Use Jira Site Import to migrate from server to cloud

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descriptionStep by step instructions for how to move your data from Jira Server to Jira Cloud using Site Import.

This guide shows you how to use Jira's native site backup and restore functionality (Site Import) to move from Jira Server to Jira Cloud. The process described in this article can be used to migrate Jira Software, Jira Core, and Jira Service Desk from server or Data Center to cloud.

We recently released Jira Cloud Migration Assistant, which you can use to migrate individual projects or whole sites from server to cloud. Before using Jira Site Import, evaluate which migration method is best for you.

How to migrate

Here's an overview of the basic steps you'll take to migrate from Jira Server to Jira Cloud:

  1. Complete the pre-migration checklist
  2. Determine your user migration strategy
  3. Back up your Jira Server database
  4. Back up your Jira Server attachments, project avatars, and logos
  5. Import your server database backup into Jira Cloud
  6. Import your Jira Server attachments, project avatars, and logos into Jira Cloud
  7. Review and grant access to groups imported from server
  8. Re-add yourself to groups imported from server
  9. Complete post-migration checks

Step 1: Complete the pre-migration checklist

Before attempting a test or production migration, complete all of the steps for Jira Site Import in the pre-migration checklist. The checklist will help you prepare yourself and your data for migration, and ensure you avoid common sources of migration failure.

Step 2: Determine your user migration strategy

The best way to import your users and groups will depend on a few variables: what products you’re migrating, how your users and groups are currently managed in server, and if you plan to use Atlassian Access for SCIM (user provisioning). Before beginning your migration, take time to review the Jira user migration strategies and determine which you'll need to use. 

Step 3: Back up your Jira Server database

This step will back up your Jira Server database in a portable XML format. If you have multiple Jira applications on the same site, for example Jira Software, Jira Core and Jira Service Desk, this backup will contain all project types (Software, Business and Service Desk) by default. 

  1. Log in as a user with the Jira System Administrators permission.
  2. Choose  > System.
  3. Select Import & Export > Backup System to open the Jira backup page. 
  4. In the File name field, type a name for your backup file.
  5. Click the Backup button and wait while your Jira data is backed up. Jira will save your backup as a zipped XML archive file within the export subdirectory of the Jira application home directory (jira-home for short). Check that Jira has the necessary file system permissions to write to this location.
  6. When the backup is complete, you'll see a confirmation message. You can now retrieve the file from your server.

Step 4: Back up your Jira Server attachments, project avatars, and logos

If you want to migrate attachments, project avatars, or logos, you'll need to back them up as well. These are stored in your Jira application’s data directory, which is a sub-directory of the Jira application home directory

To complete this step, you'll need to create a ZIP archive of the /data/attachments, /data/avatars/, and /logos/ directories. Make sure it uses the following structure:

attachments-1.zip
└─── data
		├── attachments
		│ 		├── ProjectKey1
		│ 				│ └── 10000
		│					│ ├── IssueKey-1
		│ 					│ ├── IssueKey-2
		│ 					│ └── IssueKey-3
		│ 		├── ProjectKey2
		│		└── ProjectKey3
		└── avatars
└── logos
Show me how

There’s no one specific way to back up the data directory, but Backing up data outlines a few methods to consider.

An example command that can be run from a *nix server:

cd <Jira Home Dir> 
zip -r data.zip logos/ data/avatars/ data/attachments/

Once the ZIP file is created, you’ll need to transfer the file from your server to the local workstation you’re using. Some common methods of doing this include using SFTP, rsync, wget, and curl.

Step 5: Import your server database backup into Jira Cloud

  1. Log in to your new Jira Cloud site with site-admin permissions.

  2. Click Jira Settings > System.

  3. In the Import and Export section, click Restore system.

  4. Select Import data and select the ZIP file you downloaded in Step 2: Back up your Jira Server database. 
  5. We'll check your file for errors, and ask you to choose settings for how you want your data imported.
    1. First, select your outgoing mail setting. Whichever option you choose, you can manually change after you migrate in the outgoing mail settings.
      1. You can choose to Enable outgoing mail, which allows Jira to send automated emails for interactions – for example, new comments on issues or issue transitions.

      2. If you choose to Disable outgoing mail, Jira won't send automated emails for interactions.

    2. Next, select whether you want to overwrite or merge users from your server site with the users on your cloud site.

      1. Choosing to overwrite will completely replace all users from Confluence and Jira with the users in your backup file.

      2. Choosing to merge users will also merge groups. This means that if we find a group on your server instance with the same name as a group on your cloud site (in either Jira or Confluence), we will merge the users from the server group into the cloud group. The server group users will receive the permissions of the cloud group. Make sure you check for possible permission escalation before choosing this option.

  6. Click Run import. This will take you to a page where you can track your import progress. It may take a while for your import to finish, depending on the size of your backup.
  7. When the import is complete, you'll be taken to a confirmation screen.
  8. From here, if you still need to import your media (attachments, logos, and project avatars) choose Import media. You'll need to return to the Import and Export page before managing application access. If you've already completed this step, or aren't planning to import your media, you can skip to step 6 by clicking the link to Grant application access.

Troubleshooting this step

Formatting your backup file

Before you import, unzip the backup file and make sure it has a file structure similar to:

JIRA-backup-20161021
├── activeobjects.xml
├── entities.xml

If you see this error:

Import error

There was an error importing file JIRA-backup-20161021.zip: Validation failed. The following issues were reported:

The import archive doesn't contain entities.xml file.

Then you may have zipped a folder containing the .xml files, instead of zipping the XML files directly.

If there are invalid characters in your XML

You may have to clean up invalid characters in your backup before importing into Jira Cloud. Take a moment to look over the documentation and integrate it into your migration plan.

