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Licensing and user configuration for Jira Software and Jira Core used together...

I find the separation of Jira Software and Jira Core really confusing. I've read lots of people asking about this without a good explanation.  All the explanations talk about high level differences between the two product lines. Yeah, I get that, but how is licensing actually configured for various user types?

Can someone please describe how these types of roles are licensed?


Software Development Team:  These people would use the standard Jira Software functionality and would be licensed for Jira Software as expected.

Company Management: These people would have only read-only access to the Jira Software screens so they can occasionally check in on progress.  Many of these people would rarely if ever dig in to it, but should have the option to go check if needed. Do they each need a Jira Software license or would Jira Core suffice?

Business Users: These people would create and work with business projects (Jira Core).  However, they should be able to create issues in software projects, and search for existing ones to avoid creating duplicates, check the status of the issues they created, etc.  If they have Jira Core licenses, can they get this basic access to Jira Software projects, or will they only see the Jira Core projects?


How is this set up?  I currently have a trial with the Jira Software app. I don't see a way to create projects with business templates.  All I can choose from is Classic or Next-Gen.  Am I supposed to also install Jira Core as a second app?  Or is there a non-obvious way to add business-like projects in Jira Software?

If I am supposed to also add Jira Core, and then there is a second set of projects (those created in Jira Software and a separate set in Jira Core) then I'm assuming that people licensed for Jira Core won't even be able to see projects in Jira Software, and won't be able to add issues there.  Also, vice versa, for those licensed to use Jira Software, will they be able to see the projects in the Jira Core app automatically, or do they also need to be licensed for the Jira Core app (getting double-charged)?

It's all very confusing. This doesn't seem like an uncommon scenario. Is there good documentation that describes how Jira Software and Jira Core would both be used in a company that has both software development and lots of standard business projects?

3 answers

1 accepted

0 votes
Answer accepted

I think you're getting mixed up with the project types and next-gen/classic.

I'll try to simplify a bit:

  • Jira Core is what we tend to call just "Jira".  It provides most of the functions that are at the heart of an issue tracker - users, fields, issues, projects, the web UI, data storage, mail and so-on.
  • Jira Software is an application that loads itself on top of Jira Core, adding a pile of additional functionality aimed at Software developers, primarily boards, Agile support and development panels etc.
  • Jira Core provides two types of project, Classic and Next-gen.  It has several project creation templates for both of these that pre-configure a project to be built with a "business" type process in mind.
  • Jira Software also provides several project more creation templates (Classic and Next--gen again) that pre-configure a project to be built with an Agile development  type process in mind
  • It is important to note that these projects are all Jira projects, they're not "in an application".  Everything is in one place here - it's all in Jira.
  • For the licencing side, you can licence Core (business) users, and you can licence Software users.
    • However, the easiest way to look at a Software licence is to think that it includes a Core licence.  So a Software user is automatically a Core user and does not need a separate licence. 
    • Looking at the $5 and $7 per user, you could even think $5 = Core, and $7 =  Software (5$ Core + $2 for the SW)
    • These licence levels are independent of each other, even within the same instance.  You can do things like 100 Core and 50 Software licences, giving you a total of 150 users.   
  • If you have separate Core and Software licences, then you will find your Software users can use all the projects and functions (the number and type of project is effectively irrelevant to them).  The Core users will be able to use the "Software" projects, but only the core functionality in them - they'll be able to see, update, edit etc issues in Software projects (assuming you open permissions for them to do so), but they won't get the development functions, or, most importantly, access to the Software boards.

(There's a further discussion here in that there's another type of user, an Agent, if you have Jira Service Desk as well.  This works similarly to Jira Software, but non-Agents have their actions in Service Desk projects limited down to pretty much "read and comment")

That's very helpful.  Thank-you for the detailed explanation. I think there's an opportunity for Atlassian to improve the documentation on the Jira Software pricing page. ;)


Thanks again!

Much as I like the Atlassian technical authors, and actually think the licence model is a passable one, yes, the licencing page can be as clear as mud.  It also flows over into how you licence apps too, it's clear that the docs do not explain that well either.

0 votes
Daniel Ebers Community Leader Dec 28, 2020

Hi Gary,

I see that this can be confusing when looked at the first time - but you will see, it is quite easy. Jira Software lives "on top" of Jira Core. In other words the features like software boards (agile), mostly referred to as Kanban and Scrum Boards are a plus of Jira Software.

Everything else like, just to name one example, the workflow engine, comes out of Jira Core.
When subscribing to Jira Software you do not need a separate Jira Core subscription.

