4 min read

Why Upgrade Your Atlassian Stack?

By Suze Treacy on Apr 16, 2021 11:18:00 AM

Blogpost-display-image_Why Jira-Confluence upgrades are importantOne key component of managing your Atlassian products is managing their upgrades. Upgrades can present a daunting and significant time investment for many companies, generally involving apps, custom-developed plugins, and integrations, with a large number of users dependent on their success.

You know what upgrades are and that they're important. So why am I talking to you about them? Imagine the scenario, you're busy, you haven't had a chance to check in on the latest Atlassian security vulnerabilities and the emails you've received about them have been missed. You have also had higher priority work eating up team time, which has prevented the planning and execution of your Atlassian upgrades. One day, your instance comes under attack through one of the vulnerabilities exposed in the CVE. Your data is potentially exposed. An urgent, large, expensive, complex effort ensues in order to secure the instance; after 3 days, 2 full sweeps of the instance and multiple upgrades, the vulnerabilities are mitigated and your instance is safe.

Are you confident in when your applications are due an upgrade? Let's review a few common reasons why an upgrade may be recommended:

End of Life Policy

Once Atlassian has released a major feature version, it, and all iterations related to that major version, are supported for two years. After that, the versions are considered End of Life, and you will no longer receive support from Atlassian for any issues which arise. It is when reaching this point, that many people start considering upgrading their instances.

Security Vulnerabilities

Every Wednesday, Atlassian releases any new security vulnerabilities which have been identified for their server/data center products. These vulnerabilities include a security level, which is based on an Atlassian-calculated CVSS score for each vulnerability.

Severity Rating System followed by Atlassian:

Atlassian_severity_rating_system

Although there may be opportunities to mitigate security vulnerabilities in your current version, it is recommended to patch or upgrade immediately when a Critical vulnerability is identified. Vulnerabilities with a critical score generally result in root-level compromise or servers or infrastructure devices, or are straightforward to exploit.

Current security advisories can be found here:

https://www.atlassian.com/trust/security/advisories

New Functionality/Capabilities

Did you know that there is a new feature release for Jira Software every 6 weeks alone? Atlassian encourage users to submit bugs and feature requests at jira.atlassian.com. This public forum allows users to vote for and comment on submitted issues, and the Atlassian team utilize this and other feedback as a factor in their decision for what to implement next.  Platform releases contain the most significant changes, while Feature releases contain new features, changes to features, changes to supported platforms and removal of features. Feature releases can be designated as Enterprise releases, which, generally designated annually, are preferred for companies who need time to prepare for upgrades, but still want to receive critical bug fixes.

Compatibility with other Server Components

From time to time, Atlassian add and deprecate support for other server component platforms which work alongside your Atlassian application. For example, did you know that in Jira Software 8.6 and Jira Service Desk 4.6, support was added for PostgreSQL 10 and deprecated for Internet Explorer 11, whereas in Jira Software 8.8 and Jira Service Desk 4.8, support was deprecated for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and PostgreSQL 9.4 & 9.5. To ensure optimal operation of your Atlassian instances, it's just as important to upgrade components of your server architecture, as well as your instances themselves.

Plugin Support

If you are one of the many teams who utilize plugins within their Atlassian applications, plugin compatibility and support is another area to be aware of when considering upgrades. Has support been deprecated for the plugin with the Atlassian version you're running? Is the plugin still supported when you upgrade to your target version? Atlassian have developed the Universal Plugin Manager, available in both Jira and Confluence, to enable you to screen for any compatibility problems prior to starting your upgrade. There are 4 categories for Compatibility which plugins can fall into - Incompatible (the plugin is not compatible with the target version), Compatible, Compatible if updated (the plugin is not currently compatible, but will be once running the compatible version), and Compatible once both are updated (the new version of the plugin isn't compatible with your current instance version - you need to upgrade your instance prior to updating the plugin).

Unable to Skip a Platform Release

When considering which version you'd like to upgrade to, it's important to consider your current version and your target version. When upgrading, it is not possible to skip a platform release - therefore, for example, when considering a Jira Software upgrade, it is not possible to jump from a 6.X release to the 8.X release and skip the 7.X release, you would need to take an intermediate step to upgrade to a 7.X version. Due to the functionality changes being much greater between platform releases which are not adjacently sequenced, there are more edge cases, and thus, greater risk, when navigating an upgrade spanning multi platform releases.

