Compare Atlassian cloud vs server

description Learn the differences between Atlassian's cloud, server, and Data Center products and find out which is right for you.

At Atlassian, we offer three hosting options for our products: cloud, server, and Data Center. This article outlines some topics to consider when choosing which option is right for your organization.

Hosting options

First, let's start by defining what each means:

Cloud

Rather than installing and maintaining our products on your own servers, we host, set up, secure and maintain your products in the cloud for you.

Teams choose cloud for a variety of reasons:

  • Fast start-up: It's easy to set up and get started in minutes. As soon as you sign up, you can start working and inviting team members.
  • Reduced costs: Save money on physical hardware, maintenance, installation and support and other hidden administration costs.
  • No need to upgrade: Get immediate access to the latest and greatest features, no work required.
  • Work on the go: Atlassian's cloud products enable your teams to take your work anywhere and can be accessed securely from any browser. Learn more.
  • Security: We help keep your organization secure and compliant, with real-time security updates and rigorous practices to track and protect your information.
  • Scale with confidence: In cloud, we handle the procurement of inventory and storage space. Respond immediately to dynamic spikes in demand and team growth.

Server

With Atlassian's server products, you install, host and run our products yourself, either on your own hardware or through cloud hosting services like AWS. You can customize your setup however you'd like. 

This is generally preferred by teams who:

  • Want to manage all the details.
  • Have stricter requirements for data hosting and governance.
  • Are able to handle the complexity of setting up and hosting products on their own servers.

Data Center

Think of this as server, but at scale. Data Center products provide the same functionality as our server products but have additional capabilities to better serve enterprise organizations.

This rest of this page is designed to help you compare cloud and server. For more information on Data Center and how it differs from server, check out Server vs. Data Center – What’s right for you?

Additional differences

To determine whether cloud or server is the right fit for you, we’ve outlined some criteria to help understand your options and aid in the decision-making process:

Administration


Cloud Server
Deployment and administration

We host, set up, secure and maintain your Atlassian site in the cloud for you. 

Since our cloud products are installed and configured for you, this will require less administration overall.

Because you won't need a system administrator, some of the administration features in server aren't available in cloud. 

For more information on administration in Atlassian's cloud products, check out our documentation on administering users and managing groups and product access.

You host Atlassian products on your own hardware, or through cloud hosting services like AWS. You can customize your setup however you'd like.

Administrators of our server products have full access to the database, which allows admins full customization and administration. 

On the flip side, you'll also need to support the infrastructure, Atlassian products, and users as well as any other tasks your organization's server admin is responsible for.

To learn more about being an administrator for some of our top server products, check out:

Upgrades

There's no need to upgrade – you're always on the latest version. 

You'll have immediate access to new features, security updates, and more, without the need for any manual work.

You’ll need to manually upgrade Atlassian server products when new versions are released. Your organization's server administrator is responsible for scheduling and implementing software, security, and maintenance updates or upgrades.

Updates require an active license or software maintenance plan. Without these, you won't be able to upgrade.

User management

In Atlassian's cloud products, you manage user accounts centrally rather than product by product. This gives you visibility into all your users in one easy to manage spot. Groups, as well as access to individual products, are managed at the product level.

For more details on user and group management in Atlassian Cloud, see Managing users and groups and Atlassian organizations.

We also offer options to help improve or expand on your user management capabilities in the cloud:

  • Atlassian Access: Access is a tool for managing authentication and security policies across your Atlassian Cloud users. For more details on Atlassian Access and how it works, refer to our Atlassian Access for Cloud FAQs.
  • G Suite integration: You can integrate your existing G Suite user directory with your Atlassian Cloud site. For more information, check out G Suite integration.

Atlassian server user management can be handled by your server admin in a variety of ways: via each server product, through Jira, or by connecting to Atlassian Crowd. For more information, refer to User management.

To learn about product-specific user management capabilities, refer to the articles below. 

Confluence Server

Jira Server

Atlassian Crowd

SSO and LDAP integration

Available with Atlassian Access, which offers company-wide visibility, security, and control across your entire Atlassian cloud infrastructure.

Access enables:

  • Enhanced security with SAML SSO, password policies, and more
  • User provisioning and user lifecycle management
  • Integrations with Okta, Azure AD, OneLogin and more to automatically sync your Active Directory

Available with Crowd, which offers single sign-on and user identity that's easy to use for your server products.

Crowd enables:

  • Centralized identity management
  • Single sign-on (SSO)

Scalability and extensibility


Cloud Server
Mobile apps

The Jira Cloud and Confluence Cloud mobile apps offer all cloud customers fast, secure collaboration without the added steps of signing in to a VPN.

 

Android

Confluence Cloud mobile

Jira Cloud mobile

 

iOS

Confluence Cloud mobile

Jira Cloud mobile

Mobile apps are available for Jira Server 8.3+ and Confluence Server 6.8+.

You’ll need to connect your device(s) to your organization’s VPN to use them (unless your instance is public/doesn’t have a firewall).

 

Android

Confluence Server mobile

Jira Server mobile


iOS

Confluence Server mobile

Jira Server mobile


Although there aren't Atlassian mobile apps for older versions, if you view Jira Server 7.3 – 8.2 in a mobile web browser, the interface is mobile-optimized and offers basic functionality.

Additionally, you can purchase third-party mobile apps for Jira Server 7.0+ and Confluence Server 3.0+ on the Atlassian Marketplace.

Atlassian Marketplace apps

There are nearly 1,000 apps and integrations that extend the functionality of Atlassian Cloud products.

