Merging JIRA Instances


Posted by
lei PI

May 12, 2016

Merging JIRA instances is never a straightforward procedure. There’s lots of planning that needs to happen before committing to make such an attempt successful. In other words, it’s going to take a lot to keep all your hair intact!

But all is not lost – in this blog I will highlight the key points you need to consider before merging your instances… hopefully this will help make your decision slightly easier.

Size of your JIRA instances

It can be quite easy to forget how big your JIRA instances are – both in terms of user numbers, actual data and configured add-ons. If you’re merging JIRA instances, it’s better to make the more complexly configured JIRA your primary instance (i.e. the instance you’ll be merging into).

The reason for saying this is simple – this is the instance that contains most of your data, users and add-ons, and the last thing you want is to replicate all of this in a smaller JIRA instance. Obviously this can cause a lot of pain!

Users

This point is a follow-up from the previous one. It’s very likely that you have the same users in both instances, and it’s also very likely that these two usernames will be different. So how do you tackle this, making sure that you have all their history intact? Well, it’s not that simple.

Starting with the good news, it’s very likely that the user’s full name will be the same. Therefore you need to extract the users from both instances using database query. You can use the following guide to extract users and their groups.

Once you have a CSV export of all the users in both JIRA instances, you can use the almighty Excel’s VLOOKUP functionality to identify duplicate usernames. Once you have identified any duplicates, you need to change them to match those of the instance you’re merging into – i.e. the bigger one. My previous blog will give you some guidance on changing usernames.

Configuration

This is the most important factor of all, as while you can live with losing users, you cannot live with losing the complex configuration it’s taken you absolutely ages to configure. The key here is to make sure you are merging the JIRA instance with the lowest configuration into the one with lots.

Now, there are add-ons available in the Atlassian Marketplace to help you move the majority of your configuration – but you can’t get away from doing some manual work. This is especially true when it comes to Service Desk configuration. The two add-ons that are fit for this purpose are Project Configurator and Configuration Manager for JIRA.

Add-ons

This is another major factor – especially when it comes to costing. This is because you need to install the add-ons of the JIRA instance you are merging, into the one you’re merging into. If your user limit has increased due to the merge, then your add-on licenses will need to be upgraded to this limit, too.

Steps to merge

Below I will highlight some very high level steps you could take in order to merge two of your JIRA instances into one.

  1. Make sure both your JIRA instances are running on the same version
  2. Install two local JIRA instances (this is where the merge will happen)
  3. Move your backup of both instances into the individual, locally-lnstalled JIRAs, along with their add-ons
  4. Extract users from both instances to identify duplicates from CSV
  5. Change usernames in the smaller, locally-installed JIRA instances using DB queries
  6. Install either Project Configurator or Configuration Manager for JIRA in both locally installed JIRAs
  7. Create a snapshot of the smaller JIRA using those add-ons
  8. Install that snapshot to the bigger, locally-installed JIRA
  9. Install all the add-ons the smaller JIRA was using
  10. Do your testing (of course!)
  11. Once you are happy, take a backup of that merge and restore it to the more complex JIRA

Things to remember before merging JIRA instances

When you are merging JIRA instances, there are a few things to remember related to actual infrastructure. Since merging JIRA instances will mean you have more data and more usage, you’ll need infrastructure that supports the load. Therefore I strongly recommend you refer to the Sizing Guide provided by Atlassian, making sure that the instance you’re merging into supports that. If not, you’ll have to upgrade your hardware, which incurs further cost.

Make sure you plan this carefully – merging JIRA instances requires a lot of down time, so needs to be communicated to all users and requires all hands on deck.

Oh, and remember that at Valiantys we’ve undertaken many of these merges – if you need an expert to help, just let us know!

What else can I say? Good luck!