For assistance with upgrading your applications, partner with Praecipio Consulting's Managed Services team! Our team, fully dedicated to the Atlassian stack, offer peace of mind through managing, supporting, and maintaining your Atlassian tools, enabling you to maximize the benefits of your Atlassian applications while allowing your team to focus on their core roles. Working with our Managed Services team offers tribal knowledge and best practice from over 10 years working in the tools, allowing us to enable your Atlassian stack is optimized and operating at peak performance.

For more information on Managed Services, or anything else Atlassian related, contact us, and one of our experts will be glad to talk with you.

Topics: blog managed-services marketplace upgrade version-control-system atlassian-products marketplace-apps
2 min read

Praecipio Managed Services: The power of a part-time, full-stack Atlassian admin

By Suze Treacy on Feb 18, 2021 12:50:00 PM

Blogpost-display-image_The power of a part-time, full-stack Atlassian admi-1Do you find yourself tasked with administering Atlassian tools on top of the normal duties of your job? Have you ever been faced with an Atlassian question that is out of your wheelhouse? Are you interested in improvement opportunities to configure your instance and architecture to Atlassian best practice standards? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then read on!

With a wide range of Atlassian products available, and a marketplace full of apps to accompany those, it's hard to find admins who specialize in everything. Particularly with the Atlassian toolset being highly configurable, administrators should be able to analyze a request and advise the correct path forward, balancing functionality available to them, with corporate governance and best practice processes. Here at Praecipio Consulting, we have the answer to this unicorn, part-time, full-stack Atlassian admin, through our Managed Services offering.

Atlassian Experts, Best Practice

With over 10 years of Atlassian experience, our team has knowledge across the full stack - whether your question is about hosting considerations, tuning, networking, infrastructure, process-related, Marketplace Apps, or anything else, we can advise and implement functional, practical, industry-specific, best practice processes to maximize efficiencies among your teams. As we are squarely focused on the Atlassian toolset, your IT teams can focus on all of their other tasks, driving productivity and innovation among your team.

Preventative Measures

We're proactive, with bi-monthly cadence calls to discuss your long term goals and objectives, and monthly health checks to ensure your instance is secure, clean, and performing efficiently. We monitor Atlassian vulnerabilities, alerting you of any CVEs affecting your instance, alongside recommendations to mitigate. If you are hosting with us through Cumulus, we monitor your systems too, identifying and resolving issues before they become expensive incidents, and minimizing downtime.

Predictable Cost, Scalable Model

Whether you're utilizing Atlassian Cloud, Server, or Data Center, whether you need 9-5 support, or 24x7, we're always here to help. You dictate your monthly hours cap, enabling Atlassian administrative support at a fraction of the cost of hiring an admin. Even with the cap, it's possible to utilize more hours - managed services is scalable as your business and Atlassian needs grow.

Relationships

As Platinum Enterprise solution partners to Atlassian, we're big on relationships with our clients, Atlassian, and App vendors. When faced with issues, we can be the connection between yourselves and the answer you need, to discover the optimal outcome available for your circumstances. We're vested in your instances being healthy and working for your business: allow us to be a trusted partner in helping your business grow.

Praecipio Managed Services can help with your Atlassian needs, we'd love to talk to you more about our offering! 

Topics: atlassian blog implementation managed-services atlassian-products bespoke
3 min read

Tips for maintaining a Jira instance

By Chris Hofbauer on Feb 11, 2021 12:07:37 PM

Blogpost-display-image_Tips for maintaining a Jira instanceAtlassian's Jira is a powerful tool to promote best practices of internal processes and provide efficiency to development teams within your organization. The powerful nature of the tool is not only with the features offered by Atlassian but with a vast variety of options at your disposal to customize the instance. These customizations can come from the native features and options available as well as the apps brought to you via the Atlassian Marketplace. While these can all be great in building your Jira instance to get the most out of it, they can also have the potential to be detrimental to the health of the instance and negatively affect your organization's teams. 

Marketplace apps

Following best practices when configuring your instance as well as proper control over the integrations added to your instance is critical. If not properly managed you can experience system issues resulting in downtime due to a number of reasons but most commonly high memory or CPU. While installing apps through the marketplace may seem trivial and rather safe, keep in mind that each install of these apps does modify the database and can also be creating items such as custom fields in your instance. Make sure to properly vet all apps, check the reviews in the marketplace for any reports of impact to the instance. Also, review any documentation for the app to see how the application integrates with your instance. Most importantly it's highly recommended to install any apps in a lower environment (Dev or QA) before installing it in production. Thoroughly testing all new installs will give you the best idea of how the application will impact your instance once installed into production. 

