira product(s) you're migrating and choose your Atlassian Cloud site name (URL). Site names are chosen for an entire Atlassian Cloud site at the time you sign up for your first Atlassian Cloud product – for example, when you first sign up for Jira Software Cloud or Confluence Cloud. 

    The format for the site name is https://example.atlassian.net, where example is a unique character string that you specify.
    There are a few things to be aware of when choosing your site name:

    • Your unique character string must be at least three characters.
    • It can only contain letters, numbers, and hyphens.
    • Hyphens can't be the first or last character.
  2. Set up your organization: An organization allows you to view all of the Atlassian Cloud users at your company in one place, manage your users' accounts, and set up security features like SAML SSO. Organizations are particularly helpful if your company manages more than one cloud site and wants insight into all your sites, products, and the users who can access them. An organization is available for every site and can be accessed at admin.atlassian.com. Learn more about how to set up an Atlassian organization.
  3. Set up SSO: If you plan to use SSO in your cloud site, you should set this up in advance so that it will continue working seamlessly for your users when you migrate. Before setting up SSO, you'll need to verify a domain for your organization. Note that SSO requires a subscription to Atlassian Access, which you can trial free for 30 days.

Additional considerations

  • Migrating Jira and Confluence: If you're migrating both Jira and Confluence, we recommend migrating Jira first. Migrating Confluence before Jira could result in your users being wiped from cloud once Jira is imported. After migrating Jira and your users, you can use the Cloud Migration Assistant for Confluence to migrate your Confluence spaces from Confluence Server to Confluence Cloud.

  • Migration services: If you need assistance with your migration, we have a wide network of partners globally that are very experienced in Atlassian migrations. Visit our Atlassian Partners page to find one who can help with your migration.

  • Annual cloud subscriptionsIf you have an annual subscription to Jira Cloud, check that you have enough licenses purchased to cover all of the users you plan to import. For example, if you plan to import 125 users, you'll need the annual user tier for 101 - 200 users or above for the import to succeed. If you're paying monthly, this doesn't apply. To avoid import failures, we recommend keeping monthly subscriptions turned on during your migration, and switching to an annual subscription after completing your migration.

Migration

After you have the necessary prerequisites in place and have completed the tasks associated with the pre-migration phase, you're ready to perform the migration. Follow the steps outlined below to migrate.

  1. Run a test migration: We recommend performing a trial run in a testing or staging site to ensure that your site's integrations, functionality, and performance are working as expected and the migration runs smoothly. You can do this using a free Jira Cloud trial. The test migration will help you:
    1. Identify possible bugs and the steps needed to resolve before the actual migration.
    2. Establish a clearer timeline for your live migration, including any expected downtime.
    3. Validate the data before moving to Jira Cloud.
  2. Build a timeline: Identifying an ideal migration window can mean the difference between happy and frustrated users. Determine how much time your migration will take, factoring in time for troubleshooting. Consider scheduling the migration for overnight, on a weekend, or when your team is less likely to need access to Jira. This will reduce the risk of data discrepancies between server and cloud.
  3. Migrate to cloud: To perform the migration, you'll need to export your full Jira Server site (including all projects) and import the data into Jira Cloud. Follow the instructions at Migrate from Jira Server to Jira CloudProject-by-project migration is not currently supported.

    Performing a Jira import will overwrite all data associated with projects and replace it with project data from the backup file.

    You can choose to also overwrite all users or to merge users from the import file with existing cloud users.

    • Choosing to overwrite users will delete all existing users in your cloud site including users with access to Confluence only.

    • Choosing to merge users might escalate the permissions of server users, so be sure to check what groups they will be merged into on the cloud site.

    Find out more about migrating Jira from server to cloud.

    If you have existing data on your cloud site and want to import more data from Jira Server, you will need to follow the steps outlined here.

    1. When you migrate from Jira Server to Cloud, the following data is imported:
      1. Users, groups and permissions.
      2. Site data, including projects, issues, and Jira configuration.
      3. Any custom mail handlers you've set up in server. 
      4. Application links.
      5. Attachments, project avatars, and logos.
    2. The following is not imported:
      1. The migrator's user information: If you're the person doing the migration, you'll need to re-add yourself to your previous groups after migrating.
      2. Apps: App data is not included in the backup when migrating from Jira Server to Jira Cloud. Some apps do have the capability to export and import their data but you'll need to check with the app developers or their documentation to confirm if this is possible. Your licenses for Atlassian Marketplace apps can be viewed on https://my.atlassian.com/.
      3. User avatars: Users will need to update their avatars at id.atlassian.com after migrating.
      4. Passwords: Users will need to reset their passwords in Jira Cloud after migrating.
      5. Timezones: Timezone information on a per-user profile will be lost.

