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We are using Jira in the cloud, but want to bring in Confluence and Crucible, so we'll need to build up a server. What is the most straightforward way to do that under Windows. Or would a VM running *nix be a better approach?
Welcome on Community!
To answer your question I'd say that the running OS might be at your preference (both Unix and Windows are supported). I personally prefer Unix as I'm more familiar with its administration. If you want an "easy" way to install and maintain applications, I'd recommend the running "as a service" which is kind of straight forward.
Atlassian documentation is well done and can be found here: https://confluence.atlassian.com/adminjiraserver071/installing-jira-applications-802592161.html (for Jira) and https://confluence.atlassian.com/doc/confluence-installation-guide-135681.html (for Confluence).
If you need to migrate from Cloud to Server, you might have a look here: https://confluence.atlassian.com/adminjiraserver071/migrating-from-jira-cloud-to-server-applications-802592270.html
Please let us know if you have any specific questions while trying it out!
Hope this helps!