Configuration

In addition to the configuration items created by apps are the ones created manually. Being mindful when adding items such as custom fields, statuses, workflows, etc. can save headaches long-term. It's important to reuse configuration items wherever possible. Having numerous, similar or duplicate, custom fields and statuses will create an administrative burden. Having a large number of these items will also have an impact on exporting issues and projects as well as for instance performance when loading reports, project boards, and dashboards. 

User Management

Proper user management will help to keep licensing costs to a minimum as well as give better control over access to the instance. Use groups wherever possible in permission schemes, boards, and filters. Provide only Jira administrator access and Service Desk agent licenses to those that need it. All users may not need Service Desk agent licenses and since these are billed separately in the instance, assigning all users to the Service Desk group can incur unnecessary charges going forward. Frequent review of active users is important as well. Based on business rules, users who have not logged in for some time (3 to 6 months) may be able to be made inactive. Frequent review of these types of users will also allow you to keep access to a minimum, save licensing counts, and in turn reduce user tier costs.

Stale Data

Review stale or old data is critical in maintaining a Jira instance as well. Instances will begin to grow over time and as your organization and teams grow, so will the ticket count in your instance. The larger the instance size, the high likelihood for performance degradation and instance issues. Analyzing your instance for stale old data is a key step in maintaining a healthy instance. For stale data, take a look at any unresolved tickets as well as any older tickets that have no resolution or that are not in a "Closed" status. You will also want to review any projects that have not had a ticket created in them for a long period of time (we generally recommend 3 to 6 months). After thorough analysis, you will want to close any stale tickets and archive any projects that are deemed to no longer be in use. 

Praecipio Consulting's Managed Services

Praecipio Consulting offers guidance and services to help maintain your Jira instance and provide you with industry best practices. Through years of experience, we at Praecipio have developed a wealth of knowledge in properly configuring and managing Atlassian products that will ensure you get the most out of the product for every use case in your organization. As part of our Managed Services offering, we deploy our proprietary Health Checks. These Health Checks include a thorough review of various aspects of maintaining your instance. Praecipio's Health Checks are split into two main categories: Infrastructure and Process; and include topics such as Licensing, Database Health, Security Vulnerabilities, User Management, Upgrade Readiness, Performance, Process Consolidation, Stale Data, apps/App and Workflows. With these Health Checks and working with Praecipio Consulting's Managed Services, your instance will be in an optimal state for growth and longevity.

Topics: atlassian blog best-practices managed-services optimization health-check
3 min read

Challenges in Managing Your Own Atlassian Instances

By Morgan Folsom on Oct 2, 2020 12:30:00 PM

Blogpost-display-image_Challenges in managing your own Atlassian instances

Are you having trouble managing your Atlassian instances? As tools like Jira become mission-critical to organizations, it's increasingly important that their maintenance is formalized, with dedicated resources who manage the tools. Let's walk through a few of the biggest challenges that we see and how Praecipio Consulting's Managed Services offering can help ease the pain.

 

Can you help if we don't have the technical experience to support the tools?

It's not uncommon that teams find themselves struggling to manage the specifics of Atlassian. Just because you've got a killer IT team doesn't mean they'll be experts on a whole new platform on day one! There are a lot of intricacies to the tools that can take admins a while to understand, especially when we're looking at Jira. On top of figuring out the technical aspects of maintaining the tools, you're also expected to help make process recommendations and changes for the teams that use the tool at your company. 

One of the biggest benefits of using a Managed Services provider is that you don't have to develop all of the in-depth expertise on the tools, because we've been there and done that. Our focus on the Atlassian suite means that we know the tools better than anyone so that in addition to answering your requests, we can anticipate issues because we know what to look for. 

What about about if our IT team is too small to have dedicated admins?

Maybe your team are experts at managing the Atlassian suite, but you're missing one major thing: time. Keeping your instances healthy requires ongoing maintenance, dedicating time for things like platform upgrades and marketplace app configuration, as well as triaging requests from your users to make the tools work for them. This is something that affects teams of all sizes and can be especially painful if you're part of a small organization. When you don't have dedicated Atlassian admins, the impact on your instances can be huge. If teams are only able to focus on addressing breakfixes and user requests, things like upgrading your marketplace apps can fall by the wayside. 

Our Managed Services team excels at thoroughly preparing for and executing upgrades, and regularly checking to make sure your instances and apps aren't affected by any critical security issues. 

Or what if we've moved to Cloud and don't know what administration we need to do anymore?

