• Confluence Page of the Month – Maxwell Render V3 documentation

    Nowadays, it is a more frequent occurrence to find technical documentation written in Confluence and some of them had done a great job. Then the idea came: “Why don’t we showcase them on our blog? A well done piece of work deserves recognition and other Confluence users can pick up the good practices too.”

    That’s why from this month onwards, we will be starting a Confluence Page of the Month to showcase a Confluence page that we chanced upon and think it is interesting. 

    The page to start the ball rolling is the Maxwell Render V3 Documentation

    Maxwell Render V3 Documentation

    3 reasons we like this page:

    1. By embedding the Vimeo video, the page became much more interesting
    2. The layout looks neat and organized with the RefinedWiki theme
    3. It looks easy to navigate through the content from the left side bar


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  • When do you move JIRA Server to JIRA Data Center

    A frequently asked question by JIRA users or those who are evaluating JIRA.

    It is not uncommon that they may be wondering whether they will need to use JIRA Data Center. Thus, we are sharing our experience with JIRA Data Center in this post which hopefully can help to shed some light on it.

    What is JIRA Data Center

    JIRA Data Center is a deployment option designed for high availability and performance at scale
    when hosting JIRA Server in your own premise.

    This is achieved with a cluster of servers to share the workload from incoming requests through the use of a load balancer. Each node is a complete JIRA instance with its own index.

    JIRA Data Center Reference Architecture

    What are the benefits of using
    JIRA Data Center

    • Performance – Faster performance with load being distributed across the various nodes
    • Increased users – A 2-node JIRA Data Center cluster was able to support two times the no. of
      concurrent users with the same response time compared to a single JIRA Server 
    • High Availability – With active-active clustering, users are guaranteed uninterrupted access in
      event of hardware failure as they will be seamlessly redirected to an active node automatically
    • Instant scalability – Additional nodes can be added in real time
    • Disaster Recovery – Option to have another set of hardware on standby

    When you should start looking
    at JIRA Data Center

    The JIRA Server should be sufficient for most users until you encounter one of the scenarios below:

    • your existing JIRA issue count is hitting a million
    • your are growing at 20,000 JIRA issues per month
    • there is a need for high availability or disaster recovery
    • the CPU usage for your JIRA Server is peaking constantly
    • more and more users have started complaining of slowness

    Before upgrading to JIRA Data

    • Have you allocated more resources such as CPU and RAM to the JIRA Server?
    • Have you explored performance tuning?
    • Have you checked if the slowdown is caused by virus scanning? You can use our Attachment
      Checker for JIRA
      add-on to limit virus scanning to file attachments
    • Have you upgraded to the latest version of Java and JIRA? Do you know JIRA 6.4 is 30% faster
      than JIRA 6.3 on average? Check out 5 Things to Know for Scaling JIRA Performance

    What are the considerations

    • License Cost
      • JIRA Software Data Center is an annual term license. Thus renewal is required to continue using it
      • The pricing is based on user tiers and does not have any limit on the number of servers or CPUs

        Annual Price
        Up to 500 users US$12,000
        501 to 1,000 users US$24,000
        Up to 10,000 users US$24,000 for every 1,000 users
        Next 40,000 users US$24,000 for every 5,000 users
        More than 50,000 users US$450,000
      • There is a discount for upgrading from JIRA Software Server to JIRA Software Data Center
      • If you are only setting up a cold-failover server, you can use a free development license without
        additional cost
    • Compatibility
      • The add-ons must be data center compatible
      • If you are moving from JIRA Cloud to JIRA Data Center, this could be tricky
    • Cloud option
      • You need to have your own hosting infrastructure as there is no Data Center option for hosting with JIRA

    Recommended Strategy

    For those who do not need HA setup, we recommend the following strategy

    1. Start with JIRA Software Server
    2. Do performance tuning to stretch the limit of JIRA Software Server
    3. Conduct benchmarking tests to measure the improvement with JIRA Software Data Center
    4. The no. of nodes to allocate will depend on the no. of concurrent users and the usage pattern. The following chart can be a reference on how increasing the no. of nodes increases the no. of requests handled without affecting the time taken

    JIRA Data Center Performance Test

    Useful resources

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  • How teams uses Atlassian suite to get work done

    This short video gives a good introduction on how teams use various Atlassian products to get work done

    • Confluence – for team content creation and sharing
    • JIRA Software – for team planning and project management
    • JIRA Service Desk – for team services and support applications
    • HipChat – for team messaging and communications
    • Bitbucket – for team code sharing and management

    Each of them work well individually and can integrate seamlessly with a consistent user experience and richer feature set

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  • An infographic on the differences across various JIRA products

    We have been spent a lot of time explaining to customers the differences between JIRA Core, JIRA Software and JIRA ServiceDesk. Think this infographic summarises them well.

