Atlassian pulls the plug on server licences, drags customers to the cloud

Pricey Data Center editions remain but customers complain that 'this is insane'


Atlassian is ending server licence sales and requiring customers to migrate either to its cloud services or to expensive Data Center editions.

The Aussie biz makes software development and collaboration tools including Jira, for issue and project tracking, Confluence for document collaboration, Bitbucket for source code management and Bamboo for continuous integration and deployment.

In a post at the end of last week, co-CEO Scott Farquhar informed customers that from February 2, 2021, it is ending new server licence sales, and that from February 2, 2024 it is ending support and bug fixes for server products - the idea being that users should migrate to its cloud services.

The bad news for cloud hold-outs does not end there, with price rises for existing users who purchased before October 2019. Atlassian is retaining its on-premises enterprise software, called Data Center editions, but at higher prices, though adding priority support in most cases. The company described this as “sharpening our focus as a cloud-first company,” and Farquhar claimed that “more than 90 per cent of you start with Atlassian cloud products”.

This also means the end of the $10.00 licences for self-hosted editions for small numbers of users, available for example for Jira, Confluence, Bitbucket and Bamboo for up to 10 users. These will not be available after February 2 next year. Note though that the company still has “always free” cloud plans for up to 10 users.

One of the issues for users is that the cloud versions are not identical to the server versions. For Confluence, for example, “the cloud version has so many limits in structuring,” said one user, “especially when it comes to things like using with add-ons like Viewport to create a helpsite.” Data Center remains an option but prices start at $27,000 for up to 500 users.

Another user complained that “Confluence is my notebook. I'm a freelance security researcher and submit security vulnerabilities to my customers … it is definitely impossible to move those data to some random server not controlled by myself.”

“We are currently evaluating Bitbucket and Jira because of the on premise[s] option and we are not allowed to store anything in the cloud,” said another user.

Others are anxious about issues of data protection under the EU's Gerneral Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) following the end of transAtlantic workaround Privacy Shield, saying “as an EU company we are not allowed to process personal data in the US.”

Cost is also an issue. “Migrating our 15,000 Confluence users to data center would cost $154.000 now and $250.000 after 2.2.2021 - this is insane!” said an existing server customer, who also expressed doubt whether even the Data Center editions would continue indefinitely.

The trade-off for Atlassian is that ending its line of server products will give it more resources to devote to cloud and drive more customers to the continuing income of subscriptions – a strategy that has worked well for companies like Adobe, and it may figure that upsetting a few customers along the way is worth it. ®


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