No matter if you are using Jira Core or Jira Software you can have Classic or next-gen projects, yes.
Important to know is just that Jira Core users are NOT able to use software boards in any way but there is no double charging in this regards.
Also, if you have subscribed to Jira Software this means from a functional view that you all that Jira Core provides can use.

I am quite sure you already found this basic documentation but I will link it here in case other users will have the same question:


Thanks for the response, Daniel.  Please see my other post.  It's a question of order of precedence.  Which of these is correct?

1] Licensed by app. Both Jira Software and Jira Core can be installed.  Since Jira Software extends Jira Core, business templated project can be added to either. However, if you put the business templated projects in the Jira Software app then users must pay the Software licensing price ($7/user/mo) regardless of whether they are only using the business projects.  You can also install the Jira Core app and those users only pay $5/user/mo.  (can those licensed to the Jira Software app also go into the Jira Core app?) 

2] Licensed per project type.  You only need to have the one Jira Software app installed, which extends and includes the features of Jira Core.  Some users associated with the Jira Software are configured as "Jira Software licenses" and some are "Jira Core" licenses, enabling/disabling which projects they can access in the same instance of the Jira Software app.

I think I might have figured it out.  Unfortunately, it would require paying more per user.  Let me explain. Hopefully, someone can confirm that this is correct or let me know if I am misunderstanding something.

When you create a project in Jira Software, you have a choice between Classic projects and Next-Gen.  The classic ones are worded, and the two names allude, that classic is old and might go away.  "Next-gen" makes a new Jira user feel like they should choose that for a new project. Why would someone choose the old stuff when starting from scratch? So, I didn't even look at Classic.

However, apparently, you must choose classic, and then select a dropdown, to see the business templates. The original side-by-side comparison makes no mention that the business templates are only available under "Classic"

Nevertheless, this seems like how we would create business projects to coincide with the software development projects.  This would allow all of the company staff to have access to both kinds of projects.

However, and this is the thing I'd like to confirm, it seems that all users would be required to be licensed for the Jira Software licensing price ($7/user/mo), even those only using the business projects.  Furthermore, we wouldn't be able to upgrade to the Jira Software Premium features unless we were willing to pay $14/user/mo for all users, including those that are only business users.

Is that correct?

Daniel Ebers Community Leader Dec 28, 2020

Not quite. Both classic and next-gen projects have their advantages. With classic projects you can structure your work like you probably know it from Jira the former days on Server - with all the powerful features.

Next-gen projects are lightweigth ones and configuration lives within just that project - advantage: you don't need to contact a Jira admin and same time have great flexibility.

I have just checked on my Cloud instance. Yes, "Business" templates are only for classic projects but this does not mean something for billing (at least not in that direction).
Because you will get the business templates with Jira Core as well as Jira Software.
The other way around would not work: if you want to have Kanban boards you will need Jira Software.

Your calculation in this matter seems not being correct to me. For Business projects a Jira Core subscription would suffice but this would only make sense if those users should never use Kanban/Scrum boards.

To sum up, I think you need to make several distinctions:

Classic vs. Next-Gen Projects:

Different plans like free, standard premium, enterprise:

Jira Software vs. Jira Core:

Thanks for the response. I think you are misunderstanding my question. It's about pricing, and how users will use it, not features. I fully understand the differences between Software and Core.  I also fully understand that Software can do everything that Core can do and then some.

Let me try to explain it differently.  I'll explain things as if they are facts, because this is how I am starting to believe it works.  Please explain if I am incorrect.

Let's say I only wanted to create a single project, and it would be business-templated. I could install the Jira Core app or I could install the Jira Software app.  Each of which can have a project using a business template.  It would be silly to use Jira Software for this, though, because the price would be $7/user instead of $5/user for the same thing.

If I did use Jira Software, though, I would have the option of adding a second project using a next-gen template.  All users associated with that Jira Software instance would have access to both projects.  However, many non-technical staff are unlikely to use the next-gen project. Yet, they still would be charged $7/user instead of $5/user even though they are only using the business-templated project.

Now, alternatively, I could have both the Jira Software app and the Jira Core app installed, and add the next-gen project to the Jira Software app and the business project to the Jira Core app. The software dev team would be $7/user for the Jira Software instance and non-technical staff would be $5/user associated to the Jira Core app.  However, the users associated with the Jira Core app would not be able to see the projects in the Jira Software app, and vice versa.  So, the technical people would need to be added to both apps to also have access to general business needs and need a paid license to each.

Its a choice between double pricing for some or higher pricing for all non-technical staff. It exacerbated if we wanted to upgrade to Jira Software Premium for software development needs.

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