    JIRA Product Family Infographic

    For those who wants to check out the screenshots and links, it is available at http://www.akeles.com/what-are-the-differences-between-jira-software-jira-service-desk-and-jira-core/


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  • How to Deploy Changes to JIRA in a Day


    Recently, we completed a project for a bank. Their original idea was to build a system for tracking but they decide to leverage on JIRA since they were already using it. The requirements can be met by adding a few new JIRA projects and customised plugins.

    However, there was a big challenge to quickly deploy changes on an existing JIRA Production system. The changes had to be replicated across 3 separate environments (DEV, QA and PROD). This meant that the users had to wait a longer time to use the new features.  Luckily, we discovered the Configuration Manager Plugin. It is a JIRA add-on that enables automated deployment of configurations across JIRA instances.

    With this plugin, we managed to replicate the configuration in 1 environment within 1 day instead of a week. We managed to shave 8 days of effort for QA and PROD environments. It eliminated human errors which could not have been avoided if we took the traditional method. There were just too many steps to replicate with zero errors.

    We were very impressed and want to share our experience with fellow JIRA users.

    How we did it

    Due to confidentiality, the steps are listed using the screenshots taken from the plugin author’s page.

    1. The initial configuration in DEV had to be done manually. We cheated! Using our in-house Project Creator plugin, we created hundreds of custom fields from a MS Excel file
    2. After the schemes and workflows were set up, we got ready to create a configuration snapshot for export
    3. The Configuration Manager can only be accessed by a JIRA Admin under the admin console
    4. Select the Add Snapshot button (or Create Snapshot for newer version) 
      view snapshot 
    5. We used System Configuration to capture all the configuration so that we can deploy multiple projects at the same time
      Create a system snapshot
    6. After the snapshot was created, we downloaded the xml file by selecting Download from the gear icon on the right side
    7. The file was copied to the UAT environment to be deployed
    8. Similarly, the JIRA Admin had to log into the admin console to access the Configuration Manager page
    9. To play safe, we did an backup of the UAT environment before applying the changes so that in event of error, we can still restore the UAT environment to the previous setup
    10. Click on the Deploy link on the left sub-menu to access the Deploy Configuration Snapshot page
      deploying the snapshot 
    11. Click on the From Snapshot File button to upload the xml configuration file created from DEV
    12. The snapshot will be added to the list of snapshots available for deployment
    13. Click on the Deploy link under the Actions
    14. The list of configuration changes will be listed. The additions are identified by additionwhereas modifications are identified by modificationAnalyzing the changes
    15. We spent more time verifying the changes identified with the modification changes to ensure they do not affect existing configuration. 
    16. When the changes were confirmed, we proceeded with the automated deployment
    17. Once completed, the changes could be viewed in the Audit logs
      Viewing the changes from the audit log

    Interested users might want to consult the plugin documentation page at https://botronsoft.atlassian.net/wiki/display/CMJ/Configuration+Manager+Documentation for details.

    Feedback for Improvement

    We were very glad such a plugin is in existence. However, there are some limitations or possible improvements

    • The configuration stored using ActiveObjects had to be replicated manually. This is because there is no easy way to differentiate the configuration settings from the issue values
    • The selected role for the Issue Alternative Assignee custom field had to be re-configured after it had been added automatically


    We recommend Configuration Manager Plugin to JIRA Administrators who need to implement many changes across multiple JIRA environments frequently. It’s a time-saver! 

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  • 5 Things to Know for Scaling JIRA Performance

    Atlassian’s Five Secrets of JIRA Performance at Scale webinar shared some useful insights on scaling JIRA performance.

    Here is a pictorial summary will be useful for those who missed the video.

    1) JIRA 6.4 is 30% faster than JIRA 6.3

    Response Time - JIRA 6.4 vs JIRA 6.3

    2) Custom fields have the most influence on the speed especially on creating issues

    Custom Fields and Performance

    3) The number of users does not have much impact on the speed

    # of Users on performance

    4) JIRA can support more issues without much degradation in the performance
    # of issues on performance5) Running JIRA on Java 8 is 13% faster than on Java 6


    Java 1.8 vs 1.6 response time

    For details, you can check out the video below or the detailed report at https://confluence.atlassian.com/display/ENTERPRISE/Scaling+JIRA

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  • Getting Git Right 2014

     Getting Git Right
    On 22nd September 2014, Atlassian is in Singapore for the 1st time to host Getting Git Right 2014 . Atlassian is well-known for their developer tools such as JIRAConfluence, etc. The  team spent the afternoon in town to talk about how Git together with Stash can help developers work more productively and deliver products faster.

