Anyone who has recently been in contact with Atlassian's products has probably noticed Atlassian's clear shift of focus from the classic self-managed products to Atlassian's SaaS service, also called Atlassian Cloud. This is where Atlassian has chosen to invest almost all of its financial power in recent years, and it has paid off. In October 2020, Atlassian announced that they will phase out the server product completely over a three-year period, thus taking its cloud strategy to the next level.

Atlassian sells its SaaS product with promises of better support, less maintenance, more secure data and faster performance. It sounds like a winning concept, right? Eficode has thoroughly examined the SaaS product through several stages of transformation. In this blog article we reflect on the differences between Atlassian Cloud and Server.

Same product but there are differences

Atlassian Marketplace (cloud) today offers just over 1,000 apps that have been rebuilt to fit the framework for the cloud products. It can be compared to the 2,500+ apps that currently live in Atlassian's server version. In some cases, the products are basically equal to each other in both environments, but often the apps differ visually and functionally. It is therefore critical to examine the app functionality in connection with a migration.

The app suppliers have had to rebuild their products to fit the cloud framework, which means that functionality simply has to be removed when there is no support in the performance-optimized cloud product. Today there is a gap between the products that Atlassian works hard to close. If you are unsure of what support you need to be able to migrate to Atlassian Cloud, we recommend that you start a test version to compare functionality. Make sure to contact Eficode if you need help.

Furthermore, we have the sandbox, which is a matter of course for those who want to evaluate different apps or test integrations against a clone of their production environment. To be able to use Atlassian’s sandbox, you must have Atlassian Cloud Premium or Enterprise.

Hosting and security

When it comes to hosting, you are often bound by the company's policy, i.e. are you cloud first or regulated by compliance? A common question is which continent the data will be stored on. Atlassian uses AWS, which means flexibility concerning this issue. Today, storage is automatically optimized based on where in the world users log in from. Atlassian now gives its Cloud clients the opportunity to choose where Data Residency should be. However, this feature is available for the Standard, Premium and Enterprise plans.

Atlassian has developed Atlassian Access to further strengthen security through, among other things, SSO (Single Sign On), 2FA, Password policy, etcetera. The product gives you a centralized user management towards most known AD suppliers and also covers many security protocols. You also have the opportunity to gain insights into product use, meaning that you can clean the user base regularly to avoid paying for inactive users. If you have an AD service today, we strongly recommend investing in Atlassian Access for a secure and scalable solution.

Scalability and performance

Atlassian applies the elastic Scale, which means that the products scale automatically based on the content of the instance. The advantage of this approach is that you basically completely eliminate administration costs as neither health checks nor upgrades need to be performed. You put the control in Atlassian’s hands when you choose Cloud, which of course can be considered both positive and negative. 

If we look at performance, the Cloud products feel very stable with a quick response to complicated JQL’s as well as overly well-stocked kanban boards. These aspects are not a problem for server instances if you periodically optimize the instance, which is included in Eficode's hosting services.

Control and reliability

We mentioned the aspect of control in the above section. If you choose Cloud, you should be aware that you let Atlassian do the job, and will not have access to logs or databases in the same way you are used to. Atlassian will of course help should you encounter problems, but you have to create a ticket and explain what you need. If, on the other hand, you have Atlassian Cloud Premium, you get priority support from Atlassian, and a team that can solve your problem in no time.

If you encounter an interruption in service, there is not much you can do. The only reasonable thing is to send a ticket to Atlassian, have a cup of coffee, take a deep breath and hope that the interruption is solved quickly. Fortunately, Cloud products are very reliable and interruptions are unusual. Atlassian offers 99.9% availability on the Premium offer and 99.95% on Enterprise. Should they fail, they offer service credits as compensation.

Control and reliability

In terms of functionality in the Atlassian cloud "out-of-the-box", Atlassian Cloud is passing Server or Data Center. The SaaS product makes a big difference in the visual interface and very tightly integrated apps. If we take a closer look at the apps for Atlassian's Cloud products, there is still a discrepancy in functionality.

Atlassian is encouraging high-ranking app developers (Top Vendors) to catch up with functionality, but unfortunately some limitations in the Cloud products' framework cause problems, which means that some functionality is lost. It has been said before but it is worth saying again: if you migrate to Cloud from Server, you may experience a bottleneck effect if you have not read about the differences. If you do not have the time or you are not experienced enough, you can always ask Eficode to do an inventory of your environment.

4 benefits of Atlassian Cloud

As mentioned above, there are both similarities and differences between the Server product and the SaaS service Atlassian Cloud. What are the primary benefits of Atlassian Cloud and what do you need to consider? The four main benefits of Atlassian Cloud are:

R&D focused

Major investments in development mean that improvements and new functions are often launched.

Usually cheaper

Including cost-of-ownership, Atlassian Cloud is usually cheaper.

Flexible payment model

Pay for the licenses you use – not a penny more.


The product is flexible and scales automatically. This means less administration and more time for other things.

Note that the discrepancy in app functionality sometimes is an obstacle when migrating. You also need to be well acquainted with Compliance as Atlassian Cloud is a SaaS service. Make sure you understand how the data is handled.


With Atlassian's cloud-first focus, there is much to be gained from taking the step towards the cloud. Eficode knows that it is rarely a matter of just changing platforms. There is much to consider in such a change of strategy, and an on-prem solution is a choice based on policy rather than preference. If we look at the concrete product offer, without weighing in potential blocking factors, there is a lot to gain from Atlassian's SaaS product – Atlassian Cloud.

An important factor to consider is the amount of control you desire. Data Center is a good alternative if you are heavily regulated by compliance, and thus forced to keep the data on a leash. However, we recommend that you take a look at Atlassian’s Trust center where you can make an informed decision about whether Atlassian Cloud is within what your organization accepts.

As previously mentioned, apps are an important parameter if you plan to migrate to Atlassian Cloud. It is important to perform a thorough analysis to ensure a 1–1 ratio to avoid scaling away functionality. The gap that exists today is something Atlassian is working hard to close; our experts at Eficode thus believe that it is a temporary factor that will soon be eliminated.

Published: Feb 15, 2022

Updated: Feb 14, 2024