Jira Service Desk Server to Cloud Migration Guide

With more companies shifting to cloud-based Jira solutions, staying on a local server just doesn’t make sense. If you are a small to medium-sized business, performing a Jira server to cloud migration is essential. Cloud is the future as it not only offers better security but more features, infinite availability, and excellent accessibility. You’d be at a disadvantage if you decide to stick to local-hosted tools.

But how do you move your Jira Service Desks server data to the cloud? What are the requirements and what are the caveats? Is it hard, or maybe you should be doing this in the first place. Well, there is a ton we’d like to talk about and this is precisely what we will do so let’s not waste any time and dive into the details.

Cloud vs Server

Now we understand that not everyone is tech-savvy so let’s take a close look at the key differences of cloud and server-based systems. Knowing the fundamentals will help you realize why certain aspects of a cloud-based solution are in such demand and praise and why it is good to do a Jira server to cloud migration project.


So, long story short, a cloud-based service desk is a system that is not tied to a local network. It is fully accessible from any point in the world and can be used on a wide range of devices that aren’t x86 based (phones, tablets, other smart-devices). Outside of being accessible and compatible, cloud-based systems require no changes when new features are introduced.

Another key difference between cloud-based service desk systems is that they are highly scalable and can accommodate a massive amount of users at a time. Also, at times, cloud-based tools have unique features. Typically, cloud systems are sold as a monthly or yearly subscription.

Jira SD interface

Jira Service Desk interface. Source: atlassian.com


Server-based service desk solutions aren’t that different from cloud ones from a feature standpoint. However, they require more work around them. Unlike cloud-based systems, server ones require maintenance. Furthermore, server-based solutions are more susceptible to hardware failure, something that cloud systems can offset or avoid completely.

For server-based systems to expand or scale, additional hardware upgrades are required. However, this also means that you have complete control of the entire system as everything is local. Generally, server-based is sold as a stand-alone product that comes with a one-time purchase.

As you can see, there are quite a few differences between the two tools. In some cases, a cloud-based tool makes more sense but that is not common which leads us to the next section.

Why Companies Migrate

Now we can’t list everything but generally, there are three core reasons why so many companies choose to migrate to a cloud-based version of their system, which in our case would be Jira Service desk. Here are the reasons:

  1. Cheaper
  2. Secure
  3. Scalable

Let’s discuss each point in detail so that you can have a better understanding of why these things matter more than you think it might.


The number one objective of any business is income and if you can save on mandatory expenses, then you are freeing-up funds you can then use elsewhere. When doing a Jira server to cloud migration effort, you primarily move away from maintenance fees. Yes, taking good care of a dedicated server costs a lot of money (as you might have noticed already) as you not only have to make sure they are in top shape but are up to the snuff.

Regular hardware upgrades are common practice and if anything goes wrong, you are the one who will be crossing fingers that your valuable information didn’t get lost in the process. Another point to make is that you will also be responsible for expansions. Every time you add a new user to the system, more resources are being deducted, meaning that you will always hit the ceiling.


We already mentioned that your data can be lost when hardware fails. However, that is far from it. The data breach is a threat that will come from the outside, meaning that you will again, have to worry about the security of your records. Hiring a security firm is an option but it is an expensive endeavor. Trying to protect your stuff on your own is a possibility but how long can you do this on your own. Then there is the fact that you will need to perform data backups. Judging how much data on average is being stored nowadays (a 2016 study found out that it is 162,9 TB), you will run out of storage very very fast.

Just like servers, you will need to take good care of your mechanical drives (SSDs are out of the question, you’ll go bankrupt) as these are afraid of all kinds of things. Cloud eliminates all of that as this is not your concern but rather the vendor’s responsibility.


And last but not least, going cloud means that you have a ton of room for scalability. You are not limited by hardware and all features will grow accordingly every time you opt to go a tier higher. However, the best part is that it is all instantaneous as all is done remotely. You can add new users on the fly without worrying about both, storage and performance too.

Preparing for Migration

Alright, now that we’ve covered the differences and the reasons, let’s take a look at what things you have to do before performing a Jira server to cloud migration. We will stick only to the essentials so if we missed something that would be “nice to move” this is the reason why. Here is a list of prep work you need to do before performing any kind of migration effort:

  • Qualify Data
  • Optimize Data
  • Settle on a Budget
  • Spread the News

Qualifying Data

Ok, so first thing first, we need to identify what exactly you need and don’t. The reason why you want to do something like this is that often, you have stuff you don’t really need. That’s right, that macro you’ve used a long time ago. or that bit of customer data that even time forgot, you don’t need to move it. It takes a lot of time and at the end of the day, you will most likely leave it or delete it. Scroll through your entire database and see what info you need and what might go straight to the bin.

