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Best way to migrate issues from Jira server to Jira cloud without losing WF changes?

We are planning to migrate our Jira server environment (our current production system)  to Jira cloud (new). We have migrated the whole environment already several months ago (via backup server - restore on cloud) but we have made several changes in workflows and postfunctions (regarding not existing plugins) afterwards (in the cloud).

Now we want to refresh (sync) al issues from server to cloud without loosing the changes in workflows. We have several options:
- csv export import of issues (but then we will  lose history)
- using a sync issue plugin like Exalate (we try to get this working, mapping the several fields will cost a lot of time)
- using backup and recovery to only recover the issues on the Cloud site (but I don't know if that is possible).

Does anyone have experience and/or knowledge regarding migrating issues from an old (server) to a new environment (cloud) without losing changes in workflows in the new environment?


Bart Scholtens

1 answer

0 votes
Alexis Robert Community Leader Nov 12, 2019

Hi @Bart Scholtens ,


what you can do here is to export your Jira server issues to a CSV file and then run the import wizard with that CSV on your Cloud instance :

This way you only import the issues, and you can manually fix any problems in your CSV file before importing it (like changing a status that does not exist anymore on the Cloud instance).


Let me know if this helps, 



Hi Alexis,

Thanks for your quick response.

Thanks. I have tried this before and after import the issues look good except there is no history available in the issue. For my company (Alliander) this is an important requirement.



Alexis Robert Community Leader Nov 12, 2019

in this case you need to do a full backup import, and this will erase your Jira Cloud settings. I don't think there is a way to achieve what you want without deleting all your project configuration in Cloud

Thank you,

Does it also erase everything in case you manipulate the backup xml (deleting all workflow tags and keeping only the issue tags, although it might be tricky)? Anyway, it looks like backup - restore is not te way to migrate the issues without affecting other items.

Alexis Robert Community Leader Nov 12, 2019

I think it's very tricky to modify the XML backup - no idea of the side effects this could have.

Yeh, it might be to risky, I was wondering if it is possible in general.

This is the answer I've got from  Atlassian Support:

With regard to the issue that you have raised, you would like to know what is the best approach to migrate your current Jira server data into Cloud without touching the existing data in Cloud.

For your information, performing a Jira import will overwrite all data associated with projects and replace it with project data from the backup file. This is expected behavior and is mentioned here: Plan your Jira Server to Cloud migration

From the same documentation, you will find lots of useful information about migrating Jira data from Server to Cloud as well e.g moving all or some of your data to an existing Jira Cloud site.

Please find my answer below

 csv export import of issues (but then we will lose history)

Yes, you are right here on this. Just in case if you haven't come across our documentation regarding CSV import: Importing data from CSV.

If you choose the method of importing these issues via CSV, the limitations are as follows:

  • Before importing the CSV file, you will need to re-create the project and re-configure the project's configurations on the target instance, including Workflow, Permission Schemes, etc.
  • Issue History will not be retained (timestamp of issue transitioned, issue updated, etc)
  • Attachments require additional steps to be imported successfully (See Importing attachments into JIRA Cloud using CSV External System Importer)

 using a sync issue plugin like Exalate (we try to get this working, mapping the several fields will cost a lot of time)

I'm not familiar with this addons, hence I'm not able to provide you with proper information. Perhaps you can reach out to the vendor and see if they have a workaround for it. You can contact them here:

 using backup and recovery to only recover the issues on the Cloud site (but I don't know if that is possible). -> will recocver delete the existing environment first, is is possible to backup and recover only issues?

Generating an export from Cloud instance will include all Jira data as well as users. We do not have a feature to export selective issues/projects in Cloud at this moment. This would also mean that importing data will wipe existing data on the target instance as what I've mentioned earlier.

Perhaps you can consider merging the data of both instances on a temporary Jira Server application, which provides the functionality to Import specific Projects. You will be exporting Jira backups from both Jira Cloud/Server instances, and merge them through the temporary Jira Server application. Once all the data are merged in the Jira Server, take the finalized (merged) backup and import into the target Jira Cloud site.

Here is the basic outline of this process:

  1. Install a Jira Server application
  2. Restore the current backup of Target instance to the Jira Server
  3. Take the backup of Source instance and perform the selective project restore (for the required projects to be merged) to the same Jira Server
  4. Once all the projects are merged in the Jira Server, take the finalized (merged) backup and import it into the target Jira Cloud instance.

I believe it is also important to let you know that migration tasks usually take quite some time to complete. We suggest performing a dry-run of the import on a Staging/Test Cloud instance (which can be created for a free trial), before proceeding with the import on the production Cloud instance. This way, we can anticipate the errors/issues that we may encounter during the migration task and work on it accordingly.

In the meantime, would you mind to share with me how many issues from your server instance that you are planning to import into the Cloud?

Look forward to hear from you.


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