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July 09, 2019

Where should I run my Atlassian software?

TJ
Trefor James 4 minute read

Atlassian software can do wonders for your company — whether it's streamlining the software release process, enabling collaboration by making information sharable and accessible, or helping you better support end-users with transparent issue tracking.

Many businesses, however, find themselves wrangling with the issue of where they should run their Atlassian software for optimal performance. Should you make use of Atlassian's Cloud offering? Is it better to run it yourself? What about removing the hassle completely by partnering with a managed services provider to run it for you? There are myriad options, all with associated advantages and disadvantages, and in this series of blog posts I'll attempt to offer some clarity around the various paths you can take to Atlassian nirvana. 

Keeping things simple with Atlassian Cloud

Atlassian Cloud is a fuss-free, cost effective way to get started with the Atlassian stack. All you need is an internet connection and a credit card to get going, it's upgraded regularly, and there's barely any support overhead for your teams. It's a great way of getting started or kicking the tyres when Atlassian software is new to your organisation.

However, when compared to 'behind the firewall' versions of Atlassian applications not hosted the cloud, there are some limitations worth bearing in mind.

Most notably, Atlassian Cloud's 5,000 user limit makes it unsuitable for large enterprises, which often require high numbers of users to collaborate on projects. What's more, businesses of this size may find that their information security team baulk at the thought of company data being located anywhere in the world —many enterprises need to store more than 250 GBs of attachments and data, meaning that Atlassian's Cloud simply isn't an option. And while regular and frequent upgrades are most definitely a good thing, your user base may find that waking up to a brand new user interface puts them off of their stride and interrupts productivity. 

Find flexibility with on-premise 

Also known as 'behind the firewall', this option involves installing and running the Atlassian suite within your own environment, using your own equipment. This could be in a traditional server room, or out in the cloud using an infrastructure as a service provider.

On-premise hosting delivers all of the benefits of the Server, or for larger workloads or higher resiliency, the Data Center suite of Atlassian tools. By locating your Atlassian suite on your own hardware, you can take advantage of your existing security infrastructure while retaining full administrative control over the applications. That means no more surprise upgrades or storage limits. You can also take advantage of any authentication methods that you currently use with Marketplace apps for tools such as Okta.

Of course, this method of running the Atlassian stack has its downsides. You'll be responsible for managing and maintaining the equipment on which the software is running, and will also be required to undertake regular backups and perform upgrades yourself. However, you can offload a sizeable chunk of administrative effort by using a managed service provider to take the strain — but more about that in a later post!

The peace of mind of an Atlassian Managed service

Another option is enlisting the help of a third party to run Server or Data Centre versions of Atlassian software on your behalf.

The managed service approach gives you the best of both cloud and on-premise models — you retain full control over your applications and upgrade lifecycle while reaping the benefits of the behind the firewall version of Atlassian's software. 

A managed service will also give you access to a full range of integrations via a secure VPN link back to your internal infrastructure — and you also get to use your own corporate domain name. Most crucially, however, taking this route can remove the administrative burden of running a server and networking infrastructure, reducing workload and freeing up your team's time.

A good managed services provider will offer a comprehensive set of service level agreements too, giving you the peace of mind that someone is there to deal with any performance issues within a clear timeframe.

There are many providers of managed services within the global Atlassian Marketplace, and choosing the right one can seem daunting. We'll be publishing a series of follow-up blogs that we hope will make the process easier. Until then, we hope this helps you to decide how to get the best out of your Atlassian stack.