7 min read

Cloud Versus Data Center: Exploring Use Cases For Both Solutions

By Praecipio Consulting on Sep 2, 2022 10:00:00 AM

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 SoftwareJira Service ManagementConfluence, 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. 

 

Atlassian Cloud

 

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.

Reliability

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.  

 

Conclusion

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.

 

Topics: reliability security cloud compliance data-center atlassian-cloud
8 min read

How to Achieve an Effective Data Migration

By Praecipio on Aug 1, 2022 10:00:00 AM

If your Atlassian Platform is the heartbeat of your organization and you are still on Server, then you already know that cloud migration is in your future since Atlassian will no longer provide support for its Server products as of February of 2024

So, there is no time like the present to start putting your Atlassian Cloud migration in motion. Every organization is unique and will require a different approach. If you're overwhelmed about the entire migration process, a good place to start is getting familiar with these four Cloud Migration Strategies and the pros and cons of each one.

The strategy you choose will determine the success of your migration outcome, so it’s important to spend time designing one that best fits the needs of your organization and investing the time to properly prepare your instance and teams. This blog post will discuss how to prepare, plan and carry out a successful migration strategy, including which Atlassian tools can help you along the way and how working with an Atlassian Solution Partner can support you throughout your migration journey.

Preparing for an Effective Data Migration

As an Atlassian Cloud Specialized Partner, we’ve seen it all when it comes to cloud migrations and can attest to the importance of investing the time in planning and preparing for an Atlassian Cloud migration. While many organizations mistakenly think that the migration itself is the most critical part of the process, it’s actually the prep work that will set you up for success. For example, we’ve helped our customers achieve a 100 percent migration success rate thanks to these 6 steps that involve diligent planning and rigorous testing:

Assess

During this phase, you'll find out what you need to prepare your environment for Atlassian Cloud. Take stock of your Atlassian footprint–including current applications, integrations, and customizations–to understand the complexity and level of effort required to migrate your instance to cloud.

Plan

Now that you know where you are going and how to get there, it's time to start planning the technical and operational aspects of your Atlassian Cloud migration. You'll also choose your migration strategy and method, as well as establish a timeline. 

Prepare

With your migration plan and timelines in place, you're ready to prep your instance and teams for the big move. You'll also want to clean up your data and build a communication plan for keeping users and key stakeholders up-to-date with migration milestones. 

Test

Doing a test run of your Atlassian migration is a critical step to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible. This is also an opportunity to uncover any issues and determine how long the migration will take. 

Migrate

It's go-time! Now is your chance to resolve any last-minute issues and carry out your migration by moving your instance over to Atlassian Cloud. You're finally on the path to brighter days.

Launch

You've made it to your final destination! Now that you have successfully migrated to cloud, it's time to get your users onboarded and resolve any post-migration issues or questions.

Minimizing Downtime and Risk During the Migration

Organizations want to protect their data and systems to comply with industry regulations and earn customer trust. While migrating to Atlassian Cloud may feel somewhat intimidating—considering the level of risk and resources involved—there are several strategies you can use to minimize both downtime and risk.

Effective Project Management

Having a clear migration plan helps to set out the processes, workflows, and individuals that will make your cloud migration successful, as this planning enables you to avoid expected surprises that could cause downtime.

During migration planning, you can establish KPIs and performance baselines that you can use to determine how well your application/service is performing once migrated and highlight any errors that can cause downtime post-migration. You might select areas related to user experience (latency and downtime), overall performance (error rates and availability), and infrastructure (network throughput and memory use). Having these baselines in place helps you determine potential risks of downtime or other areas that can cause delays during migration.

As you prepare for migration, you should prioritize migration components and establish your migration plan. Will you migrate at once, or in pieces? Understanding system dependencies can help you prevent downtime from occurring, which is especially important to prevent downtime snowballs.

Before migrating, perform refactoring or other work on your applications/services as needed to ensure they’ll work properly once migrated. This helps to reduce any downtime that could stem from application performance. Additionally, paying attention to the resource allocation of your application helps to prevent any unforeseen resource consumption that could lead to downtime or application unavailability as a consequence of nonexistent or over-extended resources.

Establish Good Communication

Having a solid communication plan can minimize downtime and risk during the migration process. Everyone involved in the migration, whether taking on a more active or passive role, needs to be familiar with the established plan, who to contact in the case of an unforeseen incident, and how to respond to incidents if they do occur.

Additionally, since cloud migration does pose risks to security and can cause potential downtime if not handled in a thoughtful and well-planned way, it’s important to communicate with stakeholders, too. 

Communication and project management tools like Jira and Trello help everyone understand what they need to do to ensure a smooth migration. If downtime does occur, or resources and data aren’t available and working as anticipated post-migration, these tools help notify those in the migration process about the issues so that teams can move swiftly to begin resolving incidents to minimize interruptions. 

Secure Your Data and Resources

Before migrating, it’s good practice to encrypt data with secure network protocols (like SSL, TLS, and HTTPS) to minimize the risk of a data breach. Encrypting your data helps to keep it secure, preventing bad actors from being able to capture, distribute, or generally see sensitive or critical data during migration. 

