Migrating Jira Software, JSM & Confluence to Atlassian Cloud


You’ve heard the news, checked out the benefits, and decided that now is the time to take your organization to the next level by moving your Atlassian applications to the cloud!  All you need to do now is figure out how to safely migrate all of your data and customizations.  While it sounds like a weighty task, the good news is there are several different paths to choose from. However, every organization is unique, and there is no one size fits all solution.  The best path for you will depend on your particular configuration and migration requirements.  Some of the factors include:

  1. The number of users that will need to be migrated
  2. Marketplace apps
  3. Tool integrations
  4. Application customizations

Read on to find out how you can prepare and narrow down the options to find the path to the cloud that is right for your organization.

Migration Preparation

The first and most important step you’ll take in your journey to the cloud is assessing your current Jira and Confluence servers.  While Jira and Confluence Cloud meet or exceed standard server-based functionality right out of the box, you may find that some of the functionality you have grown accustomed to may not be present or may work a bit differently in the Atlassian Cloud. 

How many projects/spaces do you currently have, and how large are their contents? Review your active projects and spaces, with an eye towards what needs to be retained and what would be OK to archive.  Take stock of the apps and customizations you are currently making use of.  You should also review how many users you currently support in the server environment and how many you will need to support in Cloud.  Consider the number and size of attachments currently in use – are you approaching the storage limit for your Cloud plan?  Do you have any tool integrations other potential infrastructure blockers (networking, firewall, A/V, or user directories) to consider?

Apps aren’t automatically migrated when you move from server to cloud. To migrate any relevant app data, you’ll need to work with the vendor for each app. This includes Atlassian-built apps, like Team Calendars and Questions for Confluence. Some apps can export and import their data, but you’ll need to check with the app developers or their documentation to confirm if this is possible. We’ve assembled a set of steps to follow to help you audit, assess, and select applications for migration. Read this blog to learn more about assessing apps and customizations before moving to the Atlassian Cloud.

Once you have taken inventory and made a full assessment of your current server environment, you can use that information to find the migration method that works best for your organization.

Types of Atlassian Migration Methods

There are several methods of migration, each with its own pros and cons.  The diagrams and narratives below can help you choose the right path.

Atlassian Cloud Migration Assistant

One of the easiest methods of Cloud migration is through the Jira and Confluence Cloud Migration Assistants.  The Assistants help you easily move Jira and Confluence content from your server to the cloud. Built and maintained by Atlassian, these apps are free to install and use.  Once installed, you can perform app assessments, choose what you want to move to the cloud, and start migrating at your convenience, monitoring progress throughout the migration process.


The Cloud Migration Assistants provide a host of features to guide you through the migration process. These apps are installed in your server instance and can help identify issues before you migrate. For example, the Cloud Migration Assistants:

  1. Help assess your apps to prepare for migration.
  2. Will not overwrite existing data in your cloud site.
  3. Lets you can choose what Jira projects and Confluence spaces you want to migrate.
  4. Can migrate only users and groups if you would like. The tool can be used to migrate users that are managed by external directories. You can also choose to migrate only users related to the projects or spaces you need to migrate.
  5. Provides the ability to migrate in stages.
  6. Guide you through the migration with an easy to use interface


It’s important to note that the Cloud Migration Assistants are not yet a complete solution.  You should be aware of the following:

  1. App data won’t be migrated; to migrate any relevant data, you’ll need to work with the vendors for your particular apps. Some apps can export and import their data, but you’ll need to check with the app developers or their documentation to confirm if this is possible.
  2. Jira Service Management (formerly Jira Service Desk) data cannot be migrated with the Cloud Migration Assistant – you must use Jira Site Import or CSV import instead.
  3. Advanced Roadmaps (formerly Portfolio for Jira) data will not be migrated.
  4. You’ll need to be on a supported self-managed version – your licenses must be active on your server instances.
  5. The Cloud Migration Assistant can’t migrate some Jira data.   This includes mail handlers, certain types of custom fields, workflow attributes, and more. For more information, see what can and can’t be migrated by the Jira Cloud Migration Assistant.

Site Import

This method uses a Jira or Confluence backup to import everything from one site into the Atlassian Cloud. Beware: this method will overwrite any existing data in your cloud site, so it is only recommended when you’re moving to a new cloud site.


  1. Good for migrations to new cloud sites
  2. Jira Service Management and Advanced Roadmaps data will be migrated.
  3. Can migrate all data at once


  1. Because this method is “all or nothing,” large amounts of data can result in longer downtimes.
  2. As with the Cloud Migration Assistant, app data won’t be migrated.
  3. The migration will overwrite any existing data in your cloud site (except users and groups)
  4. Users may need to be imported separately.
  5. Can only migrate all users except users from external directories.
  6. You’ll need to be on a supported self-managed version – your licenses must be active on your server instances.
  7. You can’t choose what you do and don’t want to migrate (for example, only select projects)
  8. For Jira, Attachments need to be split into 2 – 5 GB chunks to avoid timeout errors.
  9. For Confluence, a site import will fail for backup files greater than 200 MB.  You may need to consider workarounds or contact support to increase the limit.
  10. For Confluence, this option is not available for cloud sites that also have Jira installed.  In these cases, you must use Confluence Cloud space import instead.

