Choose the Atlassian Hosting Option That’s Right for You

November 8, 2019 | by Anjana Ramesh | Posted In Agile, Atlassian, Cloud

Not long ago every enterprise application was on a self-hosted server. There was no cloud or managed hosting options. Even today, many Atlassian application installations start on self-hosted servers. But now with the growing use and popularity of cloud computing for its cost, performance and uptime benefits, you can also choose to harness cloud capabilities for your Atlassian applications. Using Atlassian software as a service through Atlassian’s cloud offerings is not the only way you can utilize cloud computing for your Atlassian applications. There is also the option to deploy Atlassian tools through cloud service providers such as AWS, Google Cloud Platform or Microsoft Azure. While some choose to build and manage the new cloud environment themselves, others partner with a managed service provider (MSP) to help them navigate the complexities. 

There are pros and cons to these three hosting models. You need to consider a number of variables. What are your organization’s unique requirements? Are you a large enterprise with access to enough funding, or a startup that lacks adequate resources? What are your future plans for growth? How about capacity for peak concurrent usage and risks of downtime? How will the decision impact your people and processes? Are you running mission-critical applications with strict compliance requirements? Are you willing to give up control over your software’s deployment? Setting priorities means weighing the relative importance of each of these variables and understanding the trade-offs between these options. In this blog, we outline the key benefits and drawbacks of each hosting method and discuss some of the factors to consider when choosing which one is right for your organization.

On-prem server

Self-hosted servers give you complete control, with the downside of having to completely own upkeep, repairs, and replacement. You get full access to admin functions and integrations with other applications. You can add storage, user licenses, and other capabilities whenever you want. Self-hosted servers may make more sense to organizations with large IT teams who can manage additional servers and are knowledgeable about Atlassian applications.

There are also some downsides to self-hosted servers. Do you want to take on the care and feeding of yet another server? What are the costs to your developer and enterprise teams if the server fails? Physical servers are expensive and they’re depreciating assets. They have ongoing financial and environmental costs. And think about the value of your IT team’s time. Even if you have sufficient staff to manage the server, could your team be better used on other projects?

Atlassian cloud (SaaS)

Atlassian’s cloud offerings make it easy to move your Atlassian applications to the cloud. With Atlassian Cloud, you can let Atlassian manage your system as SaaS (Software as a Service). This is an affordable way to manage Jira, Confluence, Bitbucket, and other Atlassian applications. 

Atlassian Cloud is designed so anyone can set up their applications in the cloud. IT personnel are not required. It’s also an affordable option that provides you the flexibility to only pay for what you use. To reduce costs further you can toggle applications on and off. Atlassian Cloud is also secure, with SSL enforced by default. It’s also reliable with 99.9% SLA with round the clock support from Atlassian.

That said, Atlassian Cloud has its limits. Unlike the open approach of self-hosted servers, your applications are limited to Cloud-only add ons. Similarly, functions performed by a system admin in the downloaded version of an application are restricted in Cloud. Atlassian Cloud does not let you use your own domain name. And each Atlassian Cloud subscription has a disk storage limit. 

Managed cloud hosting

Using Atlassian software as a service through Atlassian’s cloud offerings is not the only way you can leverage the scalability and other benefits of cloud computing. You can also choose to deploy Atlassian applications using infrastructure as a service (IaaS) providers like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.

Increasingly more and more companies are opting for Atlassian hosted services, provided on a bespoke basis with the help of managed cloud hosting providers. Managed hosting is a flexible option that can give you the performance and economic benefits of cloud, but with a responsive expert who can tailor your implementation to meet your specific needs. As a result, you get all the benefits associated with Atlassian Server or Data Center minus the headache associated with on-prem deployments.

Like Atlassian Cloud, there are no upfront data center costs associated with managed hosting. You pay a monthly fee based on the size and features of the deployment and support options. And like self-hosted servers, you can customize your implementation to suit your needs and change it at any time. Tasks like infrastructure upgrades, regular software patching, updates and new product installation can be handled by the managed cloud hosting provider, while your teams can focus on business-critical tasks. If Atlassian is key to your business, then engage with a partner with the expertise and demonstrated capability to implement and manage Atlassian applications on the cloud.

The downside to managed hosting is that you’ll have to unwrap your arms from your on-premise servers. No amount of financial benefit or performance gain will get all server huggers to make the switch. If you need complete control over every aspect of your application server, you may want to stick with your self-managed server.

So, which hosting option is the best for you?

The key question to ask is where does your organization find the greatest value when considering each hosting method. A good place to start is by understanding your unique requirements and priorities, while making sure you balance your current needs with the direction your organization is headed in the future. This will help you discuss the various trade-offs that you need to keep in mind as you explore further.

Note: This is Part 1 of a multi-part series. You can read Part 2 here and Part 3 here.

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