Test instance with OnDemand

I am planning a Jira install for a client and the obvious question of whether to go with OnDemand or Hosted came up.

My preference would be to go with OnDemand simply ecause the client does not have the infrastructure to properly support a hosted instance that's "always on". They are also very small so they could endure an outage of a hosted instance but, as I said, I'd prefer not to have to go that route.

However, there's one sticking point. In all the Jira installs I've done in the past (all hosted), there has been a test instance and a production instance. Changes to the configuration were done on the test instance, tested, verfied with the user base and then migrated to the production instance. Ths prevents surprises, helps vet ideas and, in general, keeps the production system safe from mistakes. The data set from the production system is periodically migrated to the test system so that the test system represents reality.

What have people done to support this sort of thing with OnDemand? I don't want to pay for 2 OnDemand instances and, even if I could there does not appear to be a way to periodically grab a backup of the producton system so it can be imported to the test system. Same probllem if one were to have a self-hosted test system with an OnDemand production system. There does not appear to be a way to migrate data from the OnDemand system to a test system.

What are others thoughts?

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I don't think there's a solution to have an unpaid "test instance". But you can sign up for two instances and then use the JIRA OnDemand Backup Manager to transfer data from the test instance into the production instance, but note that OnDemand only supports full imports so it will repace everything and wipe any old data that exists on the instance.

A better option might be to test the instance with test data for couple of weeks during evaluation and when everything is verified you can go ahead and use it for production.

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