Optimizing Data

Now that you know what you need and what you decide to leave, you can condense the data you have into an archive of some sort. It will take you quite some time as such a process is not only long because you don’t know what to condense but the shrinking process takes time. However, doing so will speed things up for you during the migration process.

Settle on Budget

Another important thing to keep in mind is for your migration to be successful, a proper budget needs to be allocated. Having a fixed budget will allow you to avoid common mistakes such as going overboard.

Spread the News

A good majority of your services will not be available during the migration process. All involved parties (this includes your staff and your customer base) should be informed and aware of your migration efforts. If possible, try and devise some alternative communication channels and see if it is possible to provide at least some support to your people. Doing so will help you avoid dissatisfaction among patrons, as well as show you in a positive light.

Migration Methods

And now for the Jira server to cloud migration itself. As the title suggests, there is more than just one migration method for you to use. However, both of them require different degrees of involvement and expenses. You can do the native migration method or opt for the paid automated one. Either way, let’s discuss both ways in detail.

Native Implementation

As the name suggests, this is the Attlassians native migration system that you can use to move your data. You can either use the CSV import function or opt to use the Cloud Site system. Here’s what each of these systems offers in terms of benefits and limitations.

Table 1

CSV Import System

  • Allows you to select what data you want to move
  • You don’t need to know how to install and configure a server app
  • Can migrate in stages
  • Does not overwrite any existing data in your cloud site
  • It is possible to move Jira Service Desk data
  • You cannot migrate your app data
  • Your users will not be imported
  • Does not allow you to import projects, only issues
  • Your entire Issue history and rank will not make the shift
  • You can only export 1,000 issues per spreadsheet by default
  • Requires extra work for your attachments to be moved


Table 2

Cloud Site System

  • Allows you to move Jira Service Desk data
  • Can migrate all moveable data at once
  • No coding required
  • Your app data will not be moved
  • Existing data, except for users and groups will be overwritten by the migration
  • You will need to import Users separately
  • Your self-hosted version should be compatible with the cloud version
  • You cannot select what you would like to move (i.e projects only)
  • To avoid time out errors, you’ll need to split attachments into 5Gb chunks
  • Due to massive volumes of data, more downtime can be expected.

As evident, both methods aren’t perfect but they are free and can be used anytime for as long as you meet the requirements, i.e if your self-hosted Jira Service Desk system is of supported version.

Help Desk Migration

This is a paid solution developed and maintained by us. Its core benefit is that it doesn’t deal with files and does not have a lot of the limitations listed above. You don’t need to worry that you can’t code either. All is automated and accelerated. Here are some of the benefits you’ll get when opting to use our migration wizard:

Table 3

Help Desk Migration

  • Allows you to move Jira Service Desk data without CSV files
  • Can migrate almost all your data at once
  • Will move all your attachments regardless of size
  • No coding required
  • Saves time
  • Accurate
  • Allows you to test things before full migration
  • Will work with all versions of Jira Service Desk
  • Pay only for the records moved
  • Is a paid solution
  • Cannot move macro
  • Can stuck on bad data (will be moved manually)
  • Depending on the data, can take a while to move things

As expected from a paid solution, there aren’t that many cons to work with. Most of them boil down to the price. If you have the budget, don’t bother wasting time with the free options as they are long and quite limiting in what you can do. Other than that, it works and you don’t have to take our word for it. Check out what our customers have to say.

To see how Help Desk Migration service works with your own eyes, visit our How It Works page or try to set up a free demo migration.

Post Migration Work

We’ve reached the final phase of our Jira server to cloud migration effort, the post-migration work. There’s not much you need to do in this case as you aren’t switching vendors but rather juggling different versions of the same tool. In any case, after you are done moving your stuff to the new tool, you need to check a few things.

Namely, whether your stuff is where it should be. That’s right, even in case you did a demo migration, double-checking everything is essential. Secondly, make sure all record types are working and readable. Now we understand that checking everything will take some time, we still urge that you verify the essentials.

Lastly, you need to make sure that everyone is on board. In other words, you need to update everyone again about the fact that you are open for support. This might seem insignificant but you did move to the cloud and you did get the benefits of the cloud-based system, meaning your customers and staff got the benefits as well. But before you do the announcement, make sure that all crucial links work as intended. The last thing you want to do is point people to a broken help section.

More Questions?

And that’s about wrapping things for today. When it comes to migrating to the same vendor, things are a bit less hectic, especially if compared to a new tool. However, that is only true if you know how to do the migration process right. So, if you have any questions, or need any help, we are there where we are always. Just drop a message or give us a call and we’ll get you running in no time but for now, thanks for joining!

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