Plan your Confluence Server to Cloud migration

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description Use this guide to plan every step of your migration from Confluence Server to Confluence Cloud. Find all the documentation and resources to help you make the move.

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This guide provides a high-level plan for migrating a self-hosted Confluence Server site to Confluence Cloud. It covers enlisting your project team, evaluating technology options, ensuring that the current Confluence Server site is ready for migration, and executing the migration. 

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

Confluence Server to cloud migration journey diagram

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

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

Pre-migration

Decide to migrate

  1. 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 Confluence Cloud meets your requirements.
  2. Evaluate apps: Before deciding to migrate, review any apps and custom integrations you may have to determine what you'll need for your Confluence Cloud site. To help you through this, we've put together some advice and best practices.

    The Atlassian Marketplace offers a large selection of apps and integrations that extend the functionality of Confluence Cloud. These include free integrations with leading SaaS productivity and collaboration products like Slack and Dropbox, and subscription-based licensing of some of your most beloved Server apps. 

    Keep in mind while you're evaluating that while Atlassian’s cloud and server products provide the same benefits, they can differ in features and functionality. In some cases, you may discover that the cloud version of a product includes functionality that is fulfilled through an app on server. You may also have in-house or custom-built apps to consider. 
    1. App data is not typically included when migrating from Confluence Server to Confluence Cloud. This includes apps from Atlassian, like Team Calendars for Confluence and Questions for Confluence. 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 third-party apps to Confluence 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. Not all apps store 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. 
  3. Check costs: There's no cost to migrate to Confluence Cloud besides the cost of your Confluence Cloud subscription. However, you'll still want to assess your payment options and overall costs. A few things to keep in mind:
    1. Unlike Confluence Server, Confluence 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 Confluence 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 Confluence 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 Confluence Server license and maintenance do not transfer to Confluence Cloud. These are two separate licenses, and are paid for separately.
  4. Review the FAQs: We've developed a comprehensive set of FAQs in the Atlassian Cloud Migration Center to assist you in planning your Confluence migration. If you have questions that we don't cover, let us know.
  5. Try out Confluence Cloud: Sign up for a free Confluence Cloud trial to give Confluence Cloud a spin. Keep in mind as you trial that the design and layout aren't the same across Confluence Server and Confluence Cloud, and you can't switch between the two. We recommend trialing Confluence Cloud before migrating to get comfortable with the differences and identify any communications or training needed to help onboard your users.

Prepare to migrate

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

  1. Assemble your team: Migrating from Confluence 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 Confluence 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 Confluence Server site: Evaluate your current environment to determine if you need to make any changes before migrating your data.
    1. To use the Cloud Migration Assistant for Confluence, you'll need to upgrade your Confluence Server to version 5.10 or later before migrating. 
    2. You may also want to take this opportunity to clean up or remove any unnecessary data.
  4. Review your anonymous access settings: 
    1. If you don't want to allow anonymous users to access to your Confluence Cloud site without logging in, you'll need to check that anonymous access isn't enabled in server before migrating. Learn more at Setting Up Public Access.
    2. If you do want to allow anonymous access to some spaces, but not others, you need to first allow anonymous access in the global permissions for Confluence Cloud, and then review the space permissions for each individual space to determine whether they allow anonymous access. Disabling anonymous access in the Confluence Cloud global permissions will disable anonymous access at the space level as well.
  5. Back up your data: Back up your Confluence Server data before migrating to Confluence Cloud. If data is present in your Confluence Cloud site, back it up for safekeeping as well.

Set up your cloud site

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

  1. Sign up for cloud: Sign up for a free Confluence Cloud trial and choose a site name (URL). Site names are chosen for an entire cloud site at the time you sign up for your first 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:
    1. Your unique character string must be at least three characters.
    2. It can only contain letters, numbers, and hyphens.
    3. 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

  1. Migrating Jira and Confluence: If you're migrating both Jira and Confluence, we recommend migrating Jira first to avoid accidentally overwriting your Confluence users. Learn more about migrating Jira from server to cloud. After migrating Jira along with your users, you can use the Cloud Migration Assistant for Confluence to migrate your Confluence spaces from Confluence Server to Confluence Cloud.
  2. 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.

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. Learn more about how to do this in our migration testing guide.
  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 Confluence. This will reduce the risk of data discrepancies between server and cloud.
  3. Migrate to cloud: To perform the migration, use the Cloud Migration Assistant for Confluence. When you migrate, the following data is imported:
    • Site data, including spaces, pages and attachments.
    • Users and groups.

          The following is not imported:

    • Global settings and permissions: These will need to be configured manually in your cloud site.
    • Apps: You'll need to work with the app vendors to migrate or re-install your apps in Confluence Cloud after migrating. Note that apps from Atlassian, like Team Calendars for Confluence and Questions for Confluence, aren't included in the migration.
    • Application links: If you plan to use Altassian server products in conjunction with your Confluence Cloud site, you can create two-way links between your cloud and server products. If this applies to you, you can set set these up after migrating.
    • User avatars: Users will need to update their avatars at id.atlassian.com after migrating.
    • Passwords: Users will need to reset their passwords in Confluence Cloud after migrating.

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.

Merging server sites

If you need to merge multiple Confluence Server sites, just install the Cloud Migration Assistant for Confluence on all server instances and move them separately to the Confluence Cloud site.

Keep in mind that every space in your Confluence Cloud site needs to have a unique space key. If a space key already exists in your Confluence Cloud site, trying to migrate a space with the same space key will cause that individual spaces' migration to fail.

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 Confluence 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 site: When your migration is complete, you will need to review the new Confluence Cloud site to ensure your data and attachments have migrated successfully. We recommend:
    1. Checking spaces for common things, e.g. comments, attachments, and permissions.
    2. Allowing time for different teams and users to test the operation and functionality of the application to identify any behavior gaps. If needed, you may want to document them for your users. 
  2. Install apps: If you've identified apps that should be installed, add them to your Confluence Cloud site.

  3. Follow our cloud security best practices: Create a strong foundation for securing your company’s most important work. Learn more.
  4. Get acquainted with cloud: To learn more about what's new in Confluence Cloud and how to get the most of it, check out the Confluence Cloud documentation. Consider sharing this resource with your users if this is their first introduction to Confluence Cloud. You may also find the Atlassian Cloud documentation a helpful resource as you get started as a Confluence Cloud admin.
  5. Welcome your team: Now that the migration is complete, make sure your organization is ready. Once migrated, you'll need to send an invitation or the link to your new site to your users so they can start using it. They will not be automatically invited. After you invite them, they'll also need to reset their passwords and avatars.

    We recommend developing a comprehensive launch communication plan to share the new Confluence 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 and avatars? 
    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 Confluence Cloud mobile app.

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 Confluence Cloud products, follow the Atlassian Cloud Documentation blog. This includes new features, bug fixes, and other changes across all Atlassian Cloud products, for example, updates to the meeting notes templates or the ability to drag and drop spaces for easy space reorganization in Confluence Cloud.

Additional support

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

Need more help 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 Jul 11, 2019

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