We're excited to share an update to our release process based on feedback from our customers, partners, and developer community. We've heard that for some, keeping up with Atlassian's Server and Data Center product release cadence is a challenge. This is true not only for companies who deploy our products at scale, but also for our Marketplace vendors who build apps that custom fit our Server and Data Center products to the needs of every team.
While it's important for us as Atlassian to maintain speed in our innovation, our Server and Data Center customers also value stability. Our customers rely on us to be transparent about release dates and feature information so that they can make the best upgrade decisions for their own business. In turn, our Marketplace vendors need clear guidance on which releases they should focus their support efforts.
What is changing?
Beginning in 2018, Atlassian will be introducing Enterprise releases for Server and Data Center versions of Jira Software and Confluence. Enterprise releases will help our Server and Data Center customers get the most value from our product releases, while giving them peace of mind when choosing the release version to which to upgrade.
Enterprise releases are not separate from our standard releases. Enterprise releases are simply a designated version for those Server and Data Center customers who prefer to upgrade less frequently, and for whom the process of planning to upgrade their product can take months. This release designation better fits their needs and existing upgrade patterns.
At least one feature release per year will be designated an Enterprise release. This release will receive additional backported bug fixes to ensure Server and Data Center customers can remain on the release for longer if they prefer. The first Enterprise releases will be Jira Software 7.6 and Confluence 6.6.
Enterprise releases will be designated when the corresponding feature release is available. There are multiple criteria that are considered when designating a release as an Enterprise release, such as time since last release, features, overall stability/performance for large deployments, etc. For example, we will designate a release as an Enterprise release when version 7.x.0 is generally available, but the Enterprise release (7.x.3) will be made available shortly thereafter. You will be able to see if a release is an Enterprise release or not in the release notes.
What does this change mean for Marketplace vendors?
Our Marketplace vendors will have more clear direction on which Data Center and Server versions they should focus support efforts for their apps, as Enterprise releases will be suitable for customers who prefer to upgrade less frequently. This will be particularly helpful and important as vendors build apps for Data Center, as part of our previously-announced Data Center app readiness program.
Partner / Customer FAQ
How are Enterprise releases different from other releases?
Enterprise releases are not separate from normal releases. It is just a designation for one release per year that is recommended for those Server and Data Center customers who prefer to upgrade less frequently, and for whom the process of planning to upgrade their product can take months. You can also think of this as "knighting" a release to elevate it to Enterprise release status.
Enterprise releases will also include at least 3 bug fixes within a feature release.
Does an Enterprise release cost anything extra to customers? Will they cost anything more in the future?
Enterprise releases are an included benefit with active Software Maintenance for all Server and Data Center customers. If a Server customer's software maintenance expires, they will have to renew to continue receiving access to technical support, new Enterprise releases, and bug fixes.
There are currently no plans to charge a separate cost for Enterprise releases in the future.
Does this mean that non-Enterprise releases are not recommended by Atlassian?
No: we believe that customers will gain value from each release we make available to customers for our Server and Data Center products. However, we understand that customers often skip some feature release versions and do not follow the practice of upgrading to every single release. When customers consider which release version to which they should upgrade, we are offering the Enterprise release designation as an additional data point to consider, especially if a customer has tended to stay on a single version of an Atlassian product for many months (or even years) in the past.
What if a customer doesn't want to upgrade to the Enterprise release version?
We can strongly recommend that a customer evaluate an Enterprise release and consider upgrading to it, but it is not required.
This release will receive additional backported bug fixes to ensure Server and Data Center customers can remain on the release for longer if they prefer.
Is support for Enterprise releases a requirement for participation in the Data Center app readiness program?
Support for Enterprise releases is not a requirement at this time for participation in the Data Center app readiness program. However, app vendors should prioritize their support efforts on Enterprise releases, since these are the most likely candidates to which customers will upgrade their Server and Data Center products.
How long will Enterprise releases be supported?
Customers will continue to be supported on Enterprise releases according to our EOL policy. We will also make regular bug fix releases available for that feature release for 24 months.
What kind of new documentation can we expect on Enterprise releases?
We will publish a change log from the last Enterprise release. Additionally, we will provide more detailed upgrade documentation for upgrading Data Center from the prior Enterprise release, such as database and schema changes, so enterprise customers can upgrade with more confidence.