Reasons to upgrade
Upgrading is an important decision that might influence a number of users. However, getting new features, better performance and extended maintenance is worth it. Read on to learn about the benefits of upgrading and the major changes concerning our major release Jira 8.0.
Upgrading to Jira 8.0
Jira 8.0 is a platform release, and as every platform release it brings significant changes which you wouldn't expect in a smaller, feature release. All of them affect the upgrade in some way, and require that you take under consideration extra steps. We've listed everything you need to know below.
One of the changes coming with Jira 8.0 is the upgrade of the Lucene library, which is responsible for the index in Jira. This change improves indexing (and searching), but it also makes your current index incompatible with the new version. That’s nothing to worry about, as you can rebuild the whole index by ‘reindexing’ Jira - an action you would probably run after a normal upgrade anyway. After reindexing, the index will be compatible with any later version.
Your current index will remain in
<home-directory>/caches/indexes (feel free to delete it after the upgrade). From now on, the new index will be stored in the following directory:
How does it affect the upgrade
The new index will trigger an automatic reindex in Jira just after the upgrade (more precisely, when you start Jira). Because of that, there’s a great chance you’ll reindex twice - after starting Jira and after making some changes that require reindexing, for example upgrading plugins. Reindexing might be really time consuming in large Jira instances, that’s why we’re recommending that you disable the automatic reindex and run it manually later, when you’re ready.
How to disable automatic reindex
We’ve included steps needed to disable the reindex in our upgrade procedures. If you’re looking for a quick answer, though, you’ll need to add the following line to the
<home-directory>/jira-config.properties file before you start Jira after the upgrade.
Disable automatic reindex to avoid reindexing twice, and run the reindex manually, whenever you’re ready.
If your Jira instance is small and an extra reindex doesn't sound like a problem, you don't need to disable it. Your upgrade won't be affected in any way; it's just for saving you some time.
Disabling incompatible apps (add-ons)
You need to disable apps that are incompatible with Jira 8.0 or upgrade them to compatible versions, if these are available. Incompatible apps might block the upgrade and the Jira startup, because they're using elements that are no longer available or that have changed in the new version, like the Jira index, APIs, or some parts of the UI.
Disable all incompatible apps, or upgrade them if they have compatible versions. For more info on what you should do, see Preparing for the upgrade.
We always recommend that you test the upgrade in a staging environment. Once you upgrade the staging environment to Jira 8.0, you can try enabling the incompatible apps and test how they behave with the new version. If they don't affect your Jira instance in a significant way, you can use them with 8.0 even if they haven't been declared as compatible yet.
Deciding to upgrade
Upgrading is a complex decision to make. Naturally, there is significant time investment you need to consider. On the other hand there are new features, performance improvements, bug fixes, continued support access, company requirements, and maintaining the latest software versioning for your teams.
Upgrade - what am I getting
For every new version of Jira Software, we publish Jira Software release notes and Jira Software upgrade notes. These resources have important information relating to your upgrade, so we recommend reading all of them.
Our upgrade matrix lists all the features and improvements introduced in consecutive Jira releases. The matrix lets you compare versions and select the one you want to upgrade to. It also gives you an overview of bugs fixed in each release.
If you want to dig deeper and learn about all the technical elements that are specific to the Jira Software upgrade process for that version, check the "Technical upgrade notes section" in the matrix.
Many of our releases focus on performance improvements so you and your team can have an effective product experience with minimal technical slowdown. Two examples of these improvements are optimization of indexing time and faster page load time for dashboards and issues.
We use this public Jira instance to track the development of product bug fixes and suggestions. Many customers locate issues and suggestions that would benefit their team and vote or watch them. Just like watching Jira issues in your instance, you will be notified via email when an issue is updated.
Access to support
For Long Term Support releases, we provide support and bug fixes for all server products for 2 years after a version is released. Ending support after 2 years allows us to focus our resources on supporting more modern versions used by the majority of customers. This means that after a version has reached its end of life, our support team will only be able to assist with upgrade-related questions.
For versions, which are not Long Term Support releases, we provide support for 2 years, but the fixes are available only until the next version is out. Then, we only fix critical bugs. If you want to get all the new features and fixes, it's good to upgrade versions.
Upgrade - what I need to consider
In addition to the technical considerations, there are a few other factors to consider that can help ensure a smooth upgrade.
The amount of time required depends on several factors, including the size of your instance, number of apps, and amount of customizations. As a general rule, it's best to incorporate buffer time for planning and execution in case anything unexpected comes up.
There are no external tools required to complete a Jira upgrade. However, there are a few handy resources that can be used to help you along the way, like the app compatibility checker and the Instance Health Check that you can find by going to > System > Troubleshooting and support tools.
While some people might wear many hats in your organization, generally it's a good idea to carefully consider how to communicate information about the upgrade, especially if it will introduce major changes. You might consider informing an approver, end users, and, if you've acquired your license through an approved Atlassian Solution Partner, your partner as they may offer additional services for assisting you during the upgrade process.
Head back to the upgrade matrix, and choose the version you want to upgrade to.