Not having adequate security protocols in place when migrating data can expose your system to malicious or unauthorized users and systems. So, you need to prioritize security to ensure systems aren’t compromised and protect data both in transit and at rest.

To maximize your security measures and limit the blast radius, you can also adopt a security information and event management (SIEM) solution that centralizes alert management to identify and respond to suspicious behavior in real time.

For example, Atlassian Access is available as an enterprise-wide subscription, providing added security across all your Atlassian Cloud products. It comprises a central admin console for complete visibility into your system. Gain insights into your network, proactively repel cyberattacks, customize authentication policies, and effortlessly orchestrate everything across your environment.

Practice Identity Management

Before, during, and after the migration, all users accessing your resources should be identified and verified to ensure that they’re supposed to access data, resources, and other sensitive information. Having a central governance system ensures that no unauthorized users can access the system and minimizes risk during the migration process.

Identity and access management tools like Atlassian Cloud IAM help ensure only the correct people and tools access the new cloud system and data. Atlassian Access’s helpful features include SAML single sign-on (SSO) for increased security and seamless authentication, audit logging for monitoring activities, automatic product discovery to identify shadow IT, enforced two-step verification upon login for improved security, and integration with CASB software McAfee MVISION Cloud to monitor suspicious activities. These features help ensure the correct people and systems access the new cloud environment and data during migration.

Perform Frequent Testing

Testing your data management tools helps you to identify—and prevent—potential issues that you’ll encounter during migration, thereby helping you minimize disruption and prevent delays. This form of testing is called migration testing, and its goal is to verify that the migration will be smooth. 

In addition to reducing the risk of downtime, migration testing also helps you ensure that your migration won’t result in data being lost, data integrity being sacrificed, and helps you ensure that all data is available, accessible, and functional in its new environment.

Effective Planning

Every migration is unique, so what holds for one company may not apply to another. For instance, the technologies you use, the applications you need to migrate, or the compliance rules you must follow differ from organization to organization.

Accordingly, you should establish a migration strategy that helps you get the most out of your investment in Atlassian Cloud and sets you up for success throughout the entire migration process. When deciding on your migration strategy, you should consider:

  • Long-term goals
  • Budget
  • Migration process duration
  • Apps and integrations
  • Compliance privacy requirements
  • Recovery point objectives (RPOs) and recovery time objectives (RTOs) of applications that you plan to migrate
  • The total cost of ownership (TCO) of cloud infrastructure

Atlassian has resources available to help you with planning and carrying out your migration. For example, the Atlassian Cloud free trial enables you to test new Cloud-only features, helping you build your case for migrating cloud and gaining stakeholder buy-in. Also, Atlassian’s free Jira Cloud Migration Assistant helps migrate projects from Jira Service Management, Jira Software, and Jira Work Management on-premises to Cloud.

However, even with these helpful tools, migrations are still a complicated undertaking and come with unexpected roadblocks, especially when dealing with more complex instances. We recommend bringing on an Atlassian Solution Partner–specifically one that is Cloud Specialized—to do the heavy lifting and guide you through the entire migration process.

Conclusion

While migrating to Cloud can be challenging, taking the time to properly plan in advance and prepare will minimize those unexpected roadblocks and set you up for success throughout the migration journey. 

To learn more about how to plan, prepare for, and carry out an Atlassian Cloud migration, download our free guide: 6 Steps for a Successful Cloud Migration, which is packed with insight on what to expect before migrating, how to avoid common mistakes during the process, and how Praecipio Consulting used these six steps to guide Castlight Health through their migration journey. 

If your organization is ready to migrate to Atlassian Cloud or Data Center, reach out to the Praecipio team to support you through your migration journey. 

 

 

Topics: data-center atlassian-cloud cloud migration
10 min read

How To Decide Between Cloud and Data Center

By Praecipio on May 19, 2022 9:30:00 AM

Everything is Easier to Manage in the Cloud_Featured

Software and data have become the most valuable resources for modern businesses. As such, a central part of your overall business strategy should be fully harnessing the infrastructure on which you host your applications and data. Identifying the right hosting platform – like Atlassian, AWS, or another – enables organizations to remain flexible. It helps them scale successfully, meet their objectives more quickly, and respond with agility to business trends.

Not all businesses are created equally, which is why a “one-size-fits-all” hosting solution doesn’t exist. 

In this article, we’ll compare the benefits and drawbacks of hosting on the cloud vs. on-premises specifically related to Atlassian Cloud vs. Data Center. Additionally, we provide insight to help you make an informed decision about which is the best fit for your business.

Cloud Versus On-Premise Data Center

Cloud software is hosted on a third party’s infrastructure and is accessible to an organization through a web server. The underlying hardware is often widely geographically distributed and complies with global regulations.

Traditionally, on-premise software was installed locally on data centers run by the organization. This model of data center has evolved to include “on-premise” data centers that use hybrid or outsourced infrastructures, including co-located servers running your apps, VMs, or private clouds. Although the servers aren’t on a company’s premises, the hardware is physically accessible and on-premises that you can visit and inspect.

Atlassian offers both categories of products for enterprise teams: Atlassian Cloud and Atlassian Data Center. First, let's introduce the options.

