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In the process of migrating Server to Cloud and this was a good point to cleanup unused screens, custom fields, workflows etc. etc.
Q: Will the reduction of these items improve (theoretically) the performance of the new Cloud instance?
Or could I have spend my time wiser? ;-p
They can, yes, but generally the performance hit is on the back end, and only really caused by items that are active.
Cleaning out inactive workflows, unused screens (not used in a scheme or workflow) and so-on is good for your admins, but they don't affect performance directly.
Fields are different - they can have an effect. Again it's only when they're "active", and only when Jira needs to do something with them (read or write) but they're active whenever they exist on an issue, no matter whether they are on-screen, shown or hidden by the field configs. So even if a field is unused, there's some overhead in having them associated with an issue. It's always good to remove or reduce usage of fields. Even merging fields is helpful because each individual field can have it's own overhead. (Imagine the case I found when I started at an old old job - I inherited a Jira that had 40 pairs of start and end dates with slightly different names - that's 80 fields applied on every issue in the system, which is not a great use of the servers resources)
So, no, you have not wasted your time! Easier admin, and tidier data is always a good thing.