Atlassian Cloud vs Server Comparison

Everything you need to know about Atlassian Cloud vs Server hosting options.

When it comes to hosting your Atlassian product suite, you have three options: Atlassian Cloud, Server, or Data Center. But many organizations struggle to ascertain which of these options is best for their individual needs.

As IT experts and Atlassian Platinum Solutions Partners, we get asked this question on a daily basis. Our goal is to help our clients understand these options, select the best fit for their needs, and help them to optimize their instance according to best practices so that they can thrive in their new environment.

Today we will be reviewing the difference between Atlassian’s Cloud and Server solutions as well as the considerations you will need to make before choosing the right option for your enterprise organization.

If you’d like to learn more about migrating to Atlassian Cloud and the considerations you’ll need to make before switching over, watch our on demand webinar—Is Your Organization Atlassian Cloud Ready? What You Need to Know.

Let’s get started.

What are my Atlassian Hosting Options?

Atlassian Cloud

The biggest difference with Atlassian’s cloud solution is that it doesn’t require you to maintain your own physical hardware repository. Instead, Atlassian will host, set up, secure and maintain your products offsite in the cloud.

What are the benefits to choosing Atlassian Cloud?

Cost Reduction
The first, and most obvious benefit is cost savings. In addition to forgoing the requirement of extra space for your server hardware, you also reap the benefits of other savings. These range from utility costs, maintenance costs, and staffing costs as you wouldn’t need to hire additional experts to support your on-site solution.

Scalability (Available with Cloud Premium)
Teams also appreciate the ability to scale with confidence with Atlassian Cloud. Instead of having to manually configure the addition of extra server nodes, Atlassian handles the procurement of inventory and storage for you with immediate response to spikes in demand as well as team resource usage.

Quick Start Ability
For many enterprise organizations, the downtime required to initiate a new hosting environment is usually a deterrent, but you don’t have to worry about that with Atlassian Cloud because setup is easy and you can be ready to go in minutes. As soon as you sign up, you can start working and inviting your team.

Easy Upgrades
Another strong benefit to Atlassian cloud is the immediate access that you gain to the latest features and available upgrades. As a Cloud subscriber, these are initiated immediately for you without any effort required on your part.

Remote Access
In today’s age of remote workers, organizations need to be able to grant access to off site users to remain efficient and without compromising security. Atlassian Cloud enables your team to work from anywhere with secure access and cloud mobile apps. Learn more about cloud hosting infrastructure here.

Security Protocols
Atlassian Cloud was created with security and compliance in mind so that your organization can utilize all the benefits of the cloud without worrying about vulnerability. To ensure your protection, Atlassian uses real-time security updates and rigorous practices to track your data and protect your infrastructure from compromise. You can learn more about Atlassian Cloud security here.

Server and Data Center

Contrary to the cloud, with Atlassian’s Server and Data Center products, you are self-hosting. You install, host and run your Atlassian product suite yourself, with your own IT staff. With these options, you may choose on-premise server storage or deployment via a third-party cloud host such as AWS. This solution may be more ideal to organizations whose core competence is server farm hosting, security and maintenance.

What is the difference between Atlassian’s Server and Data Center products?

Data Center is simply a scaled server solution. Instead of a single node server instance, you will have multiple servers capable of switching resources to optimize for traffic spikes and as a backup solution if an in-use server goes down for any reason. With Atlassian, Data Center products provide the same functionality as server products but have additional capabilities to better serve enterprise organizations.

What are the benefits to choosing Atlassian Server or Data Center?

Advanced Control & Customizability
For teams whose core competencies include hosting infrastructure, the ability to manage all the details and the flexibility to make changes on demand is sometimes more appealing than the savings and convenience of the cloud.

Data Locality
Some enterprise organizations and teams with strict data hosting and localization requirements will opt for an Atlassian server solution. However, while we can’t speak for other third-party cloud hosting solutions, Atlassian Cloud’s provisions may still be an option. For help in determining whether Atlassian Cloud is compliant for your organization, schedule a call to speak with one of our Atlassian Cloud expert IT consultants.

Self-Hosting Experience
As previously stated, those teams who are well versed in the complexities of application hosting on their own servers, and have the bandwidth and capability to maintain and secure their servers may prefer this option over cloud.

Atlassian Cloud vs Server Side-By-Side Comparison

Now we will conduct a side-by-side comparison of the considerations involved in choosing Atlassian Cloud vs Server to help you better understand which option is better suited to your organization.

Atlassian Cloud Server
Deployment/Admin As mentioned previously, if you choose Atlassian Cloud, they will host, set up, secure, and maintain your site.If you are switching from server to cloud, please note that some of the administrative features that you had with server aren’t available in cloud because you no longer require a system administrator. With server products, you host Atlassian products on your own hardware, or through a third-party cloud hosting service such as AWS.You also have the option to customize your setup however you like.System administrators have full access and full control over customization and administration and are responsible for their own support.
Upgrades With Atlassian Cloud, there is no need to upgrade – you will always be on the latest version.

You’ll have immediate access to new features, security updates, and more, without the need for any manual work.