If you're one of the many organizations that have moved from hosted Server or Data Center instances to Atlassian's Cloud, you've probably realized that administration looks a little different now. Because a lot of the technical maintenance tasks aren't necessary anymore (woohoo!), your team gets to focus on making sure the instance is healthy from a process perspective. This kind of administration requires different skills from your admins – and while they hopefully have been providing this before, it's easy for this to fall through the cracks. 

Administration isn't just about creating workflows or fields, but making sure that the configuration in the instance aligns to industry and Jira best practice. Jira in particular is extremely configurable – with the right combination of apps and know-how, you can do basically anything, for better or worse. A lot of common configuration choices can be setting you up for future headaches – things like too heavy a reliance on scripting when out-of-the box configuration can do the same thing, making upgrades a pain and causing negative performance impacts. 

If any of the concerns above strike a chord, let us help

Topics: atlassian managed-services cloud atlassian-products atlassian-solution-partner
4 min read

Why You Should Upgrade Your Atlassian Stack

By Suze Treacy on Sep 4, 2020 12:15:00 PM

Blogpost-display-image_Why upgrade your Atlassian stack-

One key component of managing your Atlassian applications is managing their upgrades. Upgrades can present a daunting and significant time investment for many companies, generally involving applications, add-ons, and integrations, with a large number of users dependent on the success

You know what upgrades are and that they're important. So why am I talking to you about them? Imagine the scenario: you're busy, you haven't had a chance to check in on the latest Atlassian security vulnerabilities, and you've missed the email updates based on your subscription. 

You also had higher priority work eating up team time which has prevented the planning and execution of your Atlassian upgrades. One day, your instance comes under attack through one of the vulnerabilities exposed in the CVE. Your data is potentially exposed. An urgent, large, expensive, complex effort ensues to secure the instance; after three days, two full sweeps of the instance and multiple upgrades, the vulnerabilities are mitigated and your instance is safe.

Are you confident you know when your applications are due for an upgrade? Let's review a few common reasons why an upgrade may be recommended.

End of Life Policy

Once Atlassian releases a major feature version, it, and all iterations related to that major version, are supported for two years. After that, the versions are considered End of Life and you will no longer receive support from Atlassian for any issues which arise. This is when many Atlassian Administrators start considering upgrading their instances.

Security Vulnerabilities

Every Wednesday, Atlassian releases any new security vulnerabilities which have been identified for their server/data center products. These vulnerabilities include a security level, which is based on an Atlassian-calculated CVSS score for each vulnerability.

Severity Rating System followed by Atlassian:

Screen Shot 2020-06-03 at 8.40.10 PM

 

Although there may be opportunities to mitigate security vulnerabilities in your current version, it is recommended to patch or upgrade immediately when a Critical vulnerability is identified. Vulnerabilities with a critical score generally result in root-level compromise, servers or infrastructure devices, or are straightforward to exploit.

Current security advisories can be found here.

New Functionality/Capabilities

Did you know that there is a new feature release for Jira Software every 6 weeks alone? Atlassian encourages users to submit bugs and feature requests at jira.atlassian.com. This public forum allows users to vote for and comment on submitted issues. Then, the Atlassian teams review this and other feedback as a factor in their decision for what to implement next. Platform releases contain the most significant changes, while Feature releases contain new features, changes to features, changes to supported platforms, and removal of features. Generally designated annually, feature releases are preferred for companies who need time to prepare for upgrades, but still want to receive critical bug fixes.

Compatibility with other Server Components

From time to time, Atlassian adds and deprecates support for other server component platforms, which work alongside your Atlassian application. For example, did you know that in Jira Software 8.6 and Jira Service Desk 4.6, support was added for PostgreSQL 10 and deprecated for Internet Explorer 11? In addition, in Jira Software 8.8 and Jira Service Desk 4.8, support was deprecated for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and PostgreSQL 9.4 & 9.5. To ensure optimal operation of your Atlassian instances, it's just as important to upgrade components of your server architecture as well as your instances themselves.

App (Plugin) Support

If you are one of the many teams who utilize Apps (plugins) within their Atlassian applications, plugin compatibility and support is another area to be aware of when considering upgrades. Has support been deprecated for the plugin with the Atlassian version you're running? Is the plugin still supported when you upgrade to your target version? Atlassian has developed the Universal Plugin Manager, available in both Jira and Confluence, to enable you to screen for any compatibility problems before starting your upgrade. There are 4 categories for Compatibility which plugins can fall into:

  • Incompatible: the plugin is not compatible with the target version
  • Compatible: No adverse impacts to the target version
  • Compatible if updated: the plugin is not currently compatible, but will be once running the compatible version
  • Compatible once both are updated: the new version of the plugin isn't compatible with your current instance version and you need to upgrade your instance prior to updating the plugin

Unable to Skip a Platform Release

When considering which version you'd like to upgrade to, it's important to consider your current version and your target version. When upgrading, it is not possible to skip a platform release. For example, when considering a Jira software upgrade, it is not possible to jump from a 6.X release to the 8.X release and skip the 7.X release. You must take an intermediate step to upgrade to a 7.X version. Due to the functionality changes being much greater between platform releases that are not adjacently sequenced, there are more edge cases, and thus, greater risk, when navigating an upgrade spanning multi-platform releases.

