We are trying on demand JIRA and it is quite slow. Is it because is a trial? Is the hosted on premises version faster?
The cloud version (trial or not) are run on the same virtual hardware, so i doubt they would give a lower spec machine for the trial. When i tested it, it was rather fast but with me as the only user i could not push the deployment to be even slugish. Self hosted environments can be leveraged by super fast FusionIO drives, database clusters and abundance of CPU and memory, allowing you better performance. JIRA (and Confluence) are very "chatty" with java-scripts making post/gets back and forward, so the closer you have the systems (in term of round trip times on the network), the better the performance of the application. It all depends on how fast external connectivity you have. If system response time is crucial for you i warmly recommend a locally hosted JIRA standalone server.
I'd just add that there is no difference between "trial" and "paid" on Cloud - if you do decide to proceed with your trial system, all that changes is the licence details. There's no move or recreate of the system, trial becomes your system. If you find trial too slow on Cloud, then I completely agree with Jonas - look at Server version hosted locally by yourselves, or possibly a third party to host it if you don't want to run it yourself (a lot of Atlassian Partners will host for you)
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