Atlassian offers many products to help you increase your productivity, including Atlassian Cloud and Atlassian Data Center. Though both Atlassian Cloud and Atlassian Data Center give you access to a full stack of Atlassian tools, they serve different purposes depending on the needs of your organization.
Atlassian Cloud is a managed and hosted solution, meaning Atlassian handles all required infrastructure and hardware for you. By maintaining and hosting your infrastructure for you, Atlassian Cloud helps you innovate faster with less management required.
Atlassian Data Center, in contrast, requires a self-hosted environment, meaning you have an on-premise center that you maintain, upgrade, and secure. Although you have to perform these management tasks yourself, Atlassian Data Center promotes flexibility and enables you to build a custom-tailored solution.
Both versions of the Atlassian suite include core applications like Jira Software, Jira Service Management, Confluence, and Bitbucket. However, some applications like Trello and Opsgenie are available with Atlassian Cloud only, while others, like Bamboo and Crowd, are only available in Atlassian Data Center.
Whether Atlassian Cloud or Atlassian Data Center is the best choice for your organization depends on your use case. This article highlights use cases where Atlassian Cloud or Atlassian Data Center would serve you better, helping you decide between Atlassian Cloud and Atlassian Data Center.
Atlassian Cloud Versus Atlassian Data Center: Use Cases
To understand the differences between Atlassian Cloud and Atlassian Data Center, you can compare the features, accompanying stack of Atlassian tools, and infrastructure management requirements for each solution. However, it’s also helpful to compare the use cases for each solution and understand how their capabilities and limitations match up to your organization’s business goals.
Global Product Teams
Globally-distributed product teams need tools that enable collaboration without adding friction. Atlassian Cloud tools like Jira and Confluence let remote teams brainstorm, plan, and track the development of new product features from anywhere, on any device, without requiring anyone to sign into a company VPN to use on-premises tools.
Security and Governance
Integration with Atlassian Access means Atlassian Cloud apps work seamlessly with your existing single sign-on (SSO) and identity management infrastructure. Atlassian Cloud is compliant with strict regulations like PCI DSS, SOC 3, and GDPR, so you can spend more time being productive and less time worrying about compliance and governance.
Global enterprises need tools that work 24 hours a day because downtime is expensive. Atlassian Cloud offers service level agreements (SLAs) up to 99.95 percent — meaning your productivity apps are always available when needed.
Looking to Leverage Cloud-Only Atlassian Tools
Some Atlassian tools are only available in Atlassian Cloud, such as:
- Trello for lightweight project planning and collaboration
- Opsgenie for IT incident response and on-call management
If applications like these are essential parts of your organization’s workflows, Atlassian Cloud is an ideal choice.
Atlassian Data Center
Requiring More Infrastructure and Environment Control
Large, established teams that require more control over their infrastructure than Cloud offers can use Atlassian Data Center. While Atlassian Cloud offers excellent flexibility, Atlassian Data Center lets you control how and where you run your applications. Atlassian Data Center is the ideal choice if you require a traditional on-premises deployment or want to deploy to a private cloud.
Additionally, if you’re working in an industry that requires a high level of control and security, like a government agency or financial institution, using Atlassian Data Center would be an ideal solution because it gives you tighter environmental control and customizability to maintain security and meet regulatory conditions.
Retaining Customizations Over Time
Atlassian Data Center is the best choice if your teams are moving from previous versions of Jira Software or Confluence and you want to retain customizations built into your products over time. Many long-time users of Atlassian applications have built deep integrations between these apps and internal line-of-business systems. Making those integrations work with Atlassian Cloud may range from difficult to impossible.
Adding New Customizations
Organizations looking for more customization options to meet their exact business needs without sacrificing performance or security are better-suited to Atlassian Data Center. Although Atlassian Cloud offers many integration points via APIs, on-premises Atlassian deployments are easier to integrate deeply with the rest of your enterprise’s applications.
Needing to Meet Compliance Criteria
Organizations with strict compliance and regulatory requirements may not be met by Atlassian Cloud’s capabilities (though note that Cloud does support SOC2, SOC3, and PCI DSS).
With Atlassian Data Center, you are fully responsible for managing your system’s security and ensuring it stays compliant with industry regulations. This means additional work for your organization, but that application security and compliance are as strict as you need.
Thinking Long-Term About a Cloud-first Future
Migrating to the cloud offers notable long-term benefits, including server savings of 30 percent, which is due to right-sizing servers, IT cost savings of 20 percent, and giving your organization a competitive edge by enabling staff to spend more time on strategic, business development tasks and less time on infrastructure maintenance and planning. These benefits have led to widespread cloud adoption, with Gartner predicting that more than 50 percent of IT spending will shift to the cloud by 2025.
Although you can use Atlassian tools in your data center, migrating to Atlassian Cloud offers additional benefits that help future-proof your business and enable you to get the most out of Atlassian tools, including:
- Improved team collaboration and easier access to Atlassian experts if you need support, training, or mentoring.
- Reduced IT resource costs associated with maintaining your in-house infrastructure.
- Better scalability to meet peak demands without downtime; data centers cannot be easily scaled vertically like SaaS.
- Get faster time to value with Atlassian’s latest apps, features, and integrations. You can use the newest apps and features as soon as they are available rather than waiting for an upgrade cycle.
- Moving your Data Center products to Cloud means you can take advantage of Atlassian’s SaaS-only tools.
Choosing between Atlassian Cloud and Atlassian Data Center is not always a clear-cut decision. It’s important to fully understand what you’re looking to achieve by using an on-premise or Cloud-based solution and what tools each solution offers to help you meet your goal.
Migrating to Atlassian Cloud reduces costs, minimizes maintenance times, and enables you to develop faster. However, performing a migration can be challenging, especially if you’re not starting with a fresh instance. You must migrate your users, apps, and data, meaning the chances of downtime and overall complexity are high. Similarly, when working with Atlassian Data Center, you take on significant maintenance, security, and configuration responsibilities. Though this independence provides you with more control over your instance, it also means you don’t have direct support from Atlassian if there are any problems with your infrastructure.
Fortunately, you’re not alone. Praecipio Consulting is an Atlassian Platinum Partner, and we’re ready to help you select — and implement — the best Atlassian solution for your enterprise. Contact Praecipio Consulting to help guide you through the journey of a successful migration to Atlassian Cloud or Atlassian Data Center.