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What's the difference between JIRA Software and JIRA?

I belong to a software company that uses JIRA for projects. Just received an email today announcing JIRA Software. I see 3 flavors of JIRA on the Atlassian website - Software, Service Desk, and Core. What's the difference between what we have now vs. 'JIRA Software'?

7 answers

1 accepted

67 votes
Answer accepted

We done an infographic to highlight the differences for JIRA Core, JIRA Software and JIRA Service Desk.

Sharing the link here -

This is the best explanation I've seen so far.

Like # people like this

Thank you. It was helpful! 

Amazing infographic Akeles, many thanks for this! I will be sharing it a lot :)


it explained very well but i have a small question, Can we combine Jira Core and Software to use at once?or any 2 or any 3 with each other!

You can't not combine them.

Jira Core is Jira.  Software and Service Desk are Applications that run on top of Jira Core, adding functions to it.  You can't run Jira Software on its own, as it needs Core to provide the issues, workflows, projects, users, and so-on.

(The installers are not explained well - the installer download for Jira Software is not an installer for Jira Software, it's an installer for Jira Core with Software pre-installed and configured with it)

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Thanks for clarification @Nic Brough _Adaptavist_

Jira software doesn't even allow you to estimate the velocity of each Sprint. They are still working on this function.  

@Victor Loo- eh?  Software has done that since it was Greenhopper (and I'm old)

Nice inforgraphics. Crystal clear :)

Great explanation.. thanks... 

Like Digital Khan likes this

One moment, please.

Why, according to the info, can't Jira Software integrate with Confluence, once again?


Like Patrick Hairston likes this

Grigory, you are very observant and raised a good point.

All versions of Jira can integrate with Confluence. That is a special mention for Service Desk because of the additional KB integration which allows customers to access Confluence for free (without the need for additional Confluence licenses).

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Wow, thank you. That makes perfect sense.

Though the expression is a bit vague. One may think that other products cannot be integrated with Confluence. I'd rephrase it somehow..

Does anyone still have the file that was linked above? The link seems not to work anymore.

The link works fine for me, but this is a screenshot of the main table in case you still can't access it.

Screen Shot 2019-04-16 at 10.49.05 AM.jpgScreen Shot 2019-04-16 at 10.49.21 AM.jpg

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Like # people like this

Thanks for everyone's help

Hi there,

Though, the answers here seem to be satisfactory But i still stand confused regarding the difference between the two



Thank you so much everyone and especially Akeles for creating the page!!! AMAZING!!!

Appreciate the screenshots adrianoatl!!

I saved all of this and will share with my team as there has been questions about the Core product and comparing the differences. You saved me a ton of time researching!!

Like Hua Soon SIM _Akeles_ likes this

This is more on licensing. Rather than any product changes/functionality changes


JIRA Software : JIRA + JIRA Agile

JIRA CORE : JIRA only without JIRA Agile

JIRA Service Desk: JIRA Service Desk (no changes)


Licensing: Previously, if you have 500-user JIRA license, you will need 500 JIRA Agile license as well. Now, no.

Example, in your company, you have 100 user using JIRA and only 30 of them using JIRA+JIRA Agile. You can opt to have 70 user license JIRA Core with 30-user license JIRA Software. Thats why JIRA Core license still exist.

You can still install JIRA Software, and apply only JIRA core license in the license page. And enjoy JIRA functionality without JIRA Agile. And if suddenly you decides that you need Agile capability. Just add the JIRA Software license so you can enjoy Agile functionality. No problem! smile




Yep, this just has been recently announced. Read the info here So JIRA Software is your typical JIRA+JIRA Agile and JIRA Core is like a new/old stuff.

One thing to note the most is:

You have access to all the features of JIRA Core through your JIRA Software or JIRA Service Desk license, but your other teams can buy a license for JIRA CORE only, too.


Very interesting note. As far as I understood JIRA licensing so far, up to ver.7, it was not possible to have two JIRA instances licensed by one customer. It was only possible to deploy a single instance of JIRA in a production environment on 1 server. Now, how I understand it, one company can buy 50 JIRA Software licenses for one group of employees, and 250 for JIRA Core for another group and deploy them together one server? The sentence that you quoted is very confusing.

Bogdan - on the contrary, my company (a large one) has many distinct JIRA implementations around the company. We are only now merging some of them into a single instance. One of the groups actually talked to Atlassian about it and at the time (a year or two ago), they said it was both common and recommended to have multiple jira implementations for multiple teams at the same company if they had no interaction with each other. Granted, that was all on separate servers. But the more I've read about the update, you can actually have JIRA Software, JIRA Service Desk and JIRA Core all on teh same server, and you license people based on the applications they have access to.

If you want a little more detail than the product changes, I just found this link and this gets into a little better detail about what you can and cannot do.  Suffice it to say that if you had JIRA and the Agile plugin before, then going to JIRA Software will looks pretty much the same (as long as you run the upgrade by right clicking and selecting  "Run as administrator" otherwise you may be spending the day restoring your system). 

Look at your renewal cost. It might have gone up or if you want to upgrade, it will be higher.

I'm not sure why this answer was downvoted. If you're a Jira customer with the agile plugin installed today, the renewal cost is definitely higher than in the past. As far as I can tell, Jira Core is just today's Jira without the Agile plugin, but with a few template projects and workflows thrown in for business projects. Even after attending summit this year, it's unclear to me whether any of today's Jira functionality (outside of the agile plugin) will be limited to Jira Software license holders. One thing I did discover is that you can have both Jira core and Jira software licenses in the same Jira instance. An individual user will have one license type or another, which is interesting since it's the PROJECT that's either a software project or business project and not the USER per se.

Agree - my renewal cost for JIRA + JIRA Agile went up after the announcement. I had a quote for 14K that went up to 17K.


Same question, we have JIRA Server onboard since 2003, with  a running maintenance till 2016, with Tempo & a large number of CVS project.

Some clarification for the  maintenance track till the end of the ongoing support period would help.

We have a 6.2.2 installation, if we want to upgrade, which soft should we download. Till now it was available through myatlassian, which seems not to be the case....

The agile face of JIRA i.e. JIRA Software does certainly confuse a lot of new users.

I for myself started using jira when jira just had jira core and nothing - when they split JIRA software and jira core - it was  a bit confusing.

I think the reason behind this is the word " SOFTWARE".

Software is a generic term - JIRA is a software that has a software called JIRA SOFTWARE ( Agile)  and this is what confuses new comers.

Hello Community,


I have been using jira software cloud for ages.  The majority of my projects, if not all, are strictly business.  I see now that I should have been using jira core all this time now.  Can I easily change over?    Is this available only for server or also cloud?

You can just turn off Jira Software (then arrange to stop paying for it)

Best infographic explanation so far. Probably better than Atlassian themselves :)

Like Ian Ang likes this

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