If you’re reading this, you’re probably facing down the reality that Atlassian has discontinued all Jira Server-based products and will stop supporting them on February 15, 2024. For most situations, Atlassian recommends seeking a Solution Partner to assist with this kind of work, but if you’re set on attempting to migrate Jira yourself, and have a solid grasp of Atlassian Server and Cloud environments, a good first step is to be aware of what you’re getting into taking on this kind of project. Read on to get into the nitty-gritty of what it takes to migrate Jira yourself, or check out our 30-second cloud complexity assessment to assess your organization’s data shape and get an idea of what your migration may involve.
Before diving in head-first into a cloud migration exercise, it’s important to take a hard look at your product instances and have a solid understanding of how they’re being used today by the teams that make up your organization, and what they expect their Jira and other Atlassian product instances to do for them.
When you’ve confirmed your organization’s requirements, you can then plan a migration strategy for getting all your projects, workflows, issues, apps, data, and users into an Atlassian Cloud environment.
Since announcing Atlassian Server End-of-Life, Atlassian has put a lot of effort into providing tools and support to ease the transition to Cloud, one of which is called the Jira Cloud Migration Assistant (JCMA), an app for your Server instance that compiles relevant data about your instance into a report. This information is vital for making the kinds of decisions required, whether you’re attempting to migrate Jira yourself, or with help from a solution partner.
Install JCMA into your Server instance, then follow this video to get to the next step.
(By the way, if you’re also bringing Confluence over, an equivalent app called the Confluence Cloud Migration Assistant (CCMA) also exists from Atlassian, many of the steps for that are quite similar to what’s depicted here.)
Depending on how many apps you’ve got on your instance and how many of them have documented migration paths, you might have to make some difficult decisions about your migration. If an app you’re using now isn’t available in the cloud, you may have to get creative with figuring out how to reproduce, or do without that functionality. This can be a significant hurdle if you’re looking to migrate Jira yourself, as input from a number of stakeholders in your organization may be needed.
The JCMA report provides a simple interface for determining which apps have equivalent Cloud-based apps. Use this to evaluate the availability of apps in Atlassian cloud and what the differences between them might be.
Another thing to look out for is whether or not your required apps have documented migration paths. Migration paths, when they exist, offer simplified instructions for bringing existing data from a Server app to its cloud-based equivalent.
If you’re having trouble figuring out how to recreate some required functionality in Cloud or are dealing with apps that don’t have documented migration paths, Solution Partner assistance is always available.
If you haven’t done so already, you’ll need to set up your new Atlassian Cloud domain, which you can do from here. (link opens in a new tab)
This needs to come in the form of an URL formed as: YOURCLOUDSITE.Atlassian.net and will be the primary way everyone in your organization accesses your Jira and other Atlassian product instances in the Cloud. Choose this carefully, as it’s difficult to change it later on.
Once you’re set up here, you can start to plan out the work of bringing your data over from your Server environment.
As you’re moving data from your Server to your test Cloud environment, you’ll want to continuously test to make sure everything’s arriving and behaving as it should. Cloud migrations are anything but straightforward as Jira Cloud is a very different product compared to its Server counterpart.
For example, Cloud sites handle some marketplace app installations quite differently compared to how they’re installed and hosted locally in your existing Server environment. Because of this, some apps with cloud versions may have missing or alternative functionality against what exists on Server, so it’s important to ensure your app functionality continues to align with teams making use of them.
To achieve this you’ll want to set up an internal team and a number of scenarios that can be performed with them to perform user acceptance testing (UAT) in this stage, and perform a test migration they can evaluate.
When all your testing is complete and you’ve got your migration runbook in-hand, it’s time to push the button and make it happen with a production migration. Set your Server to read-only mode and schedule your production migration for a time that’s typically quiet for your organization (like over a weekend).
If you’re going into a new Cloud instance, your risk for problems could be relatively low, since there isn’t anything there to inadvertently overwrite. If something doesn’t pan out as intended it’s simple enough to revert and keep your users on Server until you can work out your migration’s kinks, depending on the migration approach you’ve chosen (check out our webinar on Cloud Migration Strategies for more detail on that).
If you’re in a situation where you’re trying to merge Server or other instance data into an existing Cloud or Data Center environment, it may be best to ask for help from the pros.
Once the migration is complete and your post-migration testing succeeds, you can roll your new Jira and other Atlassian Cloud products out to your organization’s users.
It’s helpful at this stage to provide users with a bit of training on the differences between Server and Cloud to ease the transition. We have a few very basic training videos on Jira Software Cloud at Avant Academy, and more are available via Atlassian University.
If you’ve made it to this point in your migration, congratulations! In our experience, completing a Cloud migration is no small feat and we’ve done it many times as a Cloud Specialized Solution Partner.
Once you’re done celebrating your successful move to Altassian Cloud, it may be beneficial to inventory some of the new features that are available to your organization. Notably, updates and maintenance are handled by Atlassian in a Cloud environment, meaning staff can allocate that time to more important things going forward. We’ve put together a short Cloud Administration orientation video that covers the basics of what you can do as an Atlassian Cloud Site Administrator and how to find your way around that interface.
If you ran into some difficulty at any stage of your migration, don’t worry. Atlassian recognizes the overall difficulty with trying to migrate Jira yourself, even for relatively simple Cloud Migrations, and trains Solution Partner organizations like Avant to provide assistance. This article should provide a high-level overview of what it takes to migrate Jira yourself, but every organization’s data is different, so it’s impossible to to write a guide that fits every organization. If you’re looking for some guidance, or hands-on-the-keyboard muscle to bring your organization to the Cloud, reach out to us. We’ve got a number of financial incentives available to help small-to-mid sized businesses, and have completed migrations for many different organizations of all sizes.