These include free integrations with leading SaaS productivity and collaboration tools like Slack and Dropbox, and subscription-based licensing of some of the most beloved server apps.

In some cases, the cloud version of a product includes functionality that is fulfilled through an app on server.

There are over 3,000 apps and integrations on the Atlassian Marketplace that extend the functionality of server products. Server apps are downloadable and installed on your server for use.

For more information on what apps are available, or to download and install server apps, check out the Atlassian Marketplace.

APIs Using the Atlassian Connect framework, you can develop apps, customizations, and integrations for Atlassian’s cloud products. Learn more. You can develop apps, customizations, and integrations for Atlassian’s server products using our robust server APIs. Learn more.
User limit

Each cloud site currently supports up to 5,000 users.

An organization, which you can use to centralize and manage all of your sites, can have unlimited users.

Atlassian's server products don't have user limits, however, for enterprises looking for a self-managed option at scale, we recommend using Data Center.
Products

We offer cloud versions of:

  • Jira Software Cloud
  • Jira Core Cloud
  • Jira Service Desk Cloud
  • Portfolio for Jira Cloud
  • Confluence Cloud
  • Bitbucket Cloud
  • Trello
  • OpsGenie
  • Atlassian Access

Learn more about our cloud products.

We offer server versions of:

  • Jira Software Server
  • Jira Core Server
  • Jira Service Desk Server
  • Portfolio for Jira Server
  • Confluence Server
  • Bitbucket Server
  • Bamboo
  • Fisheye
  • Crucible
  • Crowd

Learn more about our server products.

Hosting and security


Cloud Server
Security

We handle security, reliability, compliance and privacy for you. 

Security is built into the fabric of our cloud products, infrastructure, and processes, so you can rest assured that your data is safeguarded.

Learn more.

With Atlassian's self-hosted server products, you and your organization are responsible for maintaining security and compliance.

For more information about security best practices for Atlassian's server products, take a look at:

Hosting

Atlassian's cloud hosting infrastructure is designed to meet the product performance and reliability standards that our global customers need. At the time of this writing, Atlassian hosts cloud data in six different AWS regions: US (East and West), Europe (Ireland and Germany) and Asia Pacific (Sydney and Singapore). 

We optimize where customer data is located based on how it's accessed around the world. 

Learn more.

You host on your own servers.
Privacy

We commit to meeting the highest bar for personal data privacy. And we support your organization in meeting data privacy obligations around the world, including GDPR and Privacy Shield.

Learn more.

You're responsible for maintaining privacy.
Reliability

Our products are designed for high performance and availability and built on best-in-class core technologies like AWS, so your organization can scale confidently and securely.

Learn more.

You're responsible for maintaining reliability.
Compliance

Our compliance program is here to help meet your organization’s compliance needs. We undergo independent third-party audits and certify our products with SOC2, ISO 27001/27018, PCI DSS v3.2, SAQ A, and more. 

Learn more.

You're responsible for maintaining compliance.

Pricing and licensing


Cloud Server
Pricing

Atlassian's cloud products are offered as monthly or annual subscriptions, allowing you to spread costs over time.

Check out the Monthly subscriptions and Annual subscriptions sections on our Atlassian Cloud Licensing page to learn more.

Want to see how much Atlassian Cloud may cost for you or your organization? Use our cloud pricing calculator.

Atlassian's server products are offered as perpetual licenses on an annual payment plan.

Server licenses entitle you to the software and 12 months of maintenance. After 12 months, you can keep up your maintenance for 50% of your license fee.

For more information on purchasing and licensing, refer to our Purchasing & Licensing FAQ.

Admin and feature differences


Cloud Server
Site names (URLs)

Atlassian provides cloud subscribers with a secure, authenticated site name. You'll choose this when you sign up for your first cloud product – for example, when you first sign up for Jira Software Cloud or Confluence Cloud.

Site names are formatted as example.atlassian.net, where "example" is chosen by your organization.

You can host your products under any domain you control.
Languages Atlassian's cloud products and apps are available in two dozen languages, with more on the way. See our Languages page for a complete list of the languages that are currently available. We're always working to provide more languages across our software products and apps. You can download language packs for Confluence Server, and select a default language in Jira Server. 
Backups

Backups are generated daily and retained for 30 days to allow for point-in-time data restoration. 

You can also generate an offline backup of your Jira or Confluence Cloud site once every 48 hours. Atlassian maintains these backups on your behalf for 7 days. 

We also automatically back up Bitbucket daily.

Learn more about cloud backups in our Data storage FAQ.

You and your organization are responsible for maintaining backups.

When choosing our server products, it's important to consider how you'll back up your data and restore it if things were to go awry.

Learn more about backing up specific products:

IP whitelisting

IP whitelisting is supported in Bitbucket Cloud Premium.

We don't currently support restricting access to a Jira or Confluence Cloud site based on IP address. For more information or to vote on the status of this feature, view updates on or follow our public feature request

You can restrict access in Jira Cloud by managing project permissions or configuring issue-level security. For more information, refer to Managing project permissions and Configuring issue-level security.

Since you’re hosting it, you can control network access policies yourself.
Direct access to the database You won't have direct access to change the database structure, file system, or other server infrastructure, but we provide extensive REST APIs so you can access data programmatically. Yes, you are able to access the database directly.


Product-specific comparisons

You can learn more about the differences between individual cloud and server products by checking out our feature comparisons:


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Considering making the switch between server and cloud? Visit our Cloud Migration Center to learn more.

Last modified on Aug 23, 2019

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