I have an on premise JIRA Server running 6.4 which I would like to upgrade.  When I try to find the download I'm asked if I want JIRA Core or JIRA Software.  I don't know.  I suspect JIRA Core is just the JIRA Server, is that right?

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Sort of.  This is an oversimplification, but it will tell you what you need:

JIRA 6.4JIRA 7.xBest upgrade route
JIRAJIRA CoreJIRA Core
JIRA + Agile add-onJIRA with Software appJIRA Software
JIRA + Service Desk add-onJIRA with Service Desk appJIRA Service Desk
JIRA + Agile + Service DeskJIRA with Software and Service Desk appsJIRA Software, and add SD app later

That makes more sense than the documentation, thank you.

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