Betting on Atlassian DataCenter?

Photo by Taylor Vick on Unsplash

With Atlassian Server products being retired, customers are tempted choose Atlassians Data Center offering instead. After all, you can retain all your investments into the Server platform, the migration cost is small compared to migrating to another platform and users will not need to learn a new tool. Let us explain why it still might not be the greatest idea.

Making tough decisions

So you are now faced with the decision of either migrating to Cloud, migrating to Data Center or staying on Server until support for this offering runs out in 2024. First and foremost, Atlassian will encourage you to check out their Cloud offering, as they have price incentives and provide you with a migration assistant which also works for select third party apps. However, Atlassian Cloud is a different beast from Server in that the UI is slightly different, there is still a feature gap in terms of customization options and last but not least, the legal situation with the end of Privacy Shield for EU customers as well as individual compliance requirements make Cloud a non-starter for many customers.

So what is the alternative in terms of hosting behind the firewall going forward? At first glance the answer is simple - migrate to Atlassian Data Center products. Yes, they are more expensive, and you might not need local clustering - but after all, what other alternative is there? You get all the feature goodness from Server while gaining peace of mind for mission critical systems. Additionally, you don't need to change any of your apps as most of them will offer a Data Center version.

Investor relations

When making investment decisions on this scale, it also helps to read Atlassian Q1 2021 earnings call transcript. Atlassian's leadership has an interesting choice of words when it comes to Atlassian Data Center:

Now that said, I have talked to a whole number of CIOs over the last three months from everything from regulated industries, banks, European customers. And every single one of those CIOs have a plan to move to our cloud. They are -- and whether they're in a regulated industry or a European customer, and it's just a matter of when. And so, our data center product is going to be critical in making sure those customers are supported over the time frame for migration. But we expect that all our customers will migrate to cloud over the medium term. (Scott Farquhar -- Co-Founder & Co-Chief Executive Officer)

So don't bet all your horses on Data Center products. After all, everyone else is anyway moving to Cloud, so what are you doing?

Sarcasm aside, there was another bit in the earnings call that should be relevant to your decision:

For our larger customers in the 1,000-plus seat category, we would again look to offer material discount levels less than those that we would be offering someone moving over to the cloud but still material discount levels over a multiyear period.

So in plain english you would choose a product that Atlassian does not want you to sell and charge more as a result.

License troubles

For customer starting below the 500 user threshold for Atlassian Data Center, there is simply no license available for them to purchase. If your instance falls into the range from 1-500 users, you have 3 options:

  1. Purchase a Server maintenance license and use that for the next 3 years (and then continue to use an unsupported product or move to another solution)
  2. Upgrade to a full 500 seat Atlassian Data Center license
  3. Migrate to Cloud

Creative people have come up with a fourth option: Ask an Atlassian partner to host a data center license for you and share it with other customers to split the license cost. Unfortunately that is against Atlassian's license agreement which explicitly forbids " rent, lease, distribute, sell, sublicense, transfer, or provide access to the Software to a third party" (section 3.2). So please do not consider this option and make your partner aware of the Atlassian license agreement.

The way forward

You might have read between the lines of this blog post. We would not recommend moving to Data Center at this point, given that it's easily 5 times the cost of a normal server license. The security of investments looks very weak to us.

As we mentioned in our next steps blog, we advise you to wait, don't panic and look at competing products for the next year.

If you have more questions, or you want to discuss with us on an individual basis, reach out to us at