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an illustration of a man trying to make a decision in favor of Atlassian Cloud or Data Center platform

Let's compare Atlassian’s Cloud and Data Center platforms

Alice Bakhoff

NB! Please note that Atlassian products are developed rapidly. The product features listed in the article may change over time.


Atlassian has announced their roadmap for end-of-support on their Server platform in 2024. Sooner or later, customers on the Server platform need to start thinking about moving to Cloud or Data Center.


How to be sure which option covers your organization's needs? Which are the decisive key factors: functionality, user tier, regulations, or performance?


There is no right answer when considering all the variables; nevertheless, it can be admitted that Atlassian successfully keeps investing into improving both platforms. In the following article, we will take a closer look at what options both platforms provide on which conditions. 



Atlassian Cloud – innovative and agile for convenient use 

Atlassian states that nine out of ten new customers choose Cloud for their organization's data management. The Atlassian Cloud platform has many advantages. Let's have a look at some of its main advantages:


  • fast setup and scaling – teams can set up their workspace within minutes and on-demand scaling enables convenient growth;
  • Atlassian Marketplace apps – over a thousand apps and plugins enable you to extend the functionality of Atlassian products;
  • security – real-time security updates and automatic backups every 24 hours guarantee maximum security for your data;  
  • automatic updates – immediate availability of system updates and features saves time that would otherwise be spent on manual updates;
  • lower expenses – save money on physical hardware and maintenance costs;
  • Free, Standard, Premium, Enterprise – choose between four different Cloud plans according to the complexity of your business and user tiers (max 10 000 users).


Atlassian Cloud is becoming increasingly more popular. The ability to set teamwork up fast along with its convenient solutions and innovativeness attract many growing industries and start-ups.


However, you should consider that not all Apps are yet available for Cloud. In case the work processes of your teams depend on a specific Atlassian Marketplace App, we recommend you check whether it is available for Cloud and if not, research possible alternatives. 


Among other things, Atlassian continues to improve the security of their Cloud platform and product security program, which is already backed by a number of certificates (SOC2, SOC3, ISO27001, ISO27018, PCI DSS and CSA STAR), in compliance with regulations (GDPR) and supported by numerous system architecture features and updates like Atlassian Access, Encryption, and the Zero Trust framework.


Zero Trust contains security gates between tools, which has systems check identity and device credentials so access to the whole system is never automatically granted to anyone. Encrypting data at rest as well as data in transit guards your data against unauthorized access and disclosure. 



Atlassian Data Center – high availability platform for critical systems 

Data Center is a good option for organizations with critical systems and high security requirements that need to maintain maximum control over the location and maintenance of their Atlassian product instances.


Let's have a look at some of the main advantages of the Atlassian Data Center platform:

  • scalability – Data Center is designed to process and host big amounts of data as well as a large number of user tiers;
  • choice of infrastructure – you can choose whether you set up your database as an on-premise solution or as IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) on AWS (Amazon Web Services) or Azure;
  • high availability – a cluster solution with a load balancer and several nodes guarantees high availability of the service;
  • security and control – your team is responsible for the security that is supported by Data Center features like SAML 2.0, Advanced Auditing and Disaster Recovery;
  • Atlassian Marketplace Apps – over a thousand applications and plugins enable you to extend the functionality of Atlassian products;
  • improved performance - CDN (Content Delivery Network) is a global network of proxy servers that eliminates performance problems in geographically distributed teams.


Infrastructures available for Data Center include a high availability cluster solution (several connected nodes and a load balancer), which can be irreplaceable for customers like banks and public sector organizations.


Although, if a cluster solution is too complex for your needs, it is also possible to move to a single node server solution.


The on-premise solution requires your technical team's involvement when it comes to product version updates. To guarantee the high availability of products during updates, Atlassian offers zero downtime deployment for Jira Data Center products that enables efficient availability and usability of all Jira versions even while updating. 


Advanced Auditing for Jira Software, Jira Service Management, Confluence and Bitbucket, which was introduced in April, enables improved action tracking, login and risk analysis for you to have a clear insight of the actions taking place in your instances.


When it comes to users, you should keep in mind that the minimum user tier for the Jira and Confluence Data Center is 500 (and 50 agents for Jira Service Management). However, compared to Cloud, there is no upper limit for user tiers in Data Center.


Currently, Bamboo for continuous integration is not yet available for Data Center, but Atlassian plans to release it in 2021.


Which solution should you choose?

With the cloud-first mission and the decision to end support for the Server platform, uncertainty among customers is understandable – should we also be ready for Data Center to disappear?


Atlassian has clearly stated that the Data Center platform will not come to an end. Based on continuous product, version, application, and security updates, we can see that Atlassian keeps investing in both Cloud and Data Center.


Additionally, it is good to keep in mind that Server has not disappeared just yet – depending on the situation, you can continue to use it for at least the next three years.


If we compare Atlassian’s Cloud and Data Center platforms, we can see that they are both fundamentally different platforms with individual features.


Cloud is a convenient solution for teams with smaller user tiers who don't need complex custom configurations.


Data Center’s main benefits are compliance with user-configured settings and complex security requirements, a large choice of Apps, and unlimited user tiers. Which platform to choose however, depends mostly on your organization's needs.


If you are using Atlassian products for the first time and have any additional questions or need help with choosing the right platform, don't hesitate to contact our experienced experts; we provide consultations and can help with everything regarding Atlassian products. More info here.


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