Jira Buyer’s Version Comparison Guide: Which Do I Need? | Jira pricing, features and more.

Posted on 08.03.2021
Written by John R. Worsley

This Jira Comparison Guide will explain the cost and features of each Jira product, and provide guidance on choosing the Cloud vs. Data Center versions. With all the available information, it can be hard to compare all the Jira pricing, factors, and what they can do for your business. Our Jira Comparison Guide aims to distill the most important information into one place.

For example, Atlassian has separate pages for the three main products, Jira Work Management, Jira Software, and Jira Service Management. Here, we’ll explain everything in detail (including Jira license cost per user). And then, there are yet again separate pages for the two hosting versions, Cloud and Data Center. Note that Atlassian no longer sells Server Edition, and if you want to stay self-hosted you will be subject to a minimum user tier or 500 on Data Center. Oh, and not all the products and features are available in the Data Center version that your business may need for extra levels of security or work management capabilities. Licensing costs for Jira are likewise scattered.

We’ll put it all together for you in this Jira Comparison Guide, so it’ll be clear which Jira options your business needs.

3 Factors That Tell You Which Version of Jira to Buy

There are the three key factors to consider:

  • Product: Jira Work Management, Jira Software, and/or Jira Service Management
  • Deployment: Cloud or Data Center
    • Note: Jira Work Management does NOT have a Data Center version.
  • Licenses: number and type

Update: Atlassian Announced End of Life for Server Edition Products

On October 16, 2020 Atlassian announced they were sunsetting their Server edition support by February 2024, and would halt the sale and service of their Server licenses by February 2021. This announcement supports the company’s recent moves toward simplifying their self-managed options and doubling down on their Cloud support for Jira Software, Jira Work Management, Jira Service Management, and Confluence. With this announcement, they also announced pricing changes for Cloud and Data Center licenses by February 2021.

What This Means for You

  • All of the information in this Jira Comparison Guide is still accurate, such as Jira cost per user, features and more.
  • We strongly encourage any companies adopting Jira’s suite of high power Agile software tooling to consider Cloud licensing, if possible.
  • If your company is unable to move to the Cloud for compliance reasons, Data Center products are available.
  • We broke down Atlassian’s announcement and offered suggestions and steps forward on our blog.

Jira Work Management, Jira Software, and Jira Service Management

These three products are independent, and can be used individually or partnered together. Atlassian recognized the crossover use of Jira for all business units. Marketing teams to HR functions started using Jira to track work and collaborate. The launch of Jira Work Management reflects the fact that its business project functionality is at the core of what Jira does, and is present in the Software and Service Management versions as well. So, if you want just Jira Software, you can use it without feeling the need to add other products. Here’s an overview of the products:

Jira Work ManagementProject management, change requests, workflow approvalsProjects, lists, calendars, gantt timelines, tasks/issues, workflow, notifications, reports, dashboards
SoftwareSoftware development, product management, bug trackingStories, epics, sprints, releases, versions, boards, roadmaps
Service DeskHelp desks, service centers—anywhere a small team of people handle requests submitted by a larger organizationSelf-service portals, SLAs, approvals, issue queues, knowledge base integration (Confluence), ITIL, Service based workflows, Insight Asset Management

The target uses listed above should give you a general sense of each product’s focus. Keep in mind: Jira is inherently flexible and extensible, not just by virtue of the hundreds of add-ons available in the Atlassian Marketplace. Its well-documented Java API allows anyone to write custom code and even create add-ons.  So even if your use cases don’t clearly match what’s listed, Jira may still meet your needs. We have included some examples below for reference.

The fact that Jira offers a dedicated software version does not mean it’s necessary for software development. In fact, if you’re part of a small team or not following the Agile Development Approach, Jira Software could be more than you or your team needs. The fields utilized in Jira Software are built into both Jira Work Management or Jira Service Management for software development. It would be possible to build more simplistic configurations on those two products.

Jira Service Management Serves ITSM Needs

Jira Service Management stands separate from Jira Work Management and Software, as they have the self-service customer portal. The portal provides a simple external interface to Jira that allows unlicensed users to create requests and check on the status of their requests. Add-ons and customization can expand the actions available through a portal.

Note the key phrase “unlicensed users.” In Jira Service Management, a license is only required to work on an issue. This allows the flexibility to allow for many more people to use Jira than you could otherwise afford.