CSV Import (Jira Only)

When migrating from another issue tracker, you can export data to a comma-separated value (CSV) file and then import that file into your Jira Cloud applications. CSV files are text files representing tabulated data and are supported by most applications that handle tabulated data.  You will use this method when:

  1. You want to migrate only some projects to the cloud.
  2. You want to migrate to an existing cloud site.
  3. You want to migrate in phases.
  4. You need to merge multiple Jira Cloud sites.
  5. You’re migrating Jira Service Management (formerly Jira Service Desk) from server to cloud.


CSV import offers several advantages:

  1. This method will not overwrite existing data in your cloud site.
  2. You can choose specifically which issues you want to migrate.
  3. This method requires no knowledge of how to install and set up a server application.
  4. You can migrate your data in stages.
  5. Jira Service Management (formerly Jira Service Desk) data can be migrated.


While the simplest approach, CSV import also migrates the least amount of data. Limitations include:

  1. As with the Cloud Migration Assistant, app data won’t be migrated.
  2. This method only imports issues, not entire projects; therefore, you’ll need to recreate and set these up in your cloud site before importing the CSV.
  3. Issue History will not be retained – for example, timestamps of issues transitioned or updated. Agile reports in Jira Software will no longer have the issue history data needed to correctly present charts such as burndowns, cycle times.
  4. Issue rank will not be retained, so any manual ranking of Jira Software boards will be lost.
  5. You can only export 1,000 issues per spreadsheet by default.
  6. You’ll need to follow additional steps to import attachmentsSprints, and Versions – click on each link to learn more about the options you have for each.
  7. Links to Confluence pages under the “Mentioned On” section in Jira issues will not be imported.
  8. Users will not be imported.  For more information, review Atlassian’s User Migration Strategies.
  9. Global and project-level configuration settings must be the same between the source and destination.

Space Import (Confluence Only)

This method allows you to import XML exports of individual spaces into the destination cloud site. This process will add those spaces on top of the existing spaces without overwriting any data. Use this method to merge multiple Confluence Cloud sites or if the Confluence Cloud Migration Assistant can’t be used.


  1. This method allows you to merge with an existing Confluence Cloud site without overwriting data.
  2. You can migrate in stages.
  3. You can migrate to sites that have Jira installed.


  1. Each space needs to be migrated individually.
  2. App data and users won’t be migrated.
  3. If importing from Server or Data Center, you must be on version 6.14 or later.

Create a Migration Plan

Now that you have assessed your current instances and chosen a method, you can formulate a plan.

  • The first step will be to obtain and prepare your cloud site for migration; if this is a new site, you will not need to do anything special.  However, depending on your migration path, you may need to create and configure Jira projects and Confluence spaces in your Cloud site to receive imported data.
  • You should back up data, performing not only a full database backup but also attachments, avatars, and logos.
  • Conduct a test migration with a full UAT cycle. We recommend creating a dedicated Jira project to track issues arising in UAT.
  • Review your UAT results, addressing issues, and re-testing if needed.
  • Be sure to fully document your final migration plan, making special note of any deviations from the original plan that had to be made.

As you formulate your plan, be sure to coordinate with your IT Support team to identify a target date to migrate, schedule an outage window, ensure your support team will be available, and most importantly, create a rollback plan if anything goes wrong. With a comprehensive plan in place and support team members on standby, you will be able to confidently migrate your server content to the cloud, according to your comprehensive migration plan, when the time comes.

After performing the migration and running some quick post-migration smoke tests, we recommend conducting a comprehensive UAT cycle, tracking all issues in a dedicated project.  Once all issues have been addressed, you can inform your users that the new cloud site is ready for use!

Need Atlassian Migration Help?

Addteq will provide a FREE Migration Readiness Assessment to determine your current setup and specialized situations. This will include license & app assessment, migration steps, major blockers, and much more.

This assessment will help you answer:

  1. Which hosting option is better for us, Cloud or Data Center?
  2. If Cloud, which service tier should we choose – Standard/Premium or Enterprise?
  3. If Data Center, should we use multi or single node?
  4. What about apps?
  5. How can we maintain GDPR and/or other forms of compliance?
  6. Should we stick with our Server instance until the end of support in 2024?

Check out our 4 levels of cloud maturity infographic to help get you started. 

We are here to help answer any questions you may have. Just let us know how we can support you.


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