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Migrate using a lift and shift method

A lift and shift migration focuses on migrating your instance in a single downtime window. To do this, proper planning and data preparation is required ahead of time to ensure your downtime window is efficient and seamless. Learn more about proper planning in the cloud migration guide. A lift and shift migration includes several key actions to help make your migration smoother, some of which include:

  • Review and clean up your data

  • Choose what apps, projects, and spaces to migrate

  • Pre-migrate users and attachments

  • Run test migrations and user-acceptance testing

Step 1: Assess

Migration strategy

In order to set yourself up for migration success and develop a high-level migration strategy, you should start by answering some foundational questions to understand your current Atlassian footprint, your ideal end-state in cloud, and how you’ll get there.

To help you map out what you have today and the changes or optimizations you want to make as you migrate to cloud, try using this blueprint exercise.

Migration tooling and team

You’ll also want to consider how you’ll migrate data to cloud - starting by understanding your migration tooling and team.

For a more detailed breakdown of our migration tooling, see the following pages:

Apps, integrations, and customizations

Take stock of the current apps (also referred to as plugins) that you’ve installed or built on your own. Utilize our app assessment support hub to help determine which apps you'll need in cloud and examine some questions to help guide your assessment.

Identity and user management

To help you manage your users in Cloud, we recommend all customers create an organization and verify their domain(s) for centralized management of all your users across multiple Cloud sites and Atlassian Cloud products. This will also give admins more control with the ability to implement security policies across claimed user accounts. Learn more about user management and migration

Step 2: Plan

Migration method

For most customers, we recommend a lift and shift method as it often helps reduce migration complications and timelines, enabling your organization to take advantage of the benefits of Cloud faster.

Our full strategy recommendation is based on your user count:

Under 10,000 users

Over 10,000 users

Atlassian recommends a lift and shift method.

For all teams with over 1,000 users, we strongly recommend working with a cloud-specialized partner who can help you with your migration. To learn more about finding a migration partner, see Find a Partner for migration.

Please contact us or a cloud-specialized partner as soon as possible to learn about additional migration methods that will best fit your organization's needs.

Lift and shift

While your migration timeline will vary depending on your data size and complexity, you can expect the following average migration lengths:

0-5,000 users

5,000-10,000 users

10,000+ users

4 months

6 months

6+ months

Based on your assessments, you may find that your apps, users, business requirements, or instances make a lift and shift migration unfeasible. If you are unable to migrate in this manner, please contact us or a cloud-specialized partner to determine another method that works best for your organization.

No matter your method, if you’re migrating over 1,000 users, contact us two months before your intended migration date.

Building out your migration plan should be a team effort and should factor in the results from your assessments as well as the tactical steps listed above. Here are some additional considerations for when you are building out your lift and shift migration plan:

  • Descaling data

  • User management setup

  • Cloud adoption

    • The success of your cloud migration hinges on teams actively using the tools you implement to work smarter and faster, which is why we recommend building your organizational change management plan early in your migration. To help, we created the Cloud Adoption Toolkit, a collection of resources that offers practical guidance, templates, and onboarding materials you can use to navigate the people side of change and accelerate value realization from your cloud investment.

Step 3: Prepare

Clean up your instance

The more data you migrate, the longer and more complex your migration is likely to be and could affect Cloud performance later on. We recommend taking the time to clean up your instance before shifting your data to the Cloud. Descaling your data can result in a smoother migration, fewer performance issues, and productivity gains in the Cloud. 

Some things to look out for while cleaning:

  • inactive apps or users

  • old product data such as projects, spaces, customizations, or workflows

  • duplicate data

Learn more about cleaning up your instance and reducing your downtime.

Ensure you are up to date

We are improving our migration tooling and expanding their existing capabilities. As part of this, older versions of our Cloud Migration Assistants are no longer supported. For a smoother and more stable migration experience, upgrade to the latest version of the Cloud Migration Assistants. Learn more about the upgrades

Complete the pre-migration checklists

Review our detailed pre-migration checklists to make sure your data and environment are ready to go.