Common scenarios

Not all migrations are quite so straightforward. Below are some of the common migration scenarios you may encounter, and guidance on how to approach each.

Troubleshooting your migration

If you've run into a problem during your migration, we're here to help. You can start by searching for known issues in our public issue tracker. There, you can find information about some of the common issues we see with Jira migrations, including their status and suggested workarounds.

Some known issues include the following:

If you've run into a different issue or need help to move forward with your migration, you can contact our Technical Support team or reach out to our Atlassian Community for advice.

Post-migration

After you've successfully completed the migration, you'll need to go through a series of post-migration tasks to ensure that everything is functioning as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

  1. Review your cloud siteWhen your migration is complete, you will need to review the new Jira Cloud site to ensure your data and attachments have migrated successfully. We recommend:
    1. Checking projects for common things, e.g. comments, attachments, and permissions.
    2. Allowing time for different teams and users to test different functionality and workflows.
    3. Testing the operation and functionality of the application to identify any behavior gaps and, if needed, document them for your users. 
  2. Re-add yourself to groups: The user information for the person performing the migration is not imported. This means the user who executed the migration will need to be added back to their previous groups.
  3. Review user and group permissions: After your migration is complete, users that already had Atlassian Cloud accounts will be added to your site, and users who did not have an account will have one created for them. We recommend reviewing the project and access permissions and make sure they're correct. Note that while users and permissions are imported, passwords aren't. Unless you've enabled SSO, users migrated from Jira Server will need to reset their password in Jira Cloud. If you have SSO enabled, users can use their SSO password to log in.
  4. Install apps: If you've identified apps that should be installed, add them to your Jira Cloud site.

  5. Get acquainted with cloud: To learn more about what's new in Jira Cloud and how to get the most of it, check out the Jira Software Cloud product guide. Consider sharing this resource with your users if this is their first introduction to Jira Cloud. You may also find the Atlassian Cloud documentation a helpful resource as you get started as a Jira Cloud admin.
  6. Welcome your team: Now that the migration is complete, make sure your organization is ready. We recommend developing a comprehensive launch communication plan to share the new Jira Cloud site information with the team. This can cover topics like:

    1. What action is needed post-migration?
    2. Will users need to reset their passwords? 
    3. What URL will they use to access the new site?
    4. Who can they contact with questions, and how? For example, can you provide a chat room or an issue tracker where people can raise any issues or feedback?
    5. Are there any notable changes they'll need to be aware of?
    6. Links to any further reading or FAQs.
    7. Let people know about the Jira Cloud mobile app.
  7. Have users reset passwords: Importing your site will create an Atlassian account for all of your users, which can then be used to access your Jira Cloud site. Unless you're using SSO, your users will need to set new passwords for their Atlassian account after migrating. 
  8. Have users update their avatars: Avatars aren't migrated over from Jira Server, so users will need to update their avatar at id.atlassian.com after the migration. Learn more.

  9. Follow our cloud security best practices: Create a strong foundation for securing your company’s most important work. Learn more.

Sit back and relax

Now that you're a cloud admin, you'll have immediate access to our latest features and bug fixes. Installs, upgrades, and patches are managed seamlessly by Atlassian, so you can relax on your weekends. 

To keep track of major changes that affect all users of the Jira Cloud products, follow the Atlassian Cloud Documentation blog. This includes new features, bug fixes, and other changes across all Atlassian Cloud products, for example, the introduction of a new Jira quick search or a change in project navigation.

Additional support

We have a number of channels available to help you with your migration. For more Jira migration planning information and FAQs, visit the Atlassian Cloud Migration Center.

Need more support with strategy, best practices, or planning questions? Our migration planning specialists can help with planning your migration from Jira Server to Jira Cloud. 

Technical question or issue? Get in touch with our Technical Support team.

Looking for peer advice? Ask the Atlassian Community.

Last modified on Oct 26, 2020

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