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Blog Version Of Podcast
Not a transcript, but a standalone blog post of the podcast if you are unable to listen. Enjoy!
What Is JIRA?
JIRA is an issue tracking system that has been primarily used within the software development field. Many, over the past few years, have found that JIRA is flexible enough to support other areas of focus outside of software development. Many non software development project teams use JIRA for tracking issues as well as Finance teams and more.
JIRA is also an expansive platform with its marketplace, where developers can provide solutions on top of JIRA via plugins. This, combined with several third party tools, providing integration with JIRA, make JIRA a powerhouse platform that becomes the central hub for many businesses and teams.
Choosing Between JIRA Cloud & JIRA Server
One of the many questions I hear from those that are interested in getting started with JIRA is which version to choose? Do I choose the cloud version? Or self hosted version?
Sometimes the question is not all that easy to answer for someone unless they explain what they are looking to get out of JIRA. So which should you choose?
The mysterious all encompassing cloud. Everyone is talking about clouds and the clouds apparently hold everything as well but what is it? The cloud is nothing more than a network of servers that play host to the content or software you are trying to access. Atlassian has provided a cloud based solution for many of their products with JIRA being one of them.
Who Is This Aimed At?
- Small businesses and teams.
- Small businesses and teams with no system administrators on staff.
- Businesses that want minimal overhead in system administration. Meaning, they do not want to maintain servers, software upgrades, and other things that an IT system administrator, server administrators and a host of others must take care of.
What Does JIRA Cloud Give You?
Fast Start-Up: Once you’ve made the decision to go with JIRA Cloud, the rest is easy and fast! After purchasing your license, it will only take a few minutes for your new JIRA instance to be setup.
Upgrades, No Worry: You do not have to worry about staying current with releases or lagging behind due to your internal project road maps.
Less Administration: With cloud instances of JIRA, you simply take out a huge overhead of worrying about servers, networking, memory, CPU, etc. Atlassian does this for you so you can focus on other things.
More Money: Without the need to worry about servers and technical guru’s, you can save on costs of managing that yourself.
Security: JIRA Cloud enforces SSL by default.
What Does JIRA Cloud NOT Give You?
Full Customization: You’ll find there are some tweaks you can make to JIRA that requires the creation and modification of system files. You won’t have access to the file system, nor database if you go with JIRA Cloud.
Full Administration: There are certain JIRA system administrator functions that will forever be beyond your reach.
LDAP Integration: You can create users manually, allow open registration, registration for a specific domain (email address ending in @yourdomain.com), or Google Apps integration. At the moment, you cannot connect to your own system.
Add-on Choice: Not all add-ons in the Atlassian marketplace are Cloud compatible. Before making your choice, understand what JIRA can do for you and if there are plugins you are interested in. Check to see if they are Cloud compatible or not. With the Atlassian Connect developer platform, more and more plugins are becoming Cloud compatible. Atlassian Connect can also give you the ability to write your own custom plugins.
Expandable Storage: Currently, JIRA Cloud is limited to 25gb per Cloud instance. Luckily, you can control attachments in your JIRA. Default is 10mb, but if you have an attachment hungry user base, you may want to reduce and or keep an eye on this precious resource.
No Staging Platforms: You have production and that is it. If you are working on special products or any other features, plugins, etc., you must install to production. There is no Test or Dev server that you can run verification at first.
This model is what we are all used to. You buy a piece of software and you install it on your own servers that you maintain yourself. So, why would you go with this option over the Cloud version?
Who Is This Aimed At?
- Large businesses and teams.
- Businesses and teams that plan to integrate JIRA with their own internal systems.
- Businesses who may handle sensitive data and do not want any part of their data in the “cloud”.
- Businesses and teams that simply want full control over everything.
What Does JIRA Server Give You?
Everything that JIRA Cloud doesn’t give you. No list needed here. With your very own JIRA Server installation, you have full access to the application, file system & database. , integrate with your internal LDAP systems, have unlimited choice of plugins and expand storage to your liking.
Full Customization: You will be able to tweak and modify system files as needed. From simple tweaks such as adding a jira-config.properties file to disable the relative dates to modifying vm templates for other purposes.
Full Administration: You will have access to all JIRA System Administrator privileges.
LDAP Integration: You can create users manually, allow open registration, or integrate with one or many LDAP systems.
Add-on Choice: You are not restricted in your plugin choice.
Expandable Storage: Storage is only limited if you limit it. You can expand as needed.
Upgrades, When You Say: With JIRA Cloud you are upgraded automatically and that can be a good or bad thing. With JIRA Server you control when you upgrade JIRA or its plugins.
Staging Platforms: With JIRA Server you get a development license that you use on your staging platforms. This allows you to test out new versions of JIRA, plugins, or even your own customizations before migrating to production and impacting your user base.
What Does JIRA Server NOT Give You?
Ease Of Installation: JIRA is relatively easy to install on the server, but for new administrators, you must build out your server environments, your database, and then install and configure JIRA. For some, this can be a difficult and daunting task.
More Money: JIRA Server is going to be much more expensive than choosing the cloud solution due to the other aspects of the application that you have to worry about.
Which Is Right For You & Your Team?
In many things JIRA, there isn’t a straightforward answer. It all depends on your needs as a team and organization. You have already started out choosing an awesome issue tracking system that has a vast marketplace of plugins and integrations into other tools, now you just have to decide which version is right for you. But don’t fret! JIRA is flexible and allows you to grow as needed. If you decide that the Cloud version is right for you and your team as you are now and then later decide that the self-hosted option fits your needs better, you can easily migrate your data to your internal JIRA Server.