Atlassian Cloud

Atlassian Cloud is a delivery model for Atlassian products that hosts software on Atlassian’s globally distributed infrastructure. It enables your company to stay agile and invest more in your core business by freeing up your resources from having to manage security, upgrades, and maintenance. 

Atlassian offers a suite of collaborative tools to get work done at scale in a hosted environment. These tools include Jira Software, Jira Service Management, Trello, Confluence, and Bamboo just to name a few.

Atlassian Data Center

Atlassian Data Center is a self-managed solution that lets you control product hosting and perform version upgrades yourselves. Unlike Atlassian Cloud, your company is responsible for managing security, upgrades, and maintenance, but you have the access and flexibility to build a custom-tailored solution. Atlassian Data Center also offers a similar suite of tools for teams to the one available on Atlassian Cloud.

In early 2021, Atlassian began the process of ending support for Atlassian Server, leaving Data Center as the only self-hosted option for organizations joining the Atlassian platform. Organizations with existing licenses can continue to use Server, but support for Atlassian Server products is scheduled for early 2024.

Breaking Down Pros and Cons

Let’s discuss the differences in control and support, ease of deployment, and cost benefits between hosting software in the cloud and on-premise.

Control and Support

Cloud environments are managed by a vendor that offers support, monitoring, and built-in reliability functions. These environments are highly available and can be set up quickly.

On-premise hosting, on the other hand, is controlled by the organization. This means that you can customize your systems and choose which tools to deploy. But this also gives you or an external partner the responsibility of managing them effectively.

Ease of Deployment

Atlassian Cloud and Data Center both present unique challenges when setting up infrastructure.

Cloud infrastructure is the simpler option when starting fresh with a new instance, but any other type of migration requires more careful planning and preparation. Setting up the new instance is normally simple, as it only requires you to sign up for a subscription, choose your configurations and then your new software is in place almost immediately and Atlassian takes care of any installation.

However, if you need to migrate an existing instance — which entails your users, apps, and data — you’ll be balancing cost, downtime, and complexity. We don’t recommend doing a cloud migration on your own, so it’s important to bring on an Atlassian Solution Partner to help successfully guide you through the migration process. 

In contrast, deploying applications on-premise involves setting up new hardware or configuring your existing hardware before you install any software. It also requires you to perform maintenance on your hardware and ensure software is updated and patched.

Even if you choose to deploy your application on a non-clustered architecture, much of this work is time-consuming and requires additional specialized staff. A more complex setup provides all the performance, scalability, and reliability you’d expect from a clustered architecture, but demands a correspondingly greater investment and more work.

To successfully deploy on-premises, you need to hire staff — not only to build and implement your infrastructure but also to maintain it and ensure it meets regulatory requirements. You then need to document and benchmark your existing processes before optimizing your application.

Testing your deployment is the most intensive part of a deployment or migration. It can take 3 to 6 months to fully test your application for functionality, performance, and integration, after which your team is then responsible for ongoing infrastructure monitoring.

If you decide to hybridize your Data Center infrastructure, you can deploy Atlassian Data Center via cloud hosting infrastructure, like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS). Although this removes the burden of physical server maintenance, migrating is still a work-intensive and lengthy procedure.

Cost

Cloud service models free you from the expense of hardware, software, and additional IT professionals. Many businesses, especially startups and small companies, choose this option for its low upfront cost. Cloud hosting’s excellent scalability and high availability are expensive features to achieve in on-premise solutions. You don’t need to purchase the infrastructure (capital expense) with cloud environments you’re only left to deal with operational expenses.

Atlassian Cloud's monthly or annual subscription model can help organizations save money by eliminating upfront infrastructure purchases. A subscription also includes frequent updates to maintain up-to-date security features, which can become a significant recurring cost if your organization is responsible for its own updates. Additionally, Atlassian works around the clock to ensure that your data is secure, so once again, once less cost that your business has to incur. 

On the other hand, some organizations may have specialized needs that require data to remain within their jurisdiction. These companies must usually purchase and maintain all their hardware, ranging from the obvious — like servers, routers, and networking software — to the less obvious and often surprisingly expensive — like HVAC, fire suppression, and backup power solutions. In general, on-premise systems require significantly more upfront capital than cloud solutions.

Although it gives you precise control over your deployment, Atlassian Data Center requires an investment in staff. Even if you decide to run a hybrid architecture and avoid the costs of maintaining physical servers, your team still needs to maintain your infrastructure’s software layer. Security patches, integrations, and network performance become your organization’s responsibility. 

Comparing Atlassian Cloud and Data Center

Let’s look a little more closely at Atlassian Cloud and Atlassian Data Center. We’ll evaluate them based on a few factors that most organizations prioritize.

Time and Expense of Initial Setup

Depending on the scale of your infrastructure, setting up an on-premise architecture could take weeks. You need to install and configure all of the Atlassian products and infrastructure you need, and then migrate any data you currently have. You’ll need to do this for every product.

Atlassian Cloud is quicker to set up because Atlassian manages everything for you. If you are starting fresh with a completely new Atlassian instance, you could begin using your Cloud infrastructure within minutes — or seconds, if you use SSO.

If you are migrating your Atlassian instance to Cloud, things get a bit more challenging. While Atlassian itself provides free tools to support your team through the migration process, including the  Jira, Confluence, and Bitbucket migration assistant resources. However, even with this help from these tools, cloud migrations present unexpected roadblocks — especially during more complex or specialized migrations.