    Git makes you happy

    Stash is a Git repository management software to enable users to collaborate on their code better. Revision control and source code management is becoming increasingly essential for development teams big or small. It helps developers to collaborate more efficiently, hence the proliferation of Git adoption for developer teams and increasing interest in products like Stash.

    Who uses Git

    The Atlassian team shared their best practices on development workflows such as how to integrate Git into the system and how to use Git for faster releases. The revision control provides users with records of changes made to projects thereby empowering them in tracking and recovery of source code.

    git log

    A lucky attendee walked home with our Intel® NUC mini server with Atlassian Git Essentials (JIRA+JIRA Agile+Bamboo+Stash) pre-installed. Our Git Essentials Mini-Server is targeted towards startups and small teams as it is both energy-saving and space-saving.

    NUC winner

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  • Win free copies of the newly published JIRA 6.x Administration Cookbook

    10 September 2014

    Readers would be pleased to know that we have teamed up with Packt Publishing to organize a giveaway of the new JIRA 6.x Administration Cookbook that we have reviewed recently (See Book Review: JIRA 6.x Administration Cookbook).

    Three lucky winners stand a chance to win a digital copy of this book each.

    JIRA 6.x Administrator Cookbook


    How to Enter?

    All you need to do is head on over to the book page and look through the product description of the book and drop a line via the comments below this post to let us know what interests you the most about this book. It’s that simple.

    The first 3 valid respondents will get an e-copy of the Book.


    The contest will close on till 17th Sep 2014. Winners will be contacted by email, so be sure to use your real email address when you comment!

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  • Book Review: JIRA 6.x Administrator Cookbook

    5 September 2014

    JIRA 6.x Administrator Cookbook

    I was excited to receive an invitation from Packt Publishing to do a book review on JIRA 6.x Administrator Cookbook.

    Being an Atlassian Expert, it can be scary to see such books coming into the market because the tricks of the trade are being wiki-leaked. However, it also means JIRA has matured and is getting increasing adoption.

    I think the tagline for the book “Quick answers to common problems” is quite apt. It contains a lot of recipes to questions that we encounter day-to-day. Some of the answers are similar to what we are doing for ourselves or have done for our customers.

    The book is well structured with clearly illustrated steps and notes to highlight salient points. The e-book also contains coloured screenshots that makes it easier to see the highlighted text.

    Some interesting topics include:

    • How to reset the JIRA administrator password
    • Using Javascript with custom fields
    • Creating custom fields with custom logic
    • How to migrate JIRA to another environment

    There are also chapters covering:

    • JIRA workflows
    • JIRA security
    • JIRA customizations
    • Integration JIRA with other applications

    This book has a lot of practical recipes and is useful for those who want to administer their own JIRA instance.

    For those who are keen to pick up JIRA add-on development, you can also check out the JIRA 5.x Developer Cookbook

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  • Deploying Atlassian tools for the Enterprise

    Over these years, the customer base of Atlassian have evolved from a small companies who hosted their server under someone’s table to large enterprises. Their tools are being used by NASA for space exploration projects and Rakuten for development of the Japan’s biggest online marketplace.

    Many customers have been demanding for improvements for robustness such as clustering, high availability and higher levels of support. So if you are deploying Atlassian products, you might be interested to know their new offerings:

    JIRA/Confluence Data Center

    • Designed for high availability and performance at scale
    • Provides active-active clustering to ensure users have uninterrupted access
    • Increases concurrent usage capacity without sacrificing performance
    • New nodes can be added without taking the system offline
    • Data Center is available at US$24,000 per year for every 1,000 users
    • Together withthe introduction of the Data Center, there are 3 flavours available for different types of users
      • Server (previously known as Download)
      • Cloud (previously known as OnDemand)
      • Data Center (new license)

    Different flavours of deployment

    For differences between Server and Cloud editions, check out our Infographic- Atlassian OnDemand vs In-Premise.

    Technical Account Management Programme

    • Provides 1:1 guidance to help with operational activities, governance and strategic planning to get the most from your Atlassian investment
    • A Technical Account Manager (TAM) from Atlassian will be assigned
    • Available 1 day per week for US$60,000/year

    Premier Support

    • Provide access to a dedicated team of senior support engineers with enhanced SLAs and availability
    • Has intimate knowledge of your environment to quickly address and manage critical incidents
    • Premier support is available for US$35,000/year

    For on-site support in Singapore, we have specialised local support plans as well.

    For those who are keen on JIRA Data Center, there are some other useful resources:


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