Business Cases

To illustrate Jira’s flexibility and extensibility, here are two examples of business processes that can be built in Jira:

1) Document Review

Say you’re a complex fabrication company that uses an engineering company to produce drawings and schematics needed to fill orders. Each document has to be reviewed both by you and the customer, and can go through several revision cycles before being approved and sent to production.

With Jira Service Management, you can create an external portal that engineers use to submit documents (including both attachments and metadata), while the customer uses it to review them.  In Jira, your team receives a document request and reviews it, then uses a custom workflow to send the request to the customer for review via the portal. The customer sends the request back with their feedback, you review it again, send it to the engineer to revise.  Eventually, the request is approved, and the workflow automatically routes it to production and the work begins. The engineers and the customer can do all that through the portal.

2) Marketing Collaboration

In this scenario, you have multiple teams working together on a large marketing campaign for the business. This campaign brings together many disciplines from content creation, copywriting, design, and development. Your teams need to collaborate and time their work efficiently to hit a deadline for an impending product launch. To date, you’ve been trying to string this together with tools oriented around those various disciplines and you’re even struggling to align to a product release from the software team.

With Jira Work Management, you can handle the entire process, from logging the work across all the teams to managing related assets for the campaign. You even have visibility across all the timelines and work for each team using Atlassian Advanced Roadmaps capability. And finally the icing on the cake: you can track your campaign and link it to an upcoming release while tracking the live progress with Advanced Roadmaps for the entire release. Now that’s work management across teams.

Bottom line: Jira Software is a perfect fit if you’re doing Agile Software Development with a sizable team or multiple teams.

Is there a special case we didn’t cover? We’d love to learn about it. Contact us and we’ll find a solution that fits your team needs.

Deployment Comparison: Cloud or Data Center

This choice should be familiar with many other software offerings, such as Microsoft SharePoint.

CloudNo installation, maintenance, or upgrades to deal with; no capital cost for hardwareReduced flexibility and customization; no control over which country your data is stored in, or other government security-related factors; for those looking to migrate from the Server version, annual cost is higher in most cases compared to annual maintenance for the same number of Server licenses.Atlassian hosts, sets up, secures, and maintains your products.
Data CenterEasy scalability; high availability; load balancing; improved performance with project archiving; Atlassian-supported disaster recoveryHighest cost for hardware and support resources; not available for Jira Work Management.
Has a 500 user minimum for Jira Software edition.
Data Center products provide the same functionality as the old Server products but have additional capabilities to better serve enterprise organizations.

Here are some practical questions to consider:

  • Will you have the resources to handle your own installation and maintenance?
    • If not, Jira Cloud is best.
  • Will you need full redundancy, high availability, or other enterprise-level architecture features?
    • If so, Jira Data Center is best.*
  • Will you have the resources for custom development?
    • If not, Jira Cloud is best.
  • Do you have government security requirements to meet, e.g. NIST or ITAR?
    • If so, Jira Data Center is best.*
  • Is it easier for your company to pay larger amounts of money annually, or smaller amounts monthly?
    • If monthly, then Jira Cloud is best, as it’s the only option that has a monthly plan.

*Oxalis recommends Data Center licenses only to those companies that have heightened security and compliance needs. Otherwise, we recommend going Atlassian Cloud.

What Are the Differences between Jira Cloud Licenses?

Wondering about Jira license cost? Atlassian sells its Cloud licenses with different tiers depending on your required features: Cloud Free, Cloud Standard, Cloud Premium, and Cloud Enterprise.

Jira Work Management, as a lighter version of the more robust Jira Software, only offers Cloud Free and Cloud Standard licenses. There are few differences between the two, however, the differences essentially separate daily users from casual users. Find out more at Atlassian here.

Jira Work Management Pricing

Jira Work ManagementCloud FreeCloud Standard
User Limit Per SiteUp to 10Up to 10,000
File Storage2GB250GB
SupportCommunity SupportStandard Support during local business hours
Advanced PermissionsNoYes
Global & Multi-project Automation100 rule executions500 rule executions
Admin ControlsIssue-level security, Advanced permissions, Project roles
Security and ComplianceAudit logs, Anonymous access
Price per Month$0$3-5 per User

Cloud Free

Atlassian’s Cloud Free version for Jira Work Management is great for businesses that are interested in checking Jira out as a whole, without committing fully. They offer a great collection of features; in fact, a company could use Cloud Free license for Jira Work Management up until they need more users. At that point, the value should be demonstrated and therefore the cost justified.