That’s why we recommend going a step further and getting help from an Atlassian Solution Partner. An Atlassian Specialized Partner in Cloud, like Praecipio, guides you through the entire migration process, sharing their proven expertise to accelerate your journey to cloud. For example, during a migration with Praecipio, any legacy or duplicate tooling is adjusted and your architecture is cleaned up, giving you peace of mind and a refreshed final product at a lower cost than if you were to complete the move yourselves.

Required Skills and Expertise 

Atlassian Cloud customers don’t need to manage instances because Atlassian provides and maintains the infrastructure. Cloud services are updated automatically, so you don't have to perform regular maintenance updates or worry about version compatibility.

At the other end of the spectrum, Atlassian Data Center offers more customization options, but it requires a higher level of expertise to manage successfully. You’ll need dedicated internal resources and skilled personnel to install, configure, upgrade and maintain instances.

Security

Atlassian handles all security concerns in its Cloud offering, which includes compliance with a broad set of industry standards, network security scans of both internal and external infrastructure, and regular penetration testing.

One of the main features of an on-premise setup is the additional control you have over your data. When using Atlassian Data Center, you have control over hardware and network security, but Atlassian manages application-level security for you.

Scalability Potential

Atlassian Cloud is inherently much more scalable than a Data Center. Atlassian Data Center also offers a solution with scaling potential, but the scalability is limited to the infrastructure deployed.

When using Atlassian Data Center, you need to forecast and build out capacity ahead of time to meet your predicted peaks. Many data centers are somewhat capable of being refitted to scale vertically, but horizontal scaling demands more space and power. You can easily scale out horizontally using Atlassian Cloud to get higher throughput and configure the environment to accommodate additional resources as needed.

Ability to Work Remotely

Atlassian Cloud is a hosted platform that you can use from anywhere, at any time. Team members can easily access Jira issues, Confluence pages, Bitbucket repositories, and other tools remotely from anywhere around the globe.

Atlassian Cloud also allows you to have teams of any size in the cloud and on-premise, working together in real-time. Employees working remotely can collaborate and access company products securely from mobile apps and browsers without signing in to a VPN. 

Data Center lets you stay flexible while retaining control over the security and stability of your instances. You can freely add nodes to your cluster to handle large numbers of geographically distributed users, and then use built-in features like rate limiting to prevent instability caused by external tools, automation, and infrastructure quirks outside of your organization’s control.

You can alleviate some of these concerns by using a content delivery network (CDN) to reduce peak load times on application instances running on Atlassian Data Center. This increase in performance extends to all your users, not just those who are geographically distant from your servers.

Cloud

A business with fluctuating needs requires a tiered pricing solution based on the number of users who access an instance in a certain period.

Organizations often have information spread across several different platforms. Your business may have messages on Slack, spreadsheets in Excel, and other documents in Google Docs. For example, you can bring these resources together using dynamic pages in Confluence Cloud to distribute communication materials and create company policies and marketing plans.

Confluence Cloud is used by many companies — such as Netflix, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Udemy — to create collaborative workspaces and consolidate information into unified dashboards.

Data Center 

In contrast, Data Center is better suited for organizations looking to meet specialized needs. It allows businesses to access their system’s back end and databases and create tailored integrations and add-ons.

For example, if you use Jira Service Management Cloud, you’re limited to specific customizations in some Jira plugin features, such as BigPicture Dashboard Gadgets or ScriptRunner scripting functions. However, you can use and freely customize these plugins by using them on Jira Service Management Data Center. 

Organizations that want to collaborate with their teams at a high velocity while meeting strict compliance standards can use Jira Service Management Data Center. Instead of having to build in-house ITSM systems, JSM Data Center acts as a single source of truth and allows you to extract and share data between teams without the complex processes of a conventional ITSM platform.

Conclusion

Unless an organization fully understands what it needs from its infrastructure and how the business might grow in the future, it can be difficult to determine whether to move everything to the cloud or run production systems in a data center. To evaluate how you can best serve your customers and employees, you must weigh the increased control and flexibility of Atlassian Data Center against what it could potentially cost your organization to operate out of the Cloud. 

Avoiding the switch to Atlassian Cloud will be more difficult to justify in a couple of years as support for Atlassian Server ends. So, organizations looking for longevity have an even stronger incentive to begin their migrations soon. Outside of specialized use cases, it’s often more beneficial to switch over to Atlassian Cloud.

Although migrations have a reputation as formidable undertakings, there’s no need for them to be overwhelming. The tools provided by Atlassian offer a good starting point for simple migrations if your IT department is provisioned to handle the risks.

However, working with an Atlassian Solution Partner like Praecipio to help with your migration will save you a lot of time and headache. Experienced migration experts provide peace of mind by helping you mitigate potential risks and by supporting your teams throughout the entire process, from deciding on the best migration strategy to onboarding users in the days following a migration.

If your organization is ready to migrate to Atlassian Cloud or Data Center, reach out to the Praecipio Consulting team to learn how we can help you achieve a successful migration.

