Cloud is run by atlassian for you, you sign up and it works. It has some restrictions in flexibility, but most users are fine with them. Server you download, install and run on your own hardware, and you then need resources to look after that.
Thanks Nic. When you say that the server is installed on our own hardware, does that mean each team member downloads JIRA and Agile to their individual computers using the license number that was sent to me?. I downloaded the softwaret, created a board in Agile and now want to share it with everyone on the team. How do they access it?
When I login into the web version of JIRA it takes me to a demo board and not the one I created?
No - only the admin installs the server version - and each team member gets an account on that server. You need to create these user accounts on your server instance. Everyone case see everything initially; but you can create groups or permission schemes to restrict that as you go. In the case of cloud, user account creation for your team on your cloud-based instance is the same - every one on your team gets their own login. Try this Getting Started guide - https://confluence.atlassian.com/display/AOD/Getting+started+with+OnDemand Also - Atlassian University online courses are free. Perhaps try this too: https://www.atlassian.com/software/university/overview I think these resources will help you with some of these questions - and more - quickest.
While Nic's answer is technically correct - let me add to that..
Cloud is hosted - you and your group get login accounts, and away you go. Just works, and all your data is located behind that web link (URL), also hosted by Atlassian. There is no install needed locally for your users.
Server version is a downloadable package to be installed - that can be hosted by you or a hosting provider. One of the biggest differences at current is a huge amount of "plugins" (add-ons) that allow additional functionality and integrations. In fact there are over 1000+ of these add-ons, and very few available for Cloud (yet). This will evolve with time.
For example, if you have an integration that you want, "google" the flavors to see if it is available. Or contact the vendor of the solution. We have moved many customers from Cloud to managed hosting (server) because they needed add-ons or integrations.
If you do not have IT support to host or manage the server version, a "like"-cloud option is available through "managed hosting" by different vendors. in some cases, these services provide 24x7 support, Atlassian-skilled technicians for upgrades, monitoring, performance tweaking, backups, etc. In short no headaches. But the best thing is that you you can also have any add-on or intergation on the market.
If you are a small corp, I would start with the Cloud version. Get your feet wet. You can always migrate to the server version later if you need the additional capabilities.
Hope that helps Cathy,
firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any other questions.
Happy to help you in the early ropes - it is a bit confusing at the beginning, but you will be an ol' pro in no time!
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