Step 4: Test

Test migration

Regardless of company size or migration complexity, all customers should run through a test migration before executing a production migration. Many teams will need multiple test migrations to help identify and fix any issues.

Backup your data

We recommend backing up your self-managed instance prior to migrating it. If there is data in your Cloud site already, ensure this is backed up as well. See our documentation for guidance:

Set up the Cloud site

If you haven’t already, now’s the time to sign up for a Cloud site. We recommend signing up for the free Cloud migration trial.

If you’re using a Cloud migration trial, we recommend choosing or upgrading to an Atlassian Cloud Premium or Enterprise plan so you can test your migration in a sandbox environment.

Install cloud apps

As part of testing, you may want to install and test the full functionality and migration of any apps that you plan on using in Cloud. Make sure both you and your stakeholders have tested the Cloud functionality and that it suits your teams' needs. Learn more about migrating your apps

Perform a test migration

Make sure you’ve completed everything in the pre-migration checklists before using our testing guide to walk through your test migration.

You can run as many test migrations as you need. Reset your site to run multiple tests.

You may need to ask users to avoid making changes in-product during the transition. Use site-wide banners in Jira or Confluence to help alert users of your upcoming migration and any instructions or resources they should be aware of.

User-Acceptance Testing

Part of the test migration is conducting user-acceptance testing (UAT) so your end users can replicate common day-to-day tasks, and make sure they work as expected. Through this process, you can uncover any issues that will impact your end users and help your teams prepare to work in Cloud. Learn more about user acceptance testing

After you’ve run your test migration and have an idea of how much time your migration will take, schedule the downtime window for your real migration. If possible, schedule your migration at night, over a weekend, or another time when your team is less likely to need access to your self-managed instance or Cloud site to reduce the risk of disruption and data discrepancies. Factor in some extra time for troubleshooting.

If you’re migrating over 1,000 users, contact us two months before your intended migration date.

Step 5: Migrate

Set user permissions to read-only

To avoid any confusion and help with the switchover, change your Server or Data Center user permissions to prevent users from making changes. This is essentially putting your sites into read-only mode prior to migrating.

  • For Confluence, work through each space and remove all permissions for anything other than read. 

  • For Jira, manually set to read-only by creating a permission scheme that only allows "browse" permission and applying it to all projects.

  • Update your site-wide banners for Jira and Confluence stating that your site is now read-only during the migration.

Your users most likely will no longer need access to your self-managed instance after your migration, but if they do, be sure to remove this setting after your migration is complete. Note: your instances are not linked and any new work done on Server or Data Center instances will not appear in your Cloud instance.

Run the production migration

We highly recommend using our Cloud Migration Assistant Apps, which we have step-by-step documentation for performing your migration with each of them.




Migrate any apps

With the app migration pathways you’ve identified, install and migrate the apps you deemed critical for use in Cloud.

Complete post-migration tasks

Step 6: Launch

Reiterate to your stakeholders that the migration was successful, the reasons the company decided to make this transition, benefits they can expect with the shift to cloud, and any new processes they should follow. Then just follow your adoption plan that you made in the prep phase.

Share our quick start product guides with your team so they understand key user experience changes they can expect with the move to cloud and be can be productive in the new tools right away.

We also recommend sending an email to invite users to your cloud site(s). Be sure to reference the communications plan you built to include key information, such as:

  • New links to bookmark (for example, the link to your new cloud site)

  • Instructions on how users can log in

  • What users will need to reset (for example, avatars, or if you’re not using SSO, users will need to reset passwords)

  • Changes to apps or functionality

  • Onboarding and training resources

  • Support channels

  • Areas to submit feedback

As a secondary option, you can also invite your users from within your cloud site.

Implement Cloud security best-practices

Cloud governance also looks a little different than your typical self-managed security setup. Use our best practices, covering identity providers, security protocols, and familiarizing yourself with Atlassian’s role in keeping your data secure, to create a strong foundation for securing your company’s work.

Follow Cloud updates

As a Cloud admin, you’ll want to stay up to date on what’s coming across our Cloud platform and products. Review our Cloud roadmap to see what we’re working on and checkout Atlassian Cloud Marketplace for more Cloud apps being added all the time.


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