Topics: cloud data-center atlassian-cloud cloud migration
3 min read

The Risks of Using a Data Center: Final Fantasy XIV

By Luis Machado on Dec 17, 2021 11:00:44 AM

2021-Q4-PCM9629-Blogpost-Final-Fantasy-XIV-Blog-around-Cloud

It’s not often my personal and professional contexts cross paths, so I feel the need to jump on it when it happens. Dominating video game news and social media is the unfortunate situation plaguing Final Fantasy XIV. Produced by Square Enix, the MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game) has seen unprecedented and unexpected growth these last 12-18 months.

Their problem: They use physical data centers to house and operate the game during a global supply chain shortage and pandemic.

Their solution: They’ve temporarily discontinued the sale of all new games and paused their extensive free trial until they’re able to find an adequate solution.

Some History about Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV (FFXIV or FF14 for short) is a game that has had a storied past. Initially, it launched in 2010, receiving some of the worst reviews of any game I’ve ever seen. The game was destroyed, rebuilt almost entirely, and relaunched in 2013 to lukewarm fanfare. Over the last decade, the studio has worked tirelessly to rebuild its reputation and player trust. The game has just launched its fourth expansion, Endwalker, in December of 2021 to immense celebration and excellent reviews from the players who could access the game (namely those who could log on in off-peak times).

Traditionally, player populations within online games are easy to predict: when new content is released, players return for a few weeks before sliding off again. FFXIV’s previous expansion, Shadowbringers, bucked this trend, with players coming online and joining in increasing numbers throughout its lifecycle. Unfortunately, with the semiconductor shortage, supply chain issues, and COVID travel restrictions: Square Enix has been unable to fix the problem.

The Problem with Data Centers

If your infrastructure is based on physical servers, then this becomes a critical piece of business that can have substantial financial ramifications down the road. Not to suggest that it’s not essential if you’ve virtualized your infrastructure in the cloud. Still, it’s certainly much easier to recover from, and the impact is potentially not as dire.

Since FFXIV is hosted on physical servers, the only way to increase their capacity is by purchasing more hardware and getting it added to the data centers or possibly standing up a new data center (which is something they’re trying to do). But, as we said before, they’ve been unable to get their hands on new parts. 

How Players are Impacted

Thousands of players in a queue means your login time can be upwards of 2,3, even 4 or 5 hours. You have to sit here during this time, by the way. System errors and queue limitations mean you can be errored out at any point. It’s caused a lot of consternation and outright anger within the FFXIV community.

How Square Enix is Impacted

At this point, the company has suspended new sales of the game and has refunded nearly a month of game time back to the players while they work to fix their congestion issues. All of this translates into lost revenue. Having a great game that’s fun to play means nothing if people can’t buy it.

Imagine if They Used the Cloud

First, let me start by stating that the company and the game’s director have been interviewed on this topic before. Porting a decade-old online game to the cloud is something they’ve looked into in the past. They deemed it too costly and too high a risk to take on with the resources on hand.

Now, imagine if Square Enix had FFXIV’s infrastructure hosted in the cloud, this launch would have been a whole different story, possibly as one of the most successful expansion launches to date and one of the greatest MMO comebacks in history. All the increased need for capacity would be a couple of clicks away, or maybe it would just happen if they had some infrastructure as code implemented.

What Happens Next?

It remains to be seen how this will continue to unfold. Square Enix has several game patches already scheduled to be released to keep the content flow going. This means it might be time for interest to die down but might also continue to fuel customer frustrations if the company cannot resolve its issues.

I don’t think there’s any way they could have predicted what would occur with this launch. But, on the other hand, if they had, they may have found it worth the cost after all.

We’ve worked with all kinds of companies in the past, game companies included. If you’re interested in seeing how we helped them prepare for the digital future, you can read about it here. Need to make your leap to the cloud? Get in touch with us; we can help.

Topics: data-center gaming risk
32 min read

Atlassian SSO: Top 6 Questions to Define Your Scope (3/5)

By Katie Thomas on Feb 17, 2021 9:07:08 PM

Blogpost-display-image_Blog Series-Pt3Praecipio Consulting has partnered with our friends at resolution, an Atlassian Gold Marketplace Partner based in Germany that specializes in software development and network security, to bring you a series of blog posts about how to successfully implement single sign-on (SSO) with Atlassian tools. With more than 7 million users from 58 countries, resolution is the market leader for Atlassian Enterprise User Management Apps. 

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog post series, we saw the main symptoms of a password disease that can be healed when applications are secured with single sign-on. We have also taken inventory of the core identity assets involved in an SSO implementation -- including web applications, SSO connectivity, user directories, and opportunities to deploy identity providers. 

In other words, we’ve looked at where you are. It’s now time to look at where you want to go 

A part of that journey involves making a final decision about what will be the home for your user accounts once you move away from Active Directory. Will it be Okta? Azure AD? Or some other vendor? 

Another part of that journey relates to extremely specific requirements that you will need to analyze to make sure that the implementation of single sign-on in Atlassian applications makes all stakeholders happy.  

In this article, we'll spell those requirements out. 

Write them down. These are the most important questions that you will need to answer in full detail before evaluating specific SSO solutions for your Atlassian applications. 

Question 1: Do your Atlassian applications support SSO out of the box? 

blog_sso-pt3We saw this already in the last article, but it’s worth revisiting. 

