How to merge Jira instances with colliding project keys?


I have to merge a smaller Jira Software Server instance into a bigger one.

I read a lot of blog posts about it and the process is now clear for me.

However there are projects in the smaller instance, which use the same project key as project in the bigger instance?

To add to the complexity both instances are linked with Confluence servers, which need to be merged too.

In which system is better to change the project key - the source (before merging) or the target (again before merging)?

Let's imagine that the project key is ABC and we have issue ABC-1 in both instances.

If I change the key in the source instance to DEF, then the issue ABC-1 will be accessible by two issue keys - DEF-1 and ABC-1.

OK, but now if I move project DEF to the other instance and search for issue ABC-1, which issue will be returned - DEF-1 or ABC-1 from the target instance?

I am trying to anticipate all problems with incoming links that will arise after the merge

1 answer

If you change the issue key still you face some issue when you try to merge the two instance. You may try to explore other options.

As you have smaller Jira instance you can export all the ticket in excel format. Then create a project with key DEF in your bigger instance and upload all the tickets in DEF project. Please use csv format to import this.

CSV import is not an option.

We must use the built-in project XML import, as we want to preserve all comments, transitions, modifications.

And the source instance isn't small - it's just smaller than the receiving, but still pretty big (100K+ issues)


Follow the below process than.

Create an empty project with key DEF in bigger instance. Make sure all the configuration is same like ABC project of Smaller instance.

If you have a existing empty project in biger instance, you will get a ' 'Overwrite Project Details' option during Project restore, please uncheck it. So your new project will display with DEF key only. It will not accessible by ABC key anymore.


There is a very simple solution to your "project keys problem".

Before starting the merge you must do the following.
1. Rename the project on the small JIRA system
2. Export the Project, use the XML backup
3. Delete the already renamed and exported project.
4. Import back the project via the XML importer.

This way you will loose the records in DB for the old key in the DB.
Do not forget to try this on a test instance :)

To see what kind of problem you can expect you can take a look at the presentation that I've made on the European Summit 2017 here ->
or at the community

Thanks, George.

I will try the approach you suggested.

I am worried that links from other systems (Confluence, Github) will be broken, but I suppose it is inevitable.

I watched your presentation at the Summit and it's quite helpful

Hi Pavel, did you get you problem resolved?

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