Upgrading Jira and Database management

We install Jira using the WAR method and our own Tomcat install. When I upgraded from 4.2 to 5.2.11 I was forced to create a new database. I exported all the data to xml, so it was not a disaster, but I am trying to figure out why we cannot do a fresh install to an existing database? I realize that a newer version might have some variations in the database structures, but that should be a separate install method, something that recognizes an existing database and runs and update script, rather than create the whole thing script. Or, am I missing something. I am planning an upgrade from 5.2.11 to the latest version and would rather deploy my WAR and "update" the database, not rebuild it each time.

Thank you

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A new version being deployed will spot an older database and upgrade it automatically. It doesn't matter if it's a WAR version, the routine is "stop Jira, take backups, create a new Jira install, copy the home directory from old to new, point new Jira at old database, start it, drink tea while the upgrade churns, done"

See https://confluence.atlassian.com/display/JIRA/Upgrading+JIRA

I would agree that the data from the previous version seems to be just fine. I completed a test upgrade and all the issues and administrative setup seems to be OK. (Not through testing yet.) So yes, it used the existing database. I had a LOT of problems doing a WAR upgrade. I am sure the other ways are smoother, but the batch file has some flaws I guess and did not create a properly configured WAR file for Tomcat. I was able to do the surgery and fix it, so I am up and running.

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