Your options depend entirely on the type of hosting of your Atlassian products, as you can see in the summary table. If you are on Server, you will plan a migration to either cloud or Data Center in the next couple of years, so that's where you should look. We won't consider SSO solutions for Server applications in this article, although the answer is easy: go to the Atlassian Marketplace. 

If you are on the Atlassian Cloud, your options can also be spelled out with 2 words: Atlassian AccessThe good thing is that you need to search no more. The downside is that Access can be quite expensive, and there is no competition. 

In terms of functionality, Access has everything you can ask for. In fact, it does much more than just SSO, making it a high standard against which other solutions can be measured.  

Audit log, directory syncs, and lifecycle management are components that go beyond the basic SAML SSO functionality and towards a comprehensive Identity and Access Management framework on the Atlassian stack. 

If you're already on a Data Center license or planning a migration in the next couple of years and before the Server End of Life in 2024, then you do have (or will have) SAML SSO out of the box. But the Data Center SSO offering is far away from Access. Which takes us to the next question.  

Question 2Will Native Data Center SAML SSO be enough for you? 

Here are some facts:  

  • Atlassian started providing native SSO capabilities with the SAML protocol in 2019. Originally as a free app, it’s now a preinstalled app for any Data Center customer. 
  • While more functionalities are being added to the SAML based authentication, the app is still behind. You can check their roadmap here. 

What this means is that if you have a simple need and a simple infrastructure, Data Center SAML SSO may work for you. Otherwise, you should look for a commercial alternative. In this article we will look at how common additional requirements are covered by resolution’s SAML SSO apps, with over 7 million users in 58 countries. 

Let’s have a quick overview of what the Data Center SAML SSO can do before we look at how additional requirements can be solved with resolution’s SAML SSO. 

A quick overview of Data Center SAML SSO: 

First, we'll cover the main functional requirements that Data Center will solve. 

At a high level, the Data Center SAML SSO app can: 

what-can-data-center-saml-do

  • Authenticate users into Jira, Confluence, and Bitbucket Data Center on behalf of an Identity Provider. Spoiler alert: you will need exact username matches on both sides (see question 3). 
  • Create users into the Atlassian applications during their first login, without the user being prompted to enter their Atlassian password. This is commonly called Just-in-time provisioning and happens with the information that the Identity Provider sends in the SAML response. 
  • Update the information stored in the local Atlassian directory. This also happens during login exclusively and applies to the group memberships that define user permissions and access. 

There’s no question that these three functions alone are powerfulHowever, a more detailed examination is needed to ensure that you can effectively implement Data Center SSO with your current infrastructure. 

The following two questions are aimed at clearing that part of the dilemma, before we embark on additional functional requirements. 

Question 3Do you have different naming conventions on the Identity Provider and in the local Atlassian directories? 

If the answer is no, then Data Center SAML SSO will accommodate you right away. You can skip to the next question. 

For example, if you are implementing Azure AD the UserPrincipalName attribute will be populated with user emails. If you also have email addresses in the Atlassian username, the match will be perfect. naming-convention-saml-1

But if the answer is yesit will not work. When the usernames don’t match immediately on either side, it will be impossible for the Data Center SAML SSO to identify which user in the Atlassian database is trying to log in. 

This will happen, for example, if instead of the example above, there are full names in the Atlassian usernames. naming-convention-saml-2

This will give you two workarounds: 

  • Modifying all the usernames in your Atlassian applications to align them to the naming conventions in the IdP (Identity Provider). 
  • Modifying usernames on the IdP side to align them with Atlassian (but potentially disrupting the rest of your connected applications). 

But if you want a more elegant solution, you can use the user-mapping and transformation features in resolution’s SAML SSO.  naming-convention-saml-3

In our example, there are two different strategies to create a match with resolution's SAML SSO: 

  1. The UserPrincipalName is mapped with the e-mail attribute, which can be then selected as the attribute that is looked up in the Atlassian database for authenticating users. 
  2. The UserPrincipalName is transformed into the username by simply stripping the email domain.  options-for-saml-resolution

Note: No-code transformation options are quite varied. 

Question 4: Do you have to connect Atlassian applications to multiple identity sources? 

Enterprises rarely have a single, monolithic user directory. For historic and legacy reasons, but also because IT governance models give a lot of autonomy to geographic regions, it is most common to have a few user directories, even from different vendors. 

But even in more centralized approaches, large organizations tend to have separate user directories for different types of users, even if those directories are provided by the same cloud vendor. For example, Jira users and Jira Service Management agents could be stored in different instances of Okta. And it's even more common to separate customers and employees. 

If that is your case, then you won’t be able to use the Data Center SAML SSO app. 

On the contrary, in resolution’s apps, you can setup multiple IdPs and decide when each of them is triggered based on multiple methods: 

  • The user’s decision on a selection page 
  • The user’s email domain 
  • Specific information included in the http request headers 
  • Priority scores (by weight) multiple-identities-saml-1

Note: Atlassian has put this feature on their short-term roadmap, but it’s unknown what will be possible with it and whether the setup will support dynamic IdP selections. 

Question 5: Do you want to centralize user management from your Identity Provider? 