For assistance with upgrading your applications, partner with Praecipio Consulting's Managed Services team! Our team is fully dedicated to the Atlassian stack and can offer you peace of mind by managing, supporting, and maintaining your Atlassian tools. This allows you to maximize the benefits of your Atlassian applications and empowers your team focus on what they do best. Working with our Managed Services team offers you expertise and best practices that draw from our wealth of experience and from 15 years working with the tools. We take the maintenance process off your plate, making sure that your tools–and your team–run at peak performance.

If you're ready to hand upgrades off to our experts, get it touch with our team to learn more about our Managed Services offering.

 

 

Topics: managed-services upgrade atlassian-products
4 min read

Essential Services for Pivoting Your Business During a Pandemic

By Brian Nye on Apr 17, 2020 9:15:00 AM

2020 Blogposts_Services Companies Consider During a Pandemic

2020 has been a roller coaster of a year, and few would have predicted that this year many of us would be working from home and facing some of the most critical challenges of our professional careers. And while this will pass, many leading businesses are taking this time as an opportunity to break away from traditional molds to better position themselves for the next challenge.

Over the past few weeks, we have worked closely with our clients, some of the largest names in their respective industries, to understand where they want to focus their resources to not only weather this storm but also better prepare them for future ones as well. We found that our clients are primarily in need of solutions that keep the business moving forward, connect employees, and control costs. 

Shifting from Legacy Systems

Servers and the teams that maintain them are expensive. This is by no means news to anyone, but when we look at critical systems and infrastructure, most solutions now have cloud options that are less expensive and perform better than legacy server solutions. Most companies that reach out to us want to understand two things:

  • Which is the best solution for me: Atlassian Cloud or an AWS Data Center?
  • What will it take to get me there?

Offloading your current infrastructure for critical business tools like Jira and Confluence on to more scalable, lower-overhead-cost options like AWS or the Atlassian Cloud can save your business a lot of money, plus it takes the maintenance burden off of your teams. To find out which option is best for your business, there are a lot of considerations - things like data residency and customizations made to your current environment.

Praecipio Consulting has a team of experts that would be happy to work with you virtually to understand the complexities of your situation and provide a solution fit for you. For more depth on the subject, try this webinar on planning your Jira Server to Cloud migration, which focuses on migrating to the Atlassian Cloud and walks you through the steps in preparing for any type of migration. This case study on a project we completed with one of our clients in the healthcare industry is also helpful for understanding how to achieve a successful migration. 

Contracting out administrative functions

Businesses are restructuring teams to best serve their companies. This can take the form of job alignment since people are the most expensive and valuable resource. The Atlassian tools are often administered by folks as a secondary job, and in our experience, this role is one that bounces around from person to person in times of reorganization. When companies go through a transition, people tend to make unintentional bad decisions that negatively impact the instance in the long run due to undertrained and overstretched administrators.

If that sounds familiar, now is the time to offload the day-to-day problems of administration to our Managed Service team who can proactively support your organization's administrative needs and on an ad-hoc basis when necessary. This allows your administrators to focus on their key functions, and it gives you greater peace of mind knowing that the work inside your Atlassian environment is performed correctly and fulfilling your requirements. To better understand how Managed Services can support your organization, check out this case study on how we helped a leading rail technology company achieve stability and more functionality through Managed Services.

Optimizing for virtual work

Given that many Atlassian administrators are implementing requests and fixes rather than providing a solution for the problem, many processes built in the tool are not optimized for virtual work. Processes are often built into the tool that assume employees will be in the same setting, which may not translate well for remote work settings. This is the downfall of a powerful tool that has infinite configuration possibilities.

Praecipio Consulting can help your teams understand the principles of leading frameworks like SAFe, DevOps, and ITL, and we develop solutions that align with any type of work environment. Having these frameworks in place and powerful tools to support them sets you up for success and gives you the capacity to easily scale your infrastructure as your business evolves.  For a better understanding of how we maximized the Atlassian tools for a worldwide electronic payment processor using ITSM best practices, check out this case study.  

