The End of Jira Server: What it means for your organization and how to prepare

Written by
Gal Fatal
Atlassian expert & Community leader
September 4, 2023
min read

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In 2020, Atlassian has announced that their server product support will discontinue by February 2024. As a Jira administrator, what implications does it have for you if you still utilize Atlassian products on the server edition? Let’s review available alternatives and how each option can affect your organization.

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Strategies for managing the server's end-of-support situation

Here are three options to manage the end-of-support and the impact of each option on users, Jira admins, and the entire organization.

Do nothing; keep working with the Atlassian server edition

One option is to keep your Atlassian server installation, although it is not recommended. The licenses for the Atlassian server products and the installed apps belong to you. You can stay with this server, stop paying maintenance, and continue using the same Atlassian products on your server for free indefinitely.

If you stay with unsupported Atlassian products, it's crucial to understand the impact on Jira admins and the users as well as the overall risk for your organization.

  • You won't be able to create a support ticket for Atlassian or any app vendor.
  • Atlassian and the app vendors will no longer offer updates for your server version. This means that you won't miss out just on feature updates but on security updates as well. If a severe security issue arises and no updates are available, your IT managers may not permit you to continue using the Atlassian server.
  • You will not be able to purchase and install new apps on your Atlassian server.

Considering those issues, I do not recommend staying with the server edition after February 2024 and I suggest preparing your plan beforehand.

Upgrade to Atlassian Data Center

Updating your Atlassian server installation to Data Center installation is a good option if you want to keep managing your server by yourself and limit your investment with the transition.

A good start is by checking Data Center pricing and licensing. Keep in mind that if you are using apps, you should also upgrade them to Data Center. Your pricing for each of them will be more expensive.

One of the most significant benefits of moving to Atlassian Data Center is the clustering option.

Clustering has a number of benefits:

High availability and failover

If one node in your application cluster goes down, the others take on the load, ensuring your users have uninterrupted access to the application.

Performance at scale

Each node added to your cluster increases concurrent user capacity, and improves response time as user activity grows.

Disaster recovery

You can deploy an offsite Disaster Recovery system for business continuity, even in the event of a complete system outage. Shared application indexes get you back up and running quickly.

Clustering requires infrastructure change. However, you can choose to keep working on your current server in a single node, without changing your infrastructure and configure clustering later if it’s needed. See the Atlassian Data Center architecture and infrastructure options.

If you want to limit investment, do a quick upgrade and reduce risk, you can start with a single node. In this case, the organization will mainly be affected by the prices of licenses and the introduction of new features that come with the Data Center License.

Keep it simple - a single node without clustering

If you decide to utilize the clustering option, it's important to note that it will require new infrastructure and configurations to be set up. However, implementing this option will result in high availability, improved performance, and disaster recovery for the organization.

Take advantage of the benefits of clustering:

Example for clustered Data Center architecture (Atlassian documentation)

Clustering is not the whole story. By installing Atlassian Data Center, you can access numerous new features that weren’t available in the Server installation–like Advanced Roadmaps and automation rules (for Jira software) or read-only mode and team calendars (for Confluence).

Your Jira admins and users can leverage these and other new features and enhancements.

See the complete list of Jira Server and Data Center features  and Confluence Server and Data Center features.

You can find a step-by-step guide with all the information needed to upgrade to Data Center in Atlassian documentation here: Data Center upgrade guide.

Migrate to Atlassian Cloud

Moving to the cloud is often the best choice for organizations because cloud products are well-suited for their needs. However, migrating to the cloud requires more planning and investing than upgrading to Data Center.

Explore the features and functional differences between Atlassian Cloud and Data Center products to find the right fit for your org: Compare Atlassian Cloud and Data Center.

Before starting, I recommend reviewing the available cloud licensing options. Atlassian offers three types of licenses: Free (for up to 10 users), Standard, Premium, and Enterprise. It is essential to compare the features and costs of each to determine twhat license fits your needs and budget.

Explore Jira cloud plans and pricing, Confluence plans and pricing and don’t forget to check the pricing for all necessary cloud apps individually.

If you have more than 1000 active users and are considering using Confluence, Trello, Jira work management and Atlas–check the benefits of having a single bundle license:

Atlassian Together Licensing.

There are several compelling reasons to make the switch to the cloud, such as seamless integration with popular cloud tools like Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Dropbox, Slack, Trello, and others.

Explore the benefits of migrating to the cloud with Jira software, Jira Service Management, Confluence, or Bitbucket.

When planning to migrate to the cloud, there are a few key points to keep in mind. Firstly, it's important to examine your apps and understand their usage on the server installation. Check for each app's cloud version and determine how to migrate your data separately. If you use apps like Scriptrunner, which have code behind them, it's essential to investigate it further. Migrating scripts is not a straightforward process and requires a developer and investment of research and time. Some scripts may need to be changed, while others could be replaced by automation rules in the cloud.

Secondly, the more customizations you have, the more investment will be required in cloud migration to adjust the customizations.

Thirdly, it's crucial to clean up the server installation. Avoid migrating old data or Jira elements that are no longer in use, such as projects, custom fields, filters, and boards.

See the article I wrote on best practices for reducing Jira customizations and overcoming common challenges to get an idea of which customization to reduce and some tips.

When migrating to the cloud, the impact on your organization is much more significant than upgrading to Data Center. While a one-time investment is involved in the migration process, you'll save IT resources as there will be no longer a need to maintain local servers. Additionally, it's essential to train your Jira admins on the changes between the server and cloud versions so they can fully understand new capabilities. Users will also benefit from various updates, including the new UI and features they did not have in the server installation. For a smooth transition, make sure to provide training sessions and guides for everyone before the migration.

Summary and conclusion

As we approach the deadline set by Atlassian for February 2024, Jira administrators and organizations using Atlassian products on the server installation face critical decisions. This transition presents an opportunity to reassess your software infrastructure and choose a path that aligns with your organization's goals and needs.

There are three main strategies for managing the impending end-of-support situation, each carrying distinct implications for administrators, users, and the entire organization.

  1. Stay with the server installation: While possible, this option has risks due to the lack of updates and security patches. Support and app installations will be unavailable, making this choice less than ideal.
  2. Upgrade to the Data Center installation: This path offers benefits like clustering for high availability and performance. It requires infrastructure changes but enables gradual upgrades and access to new features.
  3. Migrating to the cloud: This comprehensive approach suits those seeking seamless integration with various cloud tools. It requires significant planning but also  promises long-term savings, enhanced user experiences, and access to new capabilities.

In conclusion, organizations must carefully consider their needs, resources, and budgets when deciding on the right approach to discontinuing Atlassian server product support.

Written by
Gal Fatal

Gal Fatal has over ten years of experience in DevOps, ALM solutions, and Agile development using Atlassian solutions. Gal is a recognized expert in Atlassian tools, holding five different Atlassian certifications. He is leading the Atlassian community in Israel, where he has made significant contributions to the development and growth of the community in Israel over the past five years.

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