In an enterprise setting, there is not a right or wrong answer to this question. It can make sense to manage users in every application locally. This usually happens when the IT team has the right expertise, and the company is small enough that change requests don't swamp the workload. 

But on a larger scale, a decentralized user management framework can become a major issue.  

What happens when user management is centralized? As employees are promoted, change department, or are assigned to a new project, permissions can be changed directly from the Identity Provider alone. Then, they propagate immediately to all connected applications. 

The technology behind this benefit is a one-way synchronization from the IdP to the connected apps via API. Once set up, the sync will update users’ group membership at regular intervals and therefore automatically modify their access rights. 

Data Center SAML doesn’t have the ability to sync with IdPs, which exists both in Atlassian Access for cloud applications and in resolution’s SAML SSO apps. 

As you can see in the image, resolution’s User Sync functionality provides connectors with most commercial IdPs. Connectors can then be configured so that they align to your group management practices and nomenclature. We will show a practical example of this in the next article. multiple-identities-saml-2

Question 6: Do you want to automate user on- and offboarding? 

User syncs are vital if you want to automate user management throughout the entire lifecycle.  

Besides the satisfaction of having the power to control every detail, few administrators enjoy onboarding new users into every application. They understand it’s a job that needs to be done. They also grasp the urgency of removing access to applications when an employee leaves the company. But sometimes they might be too busy to put that task at the top of their list or to double check that every access was effectively disconnected. 

User syncs can automate the three key on- and offboarding jobs: 

  • When a new employee joins the company, they have immediate access to every application without even having to login for the first time. 
  • When an account is deactivated on the IdP, all accesses are immediately blocked. 
  • Deactivate users temporarily when they don’t access an application like Confluence for specific time (for example, 3 months)  

For the third job, it’s even possible to create a specific connector that takes care of the automatic deactivations. deactivate-users

How to evaluate your answers 

Until now we have looked at the main requirements that you must consider for your SSO implementation. It's vital to have a clear answer to all these questions before making a final decision.  

But now that you have your answers, let’s translate them into realistic options. 

 The table below summarizes your options, mapping combinations of answers with the most suitable SSO solution.  

To find which product we recommend for your use case, simply find the row that contains your answersblog_sso-pt3-2

As you can see, there are three main possibilities: 

  • If you don’t have any of the requirements listed in questions 3 thru 6then Data Center SAML SSO might do the job 
  • If you answered yes to question 3, question 4, or both, then it seems like resolution’s SAML SSO will be your best shot. 
  • If you answered no to 3 and 4 and you still want to automate user management, then you have two alternatives  
  • The simple alternative is to go for a complete product like resolution’s SAML SSO. This will simplify your implementation and the number of touchpoints with support experts. 
  • The cheap alternative is to implement the existing functionality in Data Center for the basic SAML, and resolution's Users and Groups Sync to automate user management. This will make you the advanced features you need to manage users and groups, but at half of the prize of the SAML SSO app. 

Now you know what’s your basic fit.  

Make sure to complete your evaluation going over all your additional requirements as instructed in the next paragraph. 

Continuing your evaluation  

We hope that our attempt at boiling down your implementation project to its essentials was successful and your scenario is realistically captured in the options above.  

But beware! These six questions leave out many details. To quickly cross-reference your feature wish list, we have published a full tour of customization options and how they compare to the Data Center defaults.  

Here’s a high-level preview. blog_sso-pt3-3

But if you want to learn how it workshave a look at the in-depth comparison we have prepared for you. 

spot-the-difference-resolution

What’s Next 

In this article we have reviewed the native SSO capabilities of Atlassian products depending on their hosting type and doubled down on what Data Center SAML SSO can do. We have then focused on three major requirements that cannot be solved with it: username mapping and transformations, multi-IdP setups, and user management automations. Finally, we have taken stock of the combined requirements and presented the best solutions for each of them. 

The next article will conclude the journey to your Atlassian SSO, going even deeper into how to address these requirements with resolution’s SAML Single Sign-On. We will go over the implementation project of an imaginary company that has decided to migrate out of their Active Directory into a cloud Identity Provider. We will identify their challenges, understand the value that the implementation will create for the business, and offer reproducible how-to steps to solve their case. 

We've got you covered with more tips on advancing your journey towards a successful single sign-on for your Atlassian tools with the last installment of our blog series. Stay tuned! 

Topics: saas security collaboration data-center resolution sso
4 min read

How is Confluence Cloud different from Server/Datacenter?

By Morgan Folsom on Dec 18, 2020 1:06:00 PM

Blogpost-display-image_How is Confluence Cloud different from Server-Datacenter-

If you've recently moved from a Confluence instance that was hosted by your organization to one on Atlassian's cloud, you may be noticing some differences in how the tools work! The experience is quite different, and we know that can be a bit overwhelming if you've spent a lot of time getting used to the server UI. The change will require some adjustments, so we've provided a quick overview of things to keep an eye out for so you can get back to expertly collaborating with your team.

Navigation

Let's start with getting to Confluence! You can of course access your instance via the new link provided by your IT team https://yourcompany.atlassian.net. But, if you're looking to get to Confluence from your linked Jira instance, the application switcher looks a little different. The application switcher now lives in the grid icon(Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 11.09.36 AM). Select that and you can navigate to any linked applications, including Confluence. 