Virtual training on the Atlassian tools

As employees have shifted to working from home, businesses are seeing that employees may not possess the level of understanding with Jira that they thought. Without the in-person help that comes from an office setting, businesses are in search of ways to train their employees from their homes. At Praecipio Consulting, we are equipped to offer several Atlassian-designed and custom training courses around the Atlassian applications. We have provided virtual training long before the current state of affairs and can easily bring your employees up to speed with essential knowledge and hands-on practice. 

We are in this together!

Although these times are unprecedented, we have operated and navigated within the virtual landscape for many years and would be happy to discuss your organization's challenges. Together, we can keep you on the path for greater success in the future by taking the right steps today. We look forward to learning how we can serve your organization, but until then, stay safe and stay healthy. 

 
Topics: managed-services training covid-19 work-from-home
2 min read

What's the real value of Managed Services?

By Chris Hofbauer on Sep 17, 2018 11:00:00 AM

For organizations that use the Atlassian product suite, it's critical to decide whether to administer the products in-house. After all, there are significant considerations with infrastructure, networking, product tuning, let alone the configuration of the products. Choosing to engage in a Managed Services agreement can be extremely beneficial. A great Managed Services team can be a great asset and provide tremendous value to any size organization.

One of the greatest values provided is the administrative relief you get from a Managed Services team. The Atlassian products require devoted attention, especially within organizations that use it for all sources of truth. Having a Managed Services team allows an organization to have fewer full-time employees dedicated to the tools and instead on their primary area of expertise. Depending on the contract, signing onto Managed Services is typically half the cost of hiring on a full-time Atlassian administrator as well.

System monitoring, performance, and upkeep can also become a major burden to bear. Atlassian products and add-ons are frequently updated and if the applications are not well kept, the system can become outdated fairly quickly. With a Managed Services team, we work closely to ensure performance and maintenance doesn't fall behind so teams can continue to leverage the power of the Atlassian toolset.

One of the most valuable aspects of hiring a Managed Services team is the tribal knowledge and best practices that come along with it. When an organization has one or few Atlassian administrators, they are limited to the knowledge of those individuals. With a Managed Services team, you have the entire company to leverage. We have a large team that has seen various installations and configurations (both supported and unsupported) of the Atlassian tools, including those we host in Cumulus, our Atlassian Hybrid environment. By seeing all these variations, we are able to provide the best solutions that have been tested and proven.

The Atlassian product suite requires attention and care from people who are dedicated to the tools. Our Managed Services team helps to relieve administrative overhead for every organization through system performance and monitoring as well as best practices through tribal knowledge, all at less expensive option compared to a full-time employee or team. With this, hiring a Managed Service team provides peace of mind and great value. 

Topics: blog managed-services hosting itsm
5 min read

Q/A: Best Atlassian Deployment Options for Your ROI

By Kristopher Hall on Feb 1, 2017 11:00:00 AM

In two recent studies*, 86% of IT organizations are concerned about delivering value to their organization and 80% of an IT department's budget is used in Keeping the Lights On (KTLO). As such, IT organizations are focusing more on the right ways to keep their applications happy and healthy. One of the most important decisions an IT organization can face is how to host their Atlassian applications. Depending on resources, experience, and budget, the best choice may not be obvious at first glance. There are pros and cons of each hosting method. The question to ask is where do you find the most value when considering each option? Maybe the IT organization is new (or the company is new) and is looking for a hosting option that will take little-to-nothing to spin up and maintain. In this case, Atlassian Cloud may be the perfect fit. But what if you have a large employee headcount and access to experienced IT resources and increased funding? Maybe it makes sense to host internally to maintain complete control or, for a more hands off approach, off-loading the maintenance and performance responsibilities to someone else. That's where Praecipio Consulting can assist by offering Cumulus, our Managed Hosting platform. As Atlassian Platinum Solution Partners, we take on the responsibility of maintaining your system and are on call for your Atlassian needs. Where do you find the most value in your particular case?

What is the best return on investment for hosting?

The answer is: it depends.

 

1. What are the hosting methods and what are the pros and cons of each?

 

Atlassian Cloud

Pros:
  • You let Atlassian manage your system as SaaS (Software as a Service).
  • No upfront hardware costs.
Cons:
  • No access to database or operating system.
  • Some features that are present in Atlassian server products may not be available in Atlassian Cloud.


