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So you're looking to migrate to cloud. Here's what you need to know about apps.

Years ago, Atlassian foresaw the rise of the SaaS enterprise and decided to start heavily investing in our cloud products. Our cloud products have since become an industry leader with best-in-class performance, reliability, privacy, security, and disaster recovery. Hundreds of thousands of customers trust our cloud offerings, including 80% of the Fortune 500. With immediate access to the latest features and integrations, simplified IT workloads, and improved productivity, it’s no wonder that 90% of our new customers choose to start in cloud.

If you are one of our customers that started on server and are now considering moving to SaaS, you probably have many questions about how to start: “how is cloud better for my team?”, “what is security like compared to server?”, “are there tools for data migration”, and of course “what about my apps”? Migrations don’t happen all at once. The actual migration process and timeline can vary depending on the size of your instance, how many attachments you have, the amount of data, and the number of apps.

We’ve been hard at work simplifying and demystifying the migration process for customers ready to move to the cloud. The Atlassian Cloud Migration Center is full of critical information, FAQs, and step-by-step guides to make sure your move to cloud is successful. With more than 60% of Atlassian customers using an app or integration to extend product functionality, we know many of you likely don't know where to start when migrating with apps. You might be asking yourself, “which apps are a must-have for my teams?”, “what functionality now comes natively in cloud?”, “which integrations do we need?”.

We’re here to help.

We’ve broken down the necessary steps to assess apps in your cloud migration strategy. We've also included some insights into what's different in cloud to make your migration easier. 

Screen Shot 2019-11-22 at 10.39.20 AM (1).png

Step 1: Identify all the apps you use for each Atlassian product

Chances are you have a lot of apps. Maybe you inherited an instance from a previous admin that includes up to 30+ apps (it’s a lot, but I’ve seen it happen!). Think of your migration as an opportunity for spring cleaning. Let’s identify all those apps and figure out what your users are currently using.

Luckily, Atlassian is making this part easy for you with the new App Assessment feature in our free migration tooling. Our Jira and Confluence Migration Assistants help migrate your Server or Data Center data over to cloud and the new App Assessment feature helps you flag app availability, what you want to keep, leave behind, or further investigate.

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Step 1A: What apps are your teams actually using?

If you know all your apps are actively being used by your teams you can go ahead and skip this step. If on the other hand, you have no idea how many people are using an app (or if they are using it at all) then keep reading.

While there is currently no automated way to determine how many times an app is being used, we do have some common approaches to help you find out.

  1. Stakeholder interviews or surveys. Ask internally to uncover: Who's using the apps? What for? Are there any duplicates? It's likely that end users might not even be aware that certain features they rely on are part of an app. Additionally you should check out this community post where Community leader Craig Castle-Mead outlines a simple way to check on app usage through Active Object tables located in your system admins “Plugin Storage” page. Follow the directions on his post for some quick analysis of your app usage.

  2. Confluence: The Confluence Cloud Migration assistant includes basic usage data to help you make an informed decision on what apps are most important for you team. For apps that use macros, you can check macro usage statistics to see how often each macro is used. Woohoo for easy app assessment!

  3. Jira: App vendor Botron has developed a Marketplace app called Power Admin that has an app usage audit tool 😍. We're also investigating adding usage data to the Jira Cloud Migration Assistant as a one-stop shop for all your app migration needs.


Step 2: What apps do you need in cloud?

Now that you have the list of the apps that you are currently using, you’re probably about to check if they’re available in cloud (or maybe you already did). Before you do that, let’s take a step back.

The server and Data Center versions of our products are different from our cloud. Before you decide to bring all of your apps with you, explore our cloud products first by taking advantage of our extended cloud trial to make sure you need the functionality that the app provides. The extended cloud trial matches your user tier and duration of your current on-premise license for free and allows you to explore cloud, test functionality, and plan your migration over time. Check out what features your apps were providing and what functionality is built into cloud. Review your product capabilities and determine what additional features you’ll still need in cloud and take a look at the product roadmaps to see if the feature you need is currently being worked on.

Step 2a: Compare server or Data Center apps, to the cloud app

Hopefully that spring cleaning exercise was beneficial and left you only with the apps your teams need. After moving through the app assessment workflow, you may find that there are several features in your apps that are crucial to your teams. Now that you have that list of features and determined what is already native in cloud, it’s time to start looking at the cloud versions of the apps. The first step is to check your server apps to see if they have a comparative version for cloud. If they do - great! Not all cloud apps are the exact same as server so make sure they have the main features that you need. If the cloud version of the app fulfills your team’s needs, then you can mark that off your list.

If your server app is not yet available on cloud, it’s worth reaching out to the vendor via their support desk to ask if they are currently building the app. Will it include the functionality that you need? When will it be available for general use?

Pro-tip: Try this helpful app audit template to get started on your app assessment.

Step 2b: Find a comparative app

If your server app does not yet exist in cloud or the cloud version of the app does not offer everything you need, there are still other options. In the past year, the Atlassian Marketplace has seen over 200 new cloud apps come to market with more everyday. Chances are that if your server app does not offer the feature that you need, there may be another app on the Marketplace that will.

Screen Shot 2019-11-19 at 9.40.19 AM.png

In the rare instances that you cannot find any app to provide the functionality you seek, you can create your own customizations by building the feature yourself.

Step 3: Build an app

This might at first seem a daunting task, but it’s not as hard as you might expect. While the Atlassian Marketplace has thousands of apps for customers to install, many of our customers have built apps for their own private use. If you are not able to find a cloud app that you need, it may be time to consider building it for yourself.

Head on over to the Atlassian Developer site and take a look at the documentation. We also have an active community of 25,000+ developers who can help you along the way with any questions you may have about how to build your own app.

Step 4: Add a SaaS integration

Another key benefit of moving to cloud is the abundance of official SaaS integrations that allow you to connect your Atlassian suite to your other tools. Many of these tools also offer the benefit of bi-directional syncing so changes made in one tool are reflected in the other. We have been hard at work to make sure there are options to the most requested products and have recently finished new integrations for Google Sheets and Excel. Some of our other most popular integrations include Slack, Zoom, Gmail, Github, Microsoft Teams, Adobe, CircleCI, LaunchDarkly, Miro, just to name a few 😉. Discover more integrations and apps by browsing the Atlassian Marketplace.


We hope this guide helped you better understand the steps to go through when thinking about where to start for apps when migrating your instance from server to cloud. If you are looking to learn more, stay tuned for the next piece in our series about “Why we’re building for cloud” from Marketplace vendor Appfire.

For more info on migrations, visit the Cloud Migration Center for resources, best practices, and dedicated migration support. 



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Sri Kumar
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Jan 17, 2020

@Emilee ,

This is a very good write up. I have been working in Atlassian Migration support for 8 months. And I have seen many cases that circles around add-on . 

This article should give them a great insight and also help them.


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Thank you for the tutorial. 

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