We have been using JIRA for over a year now and are on version 6.1. I've run into a few issues that may be related to issues with 6.1 but am hesitant to upgrade because for the most part things are stable.
When do you upgrade your JIRA installation? How often do you upgrade? Have you had any bad experiences upgrading?
And finally - the main question is there a best-practice on this?
It sounds nice and easy to say "always upgrade to the latest", but for a lot of organisations, that's simply bad advice. Corporates with large installations have to think about impact, security, regulation, user disruption and so-on. People who have a lot of plugins, or their own need to consider which ones will change or need upgrading. You need to asses changes in each version
In short, there's no single answer to your question beyond "when it suits you". We've all had really bad experiences upgrading when things change or stop working. Most of us have had good experiences too, and these are in the majority (they weren't, but the last 2-3 years have seen serious improvements in the upgrade processes) - where an upgrade sails through and you have happy users with little work.
Best practice - keep an eye on the release announcements, read the release notes every time and make the decision about planning the next upgrade based on that. It depends entirely on your installation and how it's used in your orgnaisation.
I would add two words - if you have critical and vulnerable company data and strong security requirements - always look into vulnerabilities list and plan urgent upgrade or patch right after anouncement. In example https://confluence.atlassian.com/display/JIRA/JIRA+Security+Advisory+2014-02-26as you see all versions before 6.1.4 contain strong security vulnerabilities and cannot be marked as reliable and trusted, so if you haven't upgraded or haven't implemented the patch - your data is not secured.
It's advisable to upgrade JIRA in a periodically manner based on the new features and bug fixes provided by the new JIRA version.
Also is always advisable that you test the new JIRA version in a stagin server prior to put it on Production to make sure that this will not affect your production.
Hope this helps!
If you're hesitating you may consider setting up a new JIRA instance on another server, let's say JIRA 6.3.3. Then you can evaluate it with your data:
NOTE: It might be tricky to put projects in one piece after they were tracking separately on 2 different JIRA instances. Having said that, this separate JIRA instance should be used only for demonstration purposes and for making a decision whether to upgrade or not.
Upgrading JIRA using test server is both time and resource consuming. When taking this approach you'll be aware of what are the required steps for the production upgrade. This makes the upgrade process easier and less stresful.
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