Internally Hosted (Server)

Pros:
  • Full range-of-motion on the entire application and operating system. You are the admin.
  • Personally dive into the application and get to know its inner workings.
Cons:
  • Whether you’re building on top of a virtualized or physical system, you’re going to run into hardware costs and the maintenance fees that hardware brings with it.
  • Time away from your team to keep that system up, running, and configuration changes when needed.
  • Performance tuning can be a daunting task.

Praecipio Consulting Managed Hosting

Pros:
  • More customization than Atlassian Cloud allows.
  • Atlassian Platinum Solution Partners manage your instance and performance tune for you.
Cons:
  • Some features will be present to Cloud first before they are released to Server.
  • No control over file or database structure.

2. What does it take to migrate to a different hosting method?

Each hosted method is little different to migrate to. If you’re migrating to cloud, it’s preferred to migrate via export (if it’s not a huge instance). If you’re migrating to a server you could migrate with the above method or you can take a backup of your database and move over your data (attachments, logos, etc) to the new server. Praecipio can help you out if you’re looking for a seamless transition.

3. What kind of database should I use?

Although you can use MSSQL or MySQL, it's PostgresSQL that Atlassian deems as its preferred database. PostgreSQL also allows for an easy move to datacenter Atlassian products as PostgreSQL is able to be turned into a database cluster, a functionality that MySQL is not capable of. You can make a MSSQL cluster too, but it comes with high licensing costs.

4. What is the trickiest migration Praecipio Consulting has taken on? What made it tricky?

We had a client that needed to migrate various applications. During this migration they needed to conform to a new username and email standard associated with the parent company. What made this tricky was you couldn't manually change this easily since there were thousands of users; you'd waste a lot of man hours and downtime making a change like that. The change had to be automated to modify each user in each application with various different places in the databases being updated with the new user values. This was to ensure that you kept all the users historical data intact and the user could come back into work after the migration, use his new account to log in like nothing happened.

5. What is the cloud user license limit?

Atlassian Cloud's user limit is 2000 for licenses. If you have a 2000 plus user count your options could be multiple Atlassian Cloud accounts or the Atlassian Server products that you'd manage internally or through managed hosting.

6. What is the storage limitation on cloud?

Atlassian Cloud has another limitation that you should be aware of. Cloud has a storage limitation. If you have a user count below 500 users you're looking at a overall storage limit (across all applications on your account) of 25GB. If you're over the 500 user count, you've expanded that limit to 100GB.

7. Between Jira and Confluence, which is more difficult to migrate from Server to Cloud? 

When performing a straight migration, Jira and Confluence are just about on equal footing on complexity to move to Cloud. Now, if you are merging two applications, that is a different story. Jira is a lot more complex to merge than Confluence due to the amount of variables that Jira has to have in place, like workflows, issue types, fields, notifications, etc. The list is long and you have to make sure the structure is there before you can merge your data. Additionally, merging data must be done from server to server. So if your end goal is to be in the Cloud, you have to merge all your instances to a single server and migrate that up to the Cloud.

8. Why should I consider Data Center if I don't have a performance problem?

One of the main reasons to consider Data Center is uptime. Data Center has multiple application nodes that you connect to through a proxy. If a node goes down due to a hardware issue, guess what? The proxy connects you to the next available node so that you don't even realize there has been an outage. To take complete advantage of the high availability perks of Data Center, you would also incorporate a database cluster. The same rule as before comes into play. If you lose a database server in the cluster, you're still up and running. You could even lose database servers and applications nodes at the same time and still have your environment up and all users working. Granted, there are at least one application node and database node up at the same time.

9. When doing a migration or merge - do you recommend having a staging environment to cutover from (as opposed to going straight from production to production)?

Usually it's not that necessary to have a staging environment to cutover from. Actually it's preferred to do the entire migration while the current production instance is off so that no one can update it to avoid anything becoming out of sync. What should be done is preform the entire migration/merge in a test environment and list out the steps that a needed to perform that migration. As long as any extensive configuration changes are not being made those steps are going to pan out the same no matter what data is actually included into the application.

10. How difficult is it to change the OS? For example, Windows to Linux?

Surprisingly, it is not as difficult as you might think. Most of the time it acts as any other migration. The thing that will usually cause problems is if you have something tied into you Atlassian application that is dependent on Windows or Linux to run correctly, a plugin for instance. The application itself can be installed and the data moved over without much of a headache.