The Jira Work Management Cloud Free license does impose restrictions on storage, user count, and administrative tools like audit logs and advanced permissions.

Cloud Standard

The Cloud Standard version of Jira Work Management can be summarized by saying Jira Work Management Professional. The way Atlassian built their feature structure, businesses will need up upgrade to Jira Work Management Cloud Standard once they grow their user base or need more storage (250GB to be exact). Another real benefit is adding customer support, which is available to Jira Work Management Cloud Standard users between 9 am and 5 pm. Support will help with configuration, pulling reports, and configuring/customizing layout.

If you’re finding that Jira Work Management does not have all of the features that your business needs, consider making the leap to Jira Software.

Jira Software Pricing

Jira SoftwareJira Cloud FreeJira Cloud StandardJira Cloud PremiumJira Cloud Enterprise
Number of Sites111Unlimited
Guaranteed Uptime SLANoneNone99.5%99.95%
SupportCommunity SupportStandard Support (during local business hours)24/7 Premium Support24/7 Enterprise Support
AutomationSingle ProjectSingle ProjectGlobal and Multi-ProjectGlobal and Multi-Project
Advanced RoadmapsBasic OnlyBasic OnlyIncludedIncluded
Dependency managementBasicBasicAdvancedAdvanced
Advanced Permissions & Project RolesNot includedIncludedIncludedIncluded
Project archivingNot includedNot includedIncludedIncluded
Admin insights, Sandbox, Release tracksNot includedNot includedNot includedIncluded
Atlassian AccessNot includedNot includedNot includedIncluded
Audit Logs, Anonymous Access, Data ResidencyNot includedIncludedIncludedIncluded
IP AllowlistingNot includedNot includedIncludedIncluded
Price per Month*$0$3.33-7.50 per User*$5.45-14.50 per User*Annual Only
Contact Us for Pricing

*Note: Jira Pricing, scales with the number of users – the more users, the more affordable per-user cost. Contact us for an accurate Jira pricing.

Jira Software Cloud Free

The Cloud Free tier includes most of the dynamic features that sets Atlassian’s flagship products apart from the competition. Users have access to scrum and kanban boards, as well as Agile reporting, Roadmaps, and Automation (which most project management tools charge for).

However, the Cloud Free tier of Jira Software falls short with support, permissions, and storage. The 2GB of included storage can fill up relatively quickly depending on usage. Atlassian does provide a robust Community Support system, but many customization questions require more in-depth conversations and workshopping. If your company needs to separate viewing permissions within the company or with internal vs external users, the higher tier will suit you well.

All in all, the free tier is invaluable for those debating whether to make the Jira Software switch. There are several factors that, with adopted use, will all but require a paid tier.

Cloud Standard

The Jira Software Cloud Standard tier is the next step up for Jira Software or Jira Work Management users ready to unlock the full power of Jira. As an administrator, you have access to a bevy of new features including Advanced Permissions, Project Roles, Audit Logs, and 250GB of storage (rather than 2GB at the Cloud Free tier). Since you can have up to 10,000 users (starting at $7 per user per month for the lowest tiers), this tier can meet the needs of many organizations for years.

Jira Software Cloud Premium

If you’re using Jira Software as your company’s hub, Jira Software Cloud Premium is well worth the cost. With this tier, admins obtain access to insights, sandboxing, release tracking, and unlimited storage – and it has Advanced Roadmaps for Jira included – the robust planning and forecasting Atlassian app that we use extensively at Oxalis.

Cloud Premium is double the price per user of Cloud Standard, but Atlassian makes up for it with all of the aforementioned included features. Not to mention, Atlassian also includes 24/7 priority support for Cloud Premium users.

The bottom line: if Jira Software is your company’s central hub, Cloud Premium will help you save money and time down the road as your processes improve and become more trackable.

Cloud Enterprise

Jira Software Cloud Enterprise is the highest tier available. With unlimited storage, 24/7 enterprise support, Atlassian Access, and unlimited sites included (the other tiers only allow for one site), Cloud Enterprise has you covered.