If your import is stalled

During the import process, you may see it stall on the following percentages/steps: 

  1. 50% - Upgrading database
  2. 90% - Importing users and groups

This is going to be normal and you just need to wait for them to complete.

If there are errors with usernames or emails

You may find you need to audit usernames or email addresses to check for errors before you can complete the import to cloud. The primary things to review are:

  1. All emails must end in a top-level domain. For example: john_doe@company isn't valid because it's missing the .com, and would block the import.

  2. All emails must use a valid domain. For example: john_doe@example.com is not allowed because example.com is not recognized as a valid domain. 

  3. All users must have unique email addresses. You can identify users with duplicate addresses using: 

    select email_address, count(*) from cwd_user group by email_address having count(*) > 1
  4. Usernames starting with with addon_ will need to be renamed or deleted. This prefix is reserved for Atlassian Marketplace apps. If you haven't moved from Atlassian's cloud products in the past, you're not likely to hit this issue.

If there are links that need to be mapped in cloud

At this step, you may see a list of URLs for Atlassian server sites. To make sure links point to the new Jira Cloud site instead of the old server site after you migrate:

  1. Select the URL of the Jira server instance you're importing to cloud from the list.
  2. Then click Run import to continue with your migration.

Step 6: Import your Jira Server media into Jira Cloud

  1. (If not already) log in to your new Jira Cloud site with site-admin permissions.

  2. Click Jira Settings > System.

  3. In the Import and Export section, click Restore system.

  4. Choose Import media and then find and select the media ZIP you created and downloaded in Step 3: Back up your Jira Server attachments, project avatars, and logos.
  5. This will take you to a page where you can track your import progress. It may take a while for your import to finish, depending on the size of your file.
  6. When the import is complete, you'll be taken to a confirmation screen.
  7. From here, if you still need to import more media, repeat this step until all media files are imported. Note that you may want to test that all media was imported successfully in a new tab before importing the next batch of media.

Troubleshooting this step

If your large file import fails

Large attachment files may not import properly and can take a long time to complete.

If your file is larger than 10 GB, you may need to split up the backup into 2-5 GB chunks instead and then import each one separately. The file structure should be:

attachments-1.zip 
└─── data 
		├── attachments 
		│ 		├── ProjectKey1 
		│ 				│ └── 10000 
		│ 					│ ├── IssueKey-1 
		│ 					│ ├── IssueKey-2 
		│					│ └── IssueKey-3 
		│ 		├── ProjectKey2 
		│ 		└── ProjectKey3 
		└── avatars 
└── logos
attachments-2.zip 
└─── data 
		└── attachments 
				├── ProjectKey4 
				├── ProjectKey5 
				└── ProjectKey6 
attachments-3.zip 
└─── data 
		└── attachments 
				└── ProjectKey#

See How to import only part of a Jira export into Jira Cloud for more instructions.

If the attachment import stalls out

During the attachment import step, there are a few distinct phases, including uploading, processing, and the actual import. Large attachment files may be interrupted during the processing phase. You can identify this if the page reloads suddenly and there's no further progress or message shown.

If everything is okay, after the processing step you should see a message like:

Attention

This will import non-database content (such as attachments and avatars) into your Jira instance. You should only do this after a full database import because the full import will remove any existing data that you import using this page.

This operation could take anywhere from several minutes to several hours depending on the size and number of attachments.

Note that this operation cannot be undone.

This indicates the processing is completed. From here, click the Proceed button to finish importing your attachments.

If you notice that the import failed during the processing step, the solution is to divide the attachments into smaller ZIP files and import each file separately.

Step 7: Review and grant access to groups imported from server

Once you've imported everything into your cloud site, you'll need to review the groups imported from server and decide which to grant access to. 

As a security measure, the import process won't automatically apply the default application access settings or grant access to new users. You'll need to grant the application access to these users before they can log in.

  1. Log in to your new Jira Cloud site and click  Jira Settings > User management.
  2. In the Site settings section, choose Product access.
  3. Choose Review imported groups to review and confirm the default groups' access.

Note that during the import, the name of the default Jira Server group Jira-administrators changes to administrators in Jira Cloud.

Step 8: Re-add yourself to groups imported from server

As a security measure, the group settings for the person performing the migration are not imported. This means the user who executed the migration will need to be added back to their previous groups. You can do this two ways, either from the Groups section or the Users section at https://admin.atlassian.com.

From the Users section

  1. Go to https://admin.atlassian.com
  2. If you have multiple cloud sites, you'll need to select the cloud site you've just migrated to.
  3. In the User management section, first choose Users.
  4. Find your profile.
  5. Click the ... icon
  6. Choose Add user to group.
  7. Select the group(s) you need to be added to.
  8. Click Add to Groups.

From the Groups section

  1. Go to https://admin.atlassian.com.
  2. If you have multiple cloud sites, you'll need to select the cloud site you've just migrated to.
  3. In the User management section, first choose Groups.
  4. Then, select the group you need to be added to.
  5. Choose Add members, and add yourself to the group. 
  6. Repeat as needed for the rest of your groups.

Step 9: Compete post-migration checks

Depending on the type of migration, there may be some things you need to do once your migration is finished. For a full list of post-migration recommendations, refer to the Jira migration planning guide.

Troubleshooting this step

If your content is linked to "Admin" after importing to cloud

There's a known bug affecting admins on the cloud site. After importing your data to cloud, the content associated with your account in server may be associated to "Admin". If you run into this bug, just contact our support team for help resolving the issue.

Additional troubleshooting

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 common issues we see with Jira migrations, including their status and suggested workarounds.

Some known issues include the following:

More information and support

We have a number of channels available to help you with your migration.


Last modified on Jul 10, 2020

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