performance issues with large number of projects

When JIRA is used more literally as a project management tool (meaning a "Project" is created for every single dev/infrastructure project initiated within a large company vs.creating a Project by application), should there be any concerns with ending up with such a ridiculous amount of Projects that performance could be impacted? Does anyone know the average amount of active Projects most larger companies (3000+ employees) create/manage within JIRA Software? Is there a threshold number that should be considered?

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There are so many factors to weigh in when it comes to JIRA Performance and I think it entirely depends on how you use the software and your hardware specs. If you use it as is (few lightweight plugins, reasonable count of custom fields etc...), the number of projects/issues/users will usually not matter if you have a decent hardware.

One of the biggest JIRA instances I maintain/support has 600,000+ issues, 1,200 Projects with more than 20,000 active users. It's being used everyday 24/7 (globally distributed), integrated with many tools (ALMQC, SVN, custom tools calling the JIRA REST API) and it still runs fairly smooth. The server it is running on has 32 processor cores and 256 gigabytes of RAM. Shared storage for each cluster is over 10 terabytes of tier one SAN.

Take a look at this documentation and see what Atlassian has to say about JIRA Performance (http://blogs.atlassian.com/2015/05/webinar-recap-five-secrets-jira-performance-scale/)

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