Companies should only consider Cloud Enterprise if they require those higher-level management and security requirements. Atlassian Access, Atlassian’s enterprise-wide subscription for enhanced security and centralized administration for Atlassian cloud products, brings an extremely high level of security to Jira Software. Features like SAML single sign-on (SSO), User provisioning (SCIM), Active Directory sync, Organization audit log, Organization insights, and Enforced 2FA are bundled into Atlassian Access.

You can add Access to the other tiers if needed, but you’ll have to purchase it separately.

While pricing isn’t readily available for Cloud Enterprise, Oxalis is able to pull a quote for your needs. Contact us and we will get the process started for you.

Jira Service Management Pricing Breakdown

Jira Service ManagementJira Cloud FreeJira Cloud StandardJira Cloud PremiumJira Cloud Enterprise
Agents3Up to 5,000Up to 5,000Up to 5,000
Site Limit111Unlimited
SupportAtlassian CommunityCloud Support Team (Business Hours)Cloud Support Team (24/7 Premium Support)Cloud Support Team (24/7 Enterprise Support)
Uptime SLANoneNone99.5%99.95%
Atlassian AccessNot IncludedNot IncludedNot IncludedIncluded
Insight Asset ManagementNot IncludedNot IncludedIncludedIncluded
AutomationSingle ProjectSingle ProjectGlobal and Multi-ProjectGlobal and Multi-Project
Major Incidents Per Month5100UnlimitedUnlimited
Post Mortems55UnlimitedUnlimited
Email Notifications100 per dayUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Incident CreationManualManualManual, automatic, API, and templateManual, automatic, API, and template
On-call ManagementNot IncludedIncludedIncludedIncluded
Advanced Alert Integrations, Incident Conference Calls, Incident Investigation, Heartbeat MonitoringNot IncludedNot IncludedIncludedIncluded
Service Status Pages, Service DependencyNot IncludedIncludedIncludedIncluded
Service Subscriptions, External Services, Service & Infrastructure Health AnalysisNot IncludedNot IncludedIncludedIncluded
Deployment GatingNot IncludedNot IncludedIncludedIncluded
Asset & Service Configuration ManagementNot IncludedNot IncludedIncludedIncluded
Audit Logs, Data ResidencyNot IncludedIncludedIncludedIncluded
Admin Insights, IP Allowlisting, Sandbox, Release TracksNot IncludedNot IncludedIncludedIncluded
Mobile Application ManagementNot IncludedNot IncludedNot IncludedIncluded
Pricing per Month*$0 per Agent$5.37-$20 per Agent$11.33-45 per AgentAnnual Only
Contact Us for Pricing

*Note: Jira Pricing scales with the number of users – the more users, the more affordable per-user cost. Contact us for an accurate pricing.

Cloud Free

Atlassian provides Jira Service Management Cloud Free so teams can see for themselves what JSM has to offer at a high level. It includes most of the robust features that help users understand how JSM works, especially if they are testing JSM vs. competitors like Zendesk or Freshdesk.

There are, of course, limitations to the free tier. For example, JSM Major Incidents (Incidents that cause significant disruption to everyday business operations) are capped at 5 per month, which can be extremely limiting for anything larger than a small, local business. Postmortems (a process of evaluating incidents after they’ve been resolved), a cornerstone for a successful Agile framework, are also capped at 5 per month.

Cloud Standard

With JSM Cloud Standard, you can get up to 5,000 agents (paying less per user as you scale up) with 250GB of storage, and the Cloud Support Team ready to help you during local business hours. Cloud Standard users are allowed up to 100 major incidents per month (quite the jump from 5), with more auditing and reporting features available.

Cloud Standard is the typical entry point for companies adopting JSM for their ITSM needs. It includes enough to cover the most common needs and run your ITSM operations. If you find yourself needing even more, there’s Cloud Premium.

Cloud Premium

Cloud Premium is for those medium to large businesses that use Jira Service Management for their entire ITSM operation. This is the tier that unlocks unlimited major incidents, postmortem, and storage. Customer support at the Cloud Premium level is also 24/7 premium support.

This tier also includes newer tools like Sandbox, which allows agents to test and control updates before rolling them out across the entire system. As with the other Jira tools, Cloud Premium offers higher levels of admin and reporting tools.