 

*Source: HDI, “Service Management, Not Just for IT Anymore”, 2014
*Source: Gartner, “Eight of Ten Dollars Enterprises Spend on IT is “Dead Money”, 2015

Topics: atlassian blog managed-services migrations cloud data-center hosting
3 min read

Everybody Gets a Pony! Top 5 Reasons to Outsource Your Hosting & Managed Services

By Praecipio Consulting on Dec 15, 2014 11:00:00 AM

As the holiday season approaches, my family will undoubtedly ask me the same thing they do every year - What do I want? Since I was a little kid, I've always given the same answer to no avail, my request steadfast and unchanging: I want a pony. The likelihood of my receiving a pony this Christmas is still as unlikely as it's ever been, and I ask knowing that I'll be getting pajamas, stationery, and other non-pony related items like every previous holiday. While I repeatedly ask for the pony, the regular maintenance and upkeep (not to mention storage) of a pony is more than I can handle. Believe me, I'd still love a pony for Christmas. My life and schedule might permit some allocated riding time, but I don't have the resources or bandwidth to commit to everything else that goes into pony ownership. 

Wouldn't it be great to get something you really want, that would make your life better, and never deal with the time-draining, resource-monopolizing hassle of upkeep?

Companies around the world have recognized for years that the Atlassian product suite is the ultimate in scalable, reliable Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and business management products. Offering both Cloud and Server versions of the tool set, users get varying levels of functionality and add-on capability. While Server versions offer extra options, businesses often opt for Cloud instead, as it brings them an Atlassian-hosted solution. Now, with Praecipio Consulting's Hosting and Managed Services, you get the benefits of a Server instance with the freedom of outsourced hosting by our Atlassian Enterprise Platinum experts. 

Our Top 5 Reasons to Outsource Your Hosting and Managed Services

5. Save Your Space

My hypothetical Christmas pony needs room to run and graze, so keeping it in my small, urban backyard is impractical. Likewise, software needs room to run and the power to do so. Server instances consume RAM and can slow the speed of other processes running concurrently. With Praecipio Consulting's Hosting services, we host your Atlassian instance on our dedicated Rackspace servers, giving you uninterrupted process flow and unburdened memory. Enterprise industry leaders choose our Atlassian hosting because it frees them up to do their business faster, increasing process and profit. 

4. Trusted Expertise

I love ponies, but am no pony expert (nor do I have time to become one). Similarly, you may not have the bandwidth or expertise to be your team's go-to on your Atlassian instance when something goes awry. With Praecipio Consulting's Hosting and Managed Services, you get an Atlassian Platinum Enterprise consultant dedicated to your instance. By outsourcing your Atlassian expertise to Praecipio Consulting, we deliver the answers and results that your team relies on for continued functionality and success of your instance. Our consultants have a deep expertise around the entire product suite, stemming from years of implementations, configurations and optimizations - so you know your instance is in the best hands possible! 

3. Increase Time and Resources

Keeping up with a pony would require a significant portion of my time and finances to maintain - even if nothing was wrong with the pony. Your software also requires regular touches, from upgrades to regular maintenance, which can all take people, time and money away from your organization. Wouldn't you rather focus on your job and let someone else do the work? Praecipio Consulting can make that happen. Our Hosting and Managed Services include all the scheduled maintenance and upgrades required to keep your instance at its best. No more blocking out time in your schedule to perform that upgrade. Praecipio Consulting has you covered!

2. Maximized Performance

If I had a pony, I would want it to have the very best of everything- including environment. A stable, well maintained environment is as critical for pony care as it is for your instance and, using Rackspace servers, our Hosting ensures that your Atlassian platform has the utmost uptime and availability. You know you can always count on your instance to perform the way you need, when you need it. 

1. Rapid Resolution

Sometimes ponies get sick. Or wander away from the pasture. Or any other number of pony-related problems befall them. With all that I have to deal with in my daily life, I can't guarantee that I'll be the quickest person to respond to the needs of my pony. When your instance goes haywire, you need it fixed immediately. Downtime and system issues equate to lost time and money (not only spent fixing the problem, but in the stop of workflow). When your instance goes down, don't waste time and money- just call Praecipio Consuting and get it fixed quickly!

While getting a pony for Christmas may be something I can only dream of (along with the team it would require to house and maintain said pony), a well maintained, expertly cared for Atlassian instance is within everyone's reach with Praecipio Consulting's Hosting and Managed Services. By letting us manage your Atlassian instance, you save time, money and resources while getting the best functionality and service for your software platform. Increase your ROI, maximize processes and drive down costs with our Hosting and Managed Services for your Atlassian products. We promise to take excellent care of your "pony."

Topics: blog best-practices managed-services reliability uptime hosting itsm

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-enterprise

In need of professional assistance?

WE'VE GOT YOUR BACK

Contact Us