With server, you must manually upgrade your Atlassian server products when new versions become available. Note that this can’t be done without an active license or software maintenance plan.
User Management In Atlassian Cloud, you can manage your users centrally through an organization rather than product by product.Atlassian also offers Atlassian Access and G Suite Integration to aid in user management. Atlassian Server user management is handled by your system administrator via product, through Jira, or by connecting to Atlassian Crowd.
SSO and LDAP With Atlassian Access (mentioned above) you gain visibility, security, and control across your entire infrastructure. Access enables SAML SSO, password policies, user provisioning, and user lifecycle management. You can also integrate with several reputable identity providers. With Atlassian Crowd (mentioned above) you can offer users a single sign-on (SSO) as well as a centralized identity management feature.
Mobile Apps With Atlassian Cloud, you have access to both Confluence and Jira Cloud mobile applications which offer users fast, secure, collaboration on the go, without a VPN. Server currently has Confluence and Jira Server apps available. Unless your instance is public and doesn’t have a firewall, users will need to connect with a VPN to use them.
Marketplace Apps Atlassian has thousands of apps and integrations available for the cloud that extend the functionality of Atlassian’s product suite. Atlassian has thousands of apps and integrations available for server that extend the functionality of Atlassian’s product suite.
APIs You have the ability to develop apps, customizations, and integrations for Atlassian’s cloud products using the Atlassian Connect framework. You have the ability to develop apps, customizations, and integrations for Atlassian’s server products using their robust server APIs.
User Limit Each individual cloud site can support up to 5,000 users. There is limited access to a version for select customers that allows up to 10,000 users. Contact us for information. Atlassian’s server products don’t have user limits, however, for enterprise organizations looking for a self-managed option at scale, we recommend using Atlassian Data Center.
Products Jira Software Cloud
Jira Core Cloud
Jira Service Desk Cloud
Portfolio for Jira Cloud
Confluence Cloud
Bitbucket Cloud
Atlassian Access
Jira Software Server
Jira Core Server
Jira Service Desk Server
Portfolio for Jira Server
Confluence Server
Bitbucket Server
Security Atlassian handles the security, reliability, compliance, and privacy for you. Learn more here about how Atlassian has built security into the fabric of their cloud products. With server products, you are responsible for the security and compliance of your infrastructure.
Hosting Atlassian Cloud’s hosting infrastructure is built to the performance and reliability standards of global customers and optimized to be accessed based on the customers locality. With server products, you are responsible for your own hosting.
Privacy Atlassian Cloud is built to meet the highest bar for personal data privacy. In addition, Atlassian provides support to enable you to meet your privacy obligations, such as GDPR. With server products, you are responsible for your own privacy maintenance.
Reliability Atlassian Cloud is designed for performance and availability and built on core technology, like AWS, so you can scale with confidence. *Scalability available only with Cloud Premium. With server products, you are responsible for your own reliability.
Compliance Atlassian is committed to meeting your compliance needs and undergoes independent third party audits to certify their products with SOC2, ISO 27001/27018, PCI DSS v3.2, SAQ A, and more. With server products, you are responsible for your own compliance.
Pricing Atlassian’s cloud products are offered on a monthly or annual subscription basis. Pricing is based on a per-user basis, allowing you to spread cost over time.Existing users can take advantage of an extended cloud trial. New users get a 7 day cloud trial. Atlassian’s server products are offered as an annual subscription. After the first year you can renew for another year for 50% of your license fee.
Plans Atlassian Cloud offers multiple plans for Jira Cloud, Jira Service Desk, and Confluence which include Free, Standard, and Premium options. Atlassian Server isn’t offered in multiple plans, however Data Center offers self-managed products for teams who need scalability.
Academic Discounts Atlassian offers discounts for academic and non-profit charitable organizations. Terms vary. Atlassian Access is FREE for academic and community subscribers. Learn more. Atlassian offers discounts for academic and non-profit charitable organizations. Terms vary. Learn more.
Site URLs Atlassian provides cloud subscribers with a secure, authenticated site name that you choose when you sign up. They are formatted as As you host your own products, you may use any domain you control.
Languages Atlassian cloud products are available in two dozen languages, and more to come. You can download language packs for Confluence Server and select your language in Jira Server.
Backups Backups are generated automatically on a daily basis and retained for 30 days. You can also generate your own offline backup for Jira or Confluence every 48 hours. Atlassian will maintain these for 7 days. Your organization is responsible for scheduling and maintaining your own routine backups.
IP Allow List Atlassian Cloud does not currently support access restriction for Jira or Confluence Cloud sites based on IP address, but there are other methods that can be used to restrict access. As you are self-hosting with Atlassian server products, you can control network access policies yourself.
Direct Access You do NOT have direct access to change the database structure, file system, or other infrastructure with Atlassian Cloud. However, REST APIs are provided. You can access the database directly with Atlassian Server.

We hope that this comparison of Atlassian Cloud vs Server has helped you to make a decision as to which option is best for your organization. However, at Coyote Creek, we understand that for some organizations, the complexities of hosting requirements go beyond what can be explained in a single document.

Ready to make the switch now? Please contact us to set up a discovery call today! At Coyote Creek as an Atlassian Platinum Solution Partner, we know it’s the human connection that makes the difference in all that we do.