One major feature Cloud Premium gives you is the Incident Command Center, where you command, control, and coordinate incident response, and effectively collaborate through Opsgenie-hosted video bridge and other integrated communication tools. Admins can investigate incidents and monitor the health of their system with these tools, enabling faster incident management and system improvement.

Cloud Enterprise

As with Jira Software, Cloud Enterprise for Jira Service Management includes the highest level of reporting and administration controls, with unlimited storage and 24/7 enterprise support. As with Jira Software Cloud Enterprise, Atlassian Access is included with JSM Cloud Enterprise—leading to extremely high levels of security for those large enterprises that require it.

Jira pricing and Atlassian products prices are based on specific enterprise needs, so if you’re interested contact us and we will work with you to pull the best quote for your needs.

Jira License Types

Jira Work Management and Jira Software are licensed per user, meaning that a user cannot use the system unless a license is purchased and assigned. As mentioned above, Service Management only requires a license for those who need to work issues in Jira, called “agents“.
It’s worth noting that licenses for agents are more expensive than licenses for Work Management and Software users—not surprising since there are fewer of them.

Jira Cloud license types may be paid monthly or annually. Cloud licenses will expire if you fail to renew when required. Data Center licenses are only available annually, but they do offer a 50% discount for academic clients.

Larger customers will want to engage a partner for best pricing and license optimizations.

All three products offer an affordable starter option for small groups (meaning up to 10 users or 3 agents). Beyond that, volume discounts make larger numbers of licenses progressively cheaper.

One practical consideration for Jira Service Management: it includes the business process features in Jira Work Management. If you’re setting up projects in Service Management that do not use the extra features of Service Management, but only the business process features, you still have to pay for agent licenses. As a result, it may be cheaper to get both Work Management and Service Management to save the expensive agent licenses.

Jira pricing sound confusing? Let’s chat and talk through what configuration will work best for your team.

Licensing Cost Overview and Comparison

To translate Jira’s license per user costs into more practical terms, we’ve picked some sample numbers of users to compare costs between products and deployment options.

Monthly Cloud License Comparison

Here are samples of the licensing costs per month for the Cloud version of each product.  

Note: All costs are in US dollars.

# of UsersJira Software Standard
Monthly price
# of AgentsJira Service Management Standard Monthly price
1 to 100
1 to 15$20/agent
* Pricing at these levels is calculated on the exact number of users/agents, rather than using a range.

Annual Cloud License Comparison

Since the Jira Cloud version also offers a discounted annual subscription plan, it’s worth comparing the annualized monthly cost for each product to the corresponding subscription cost. Here is a breakdown of the cost per year for Jira products.

Annual Subscription Cost
# of Users / AgentsJira Software Standard / Annual price
# of Users / AgentsJira Service Management Standard / Annual price
1 to 10
1 to 10$2,000
11 to 15
$1,15011 to 15$3,000
16 to 25
16 to 25$4,500
26 to 50
$3,75026 to 50$8,250
51 to 100$7,50051 to 100$15,750
101 to 200$14,000101 to 200$25,750

This table shows how much businesses can save with the subscription plan. But do the math for the number of licenses you actually need, as there are some beneficial points in the Jira cost per user hierarchy that might not be apparent from the surface. You can find Atlassian’s pricing calculator here: Jira Work Management | Jira Software | Jira Service Management.

Jira Comparison Guide conclusion: Jira cost, Jira features, where to go from here?

In some cases, the information provided above will be enough to determine which Jira product(s) and deployment options are the best fit for you and Jira cost per user. But most companies, especially larger ones, have plenty of business processes that don’t clearly fall into those categories. And the truth is, we all know that reading the marketing materials doesn’t always provide the most accurate reflection of performance. This is where we come in. Oxalis can bridge that information gap, and help you figure out whether Jira products and Jira pricing, can meet your particular needs.

We covered many of the benefits and drawbacks of, and differences between, Jira Work Management, Jira Service Management, and Jira Software over the course of this post. However, if you need more information while deciding if the Jira Suite is right for you, send our team of experts a message—don’t let lack of information make your decision for you. Need special help about Atlassian Jira Subscription? Send us a message.

For more information or help with Jira training, we offer Jira consulting services to help with best practices in configuration, customization, and more. If you still have questions after reading this Jira Comparison Guide, let us know.

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