Creating pages

Page creation looks different in the new view - you'll notice that there is now only one option to create pages, the Create button. This functionality has made it a lot more intuitive to create pages from templates! In Server, users need to consciously make the decision to create from a template (selecting the '...') or a blank page. Now when creating pages available templates will appear on the right, allowing you to filter and search through templates. With this new navigation you can even see previews of the templates before you select them. 

Keyboard shortcuts

This is the change that threw me off the most when switching between the products, because I rely very heavily on shortcuts! Here are three that I use a lot that have changed:

Action
Server/Datacenter
Cloud
Insert a Macro { /
Start an ordered list 1. 
Change header level Cmd/Ctrl + 1/2/3... # / ## / ###

 

To see a full list of shortcuts, you can select Cmd/Ctrl + Space while editing a page and a dialog will appear and display all of your options. 

Page layouts

The experience in Confluence Cloud is more mobile friendly, so pages are more narrow by default than previously. However, you can still expand your pages to span full screen if you've got a lot of content. Opening the page layout options hasn't changed - you select the icon in the editor. However, the page layout editing experience has changed so you can work on it within the body of the page, instead of at the top.

Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 11.24.48 AM

You'll notice the arrows pointing out - those allow you to span full screen for either the entire page (top) or the specific section (bottom). The same options to edit layouts are available but you can see them in-line instead, which makes for easier navigation while working them into your pages. 

Panels

The Panel macro is one of my favorites - I like the ability to break the page up visually, and they are a great way to do that. Atlassian has revamped how panels work in Cloud so that instead of having separate macros for different types of panels: Panel, Info, Warning, Note, Success, etc. they are all just one macro, and you can switch the coloring as needed by selecting different icons. 

Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 11.28.05 AM

Macros while viewing a page

The last change I want to highlight is perhaps my favorite. When editing Confluence previously, you might've noticed that when you insert macros, many of them appear different while editing vs. viewing the page. In cloud, we now see that macros like the Jira Issues macro pictured below actually shows the content while editing now. 

Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 11.31.30 AM

Switching between tools or views can be tough, but with Atlassian's cloud platform you'll see a lot of changes that make the user experience run more smoothly. Now you've seen some of the changes, you're ready to hit the ground running!

Thinking about switching to Cloud? Contact us to talk about how we can help!

Topics: jira atlassian confluence migrations server cloud data-center
2 min read

Atlassian Data Center Overview

By Praecipio Consulting on Dec 12, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Data Center Measure ImageOVERVIEW

Atlassian Data Center provides optimal performance and high availability for mission-critical, enterprise applications. Including availability across the most widely used team collaboration tools in the suite, Data Center delivers instant scalability for unphased system performance as your organization grows. With a tightly designed infrastructure of a load balancer and finely tuned nodes for failover, Data Center allows maximum uptime through active-active clustering. Atlassian Data Center is used by businesses who demand the highest level of performance from their software and Atlassian Cloud is not an option (for a myriad of reasons).

HIGH AVAILABILTY

Active-active clustering of nodes means that, should a node go down, the load balancer immediately detects the failure and re-directs operations to other nodes within seconds. Built in redundancy allows you to integrate with industry standard technologies for database clustering and shared file systems to minimize single points of failure. With minimal loss of system availability, mission-critical Atlassian applications provide performance on a continual basis, making Data Center the choice of teams who can't afford any downtime.

INSTANT SCALABILITY 

When your user count grows beyond your current Data Center infrastructure, simply add nodes to your clusters to scale up in an instance. Additional nodes support increased performance for larger teams and can be quickly added without downtime to your system. Existing nodes auto sync indexes and plugins with each new node added. Scaling up also provides predictable costs, as Data Center is licensed per user count (not number of servers or CPUs) without increase in licensing.

DEPLOYMENT OPTIONS
Supported Atlassian Data Center deployment options include:

  • Amazon Web Services (See Atlassian's JIRA Software and Bitbucket AWS Quickstarts)
  • Cumulus (our Atlassian-optimized Data Center cloud managed hosting option) 
  • VMWare
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
  • Bare metal

DATA CENTER PRODUCTS
Atlassian offers Data Center options for:

  • Jira Software
  • Jira Service Desk
  • Confluence
  • Bitbucket

ADD-ON COMPATIBILITY
The Atlassian Marketplace contains over 130 Data Center compatible plugins (indicated by an Atlassian Data Center certified listing), including popular add-ons like the Tempo suite, Brikit ThemePress, and Atlassian Insight.

GET ATLASSIAN DATA CENTER
For full Data Center services, including: licensing, implementation, migration, and performance tuning, contact us. Our expertise in the Atlassian suite and deep knowledge of partners such as AWS and major plugin vendors allow us to deliver leading Data Center solutions to your organization. Speak with our team and learn how we can get you on Data Center and deliver optimal Atlassian performance.

Download the case study

Topics: data-center hosting white-paper

Praecipio Consulting is an Atlassian Platinum Partner

This means that we have the most experience working with Atlassian tools and have insight into new products, features, and beta testing. Through our profound knowledge of Atlassian environments and their intricacies, we can guide your organization as you navigate these important changes.

Atlassian-Platinum-Solution-Partner

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