Seems like I have very outdated JIRA as it's v. 4.1.2.
I wonder if there are any known watchouts in the upgrade process.
We are on RHEL and with MySQL DB. Is there anything I should know before proceeding?
I would strongly recommend that you upgrade your Jira instance to 4.4.5 first. There is a major change in the 4.4.x versions in regards to how Jira handles user accounts, so make sure you don't skip that specific upgrade.
I would also recommend looking at Skipping major versions when upgrading JIRA applications - Atlassian Documentation.
You certainly don't need to upgrade to every version in between, but there are a few key versions I would recommend going to as a means to make sure that your data can be upgraded successfully. I would recommend this upgrade path:
4.1.2 -> 4.4.5 -> 5.2.11 -> 7.0.11 -> 7.6.0
It's very important to make sure that you also update any plugins you use with Jira after each upgrade. I would also recommend testing out Jira on each version to make sure things are working correctly here.
The next major version that you cannot skip is 7.0.x. There is also good overview KB in Upgrade guide for JIRA 7.2+ from 6.x and older versions - JIRA Knowledge Base - Atlassian Documentation
This KB explains that you have to also pay attention to the supported platforms of each version. I suspect you will have to migrate the database at least one if not more than once to a supported database version in order to complete all these upgrades.
You're probably also going to need the archived versions of these Jira installs which you can find in the Jira Downloads Archive.
Also since you're using mysql, Jira can't update the jdbc driver used to connect to that database type when you do these updates. So I would recommend that you make sure to manually update this driver per the Connecting Jira to Mysql database instructions before doing these updates.
Lastly, I'd recommending using the Fallback method for Upgrading Jira. It tends to take a little bit longer and require some more time and effort, but it has the added benefit of being able to quickly fallback should you encounter unexpected problems during the upgrade which is actually pretty common when upgrading Jira.
There certainly are changes in the 6.x versions, however in my experience the 7.0.x versions are typically able to update Jira from 5.x versions directly. The 7.0.x versions contain a lot of specific upgrade tasks to make sure that several older versions can be upgraded to this version.
We upgrade Jira 5.1.6 ->6.4.13 -> 7.3.8 without any issues in our DEV.
We don't recommend skipping 7.0.x upgrades ever. If you ever ran Service Desk, or were running Jira Agile 6.3.xx or earlier, you need to go to this 7.0.x version or else these plugins data cannot be updated in Jira.
If you are not using these plugins and have no desire to, then yes, you might be able to upgrade from a 6.4.x to a 7.2.x or higher. However as a general rule we typically don't recommend that upgrade path in support because we have seen a number of instances that can get into broken state because the upgrade jumped too far ahead and as a result these other plugins cannot be installed to upgrade the data on that version.
My biggest recommendation would be to step up to that upgrade, and not try jumping. There are some underlying changes to the Database that go easier if you do incremental upgrades. We had some major issues with upgrading from 5.8.5 to the 7.X, and had to roll back and go to 6.4 first. We still had to make changes to our Database collation settings. (we're using SQL2012)
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