An Interview with Atlassian’s Harsh Jawharkar

So, I watch a lot of YouTube. No joke, it has almost entirely replaced traditional media as the primary source of entertainment in my household. Why do I mention this seemingly random fact? Because occasionally, you will see a creator get some fantastic opportunity and thank their viewers for giving them enough visibility to get it. And well, it appears today is my chance to do that myself.

After I published the “So Long, Server” post, Atlassian reached out to me, thanking me for my article and asking how they could help out. At the same time, I was still getting many questions from you, my dear readers. So, why not ask for an interview and forward your questions? That’s exactly what I asked for, and I’m happy Atlassian accepted! Today I’m fortunate to meet and interview Harsh Jawharkar from Atlassian’s Enterprise and Platform marketing team, who was gracious enough to answer questions I gathered from everyone on social media! So, let’s get into it:

[TJG] Thank you for agreeing to answer my questions. I have, of course, given my thoughts around why Atlassian would choose to sunset their Server products now, but that will always be speculative at best. Can you explain directly to the readers why Atlassian is making this move, and why now was the time to do so?

[HJ] We are making this move in response to changing customer demands since the vast majority of our customers are choosing cloud offerings to power their organizations. 

Because of this, we started designing for a cloud-first future years ago, so we could deliver on the promise that we will run our software better than anyone else. As we assessed our progress towards that vision and as customers demanded more from our cloud products, we realized we needed to sharpen our focus. Dividing our resources between server, Data Center, and Cloud hindered our ability to innovate faster. By simplifying our on-premises offerings and focusing our resources, we can deliver more innovation faster.

To the point of why now – change often feels difficult, and there’s rarely a perfect time for it. At Atlassian, we pride ourselves on making hard decisions that can be painful in the short-term when we are confident that it will lead to long-term, sustainable success for our customers. By making this decision now and communicating openly while offering three years of support, we are giving our customers time and clarity so they can continue to plan for their long-term success. 

[TJG] Some people are worried that Atlassian wishes to become a Cloud-Only company. Therefore, these customers are reluctant to build on Data Center for fear it will eventually have an End-of-Life. What can you say to these people to calm their fears?

[HJ] We are committed to investing in Data Center for the long term, and we hope that the velocity with which we are shipping new features and functionality to Data Center – and the fact that we are launching a brand new Data Center product, Bamboo Data Center – reassures you of this commitment. Atlassian will continue to offer and invest significantly in Data Center because we understand that it is a critical offering for many of our customers with strict business requirements or regulations. We intend to deliver a world-class experience for all of our customers regardless of how they deploy our products.

Over the past year, we’ve significantly invested in our Data Center offerings, ramping up the delivery of new enterprise-grade features like support for CDN, rate limiting, advanced auditing, and more. We also recently announced that we’re including some of our most powerful Atlassian apps and new features with our Data Center subscriptions to help you meet your need for better collaboration and increased insights.

  • Jira Software Data Center: Advanced Roadmaps (formerly Portfolio for Jira)
  • Confluence Data Center: Team Calendars for Confluence, Analytics for Confluence
  • Jira Service Desk Data Center: Insight – Asset Management, Insight Discovery

To learn more about what’s available in Data Center or what’s coming in the future, customers can also check out our Data Center roadmap: https://www.atlassian.com/roadmap/data-center 

[TJG] Apps have been in contention on Cloud since its inception. What steps is Atlassian taking to allow things like Custom App Development and deployment without involving a third-party hosting service?

[HJ] Our new cloud development platform, Forge, which is currently in beta and on track to being publicly available soon, was designed to address just this. Forge empowers developers to easily build and run enterprise-ready cloud apps that integrate with Atlassian products, leveraging the investments we’ve made to our cloud platform.

With Forge, developers can host their apps on Atlassian cloud infrastructure, which minimizes the time, cost, and effort spent on managing infrastructure, increases admin transparency and mitigates concerns about mishandling sensitive user data. Developers can build and customize new apps quickly with the Forge UI kit, a declarative language for defining user experiences. Forge also offers built-in compliance and Custom UI, giving developers complete control over the framework used while ensuring a high level of trust for scripts running in the app. 

Forge also comes with an intuitive command-line interface (CLI) tool, which offers a centralized place for app management and provides automatically provisioned environments to build, test, and deploy apps. When you use Forge, you also have the option to use continuous delivery powered by Bitbucket Pipelines and Functions-as-a-Service (FaaS) to write single functions, which means less time spent writing code and a lower barrier-to-entry for anyone wanting to write apps and integrations for Atlassian products.

[TJG] There is a lot of invaluable information on Server Products both in the Atlassian Knowledge Base and the Atlassian Community. However, some of this information applies to Data Center as well. What is Atlassian’s plan for these treasure troves of knowledge and help?

[HJ] We intend to keep and continuously improve resources available in the Atlassian Knowledge Base and Atlassian Community to help our customers get the most out of our products. Any server-specific resources in the Atlassian Knowledge Base and Atlassian Community will remain available at least for the next three years. Our Support Team regularly reviews this material in an effort to keep them up-to-date, which means you can expect us to be updating documentation to match our product offerings. For example, we will make updates to make it clear to customers when a post is applicable to both Server and Data Center. Given the volume of existing content, it will take us time to get the documentation up-to-date. We hope our customers continue to rely on the Atlassian Knowledge Base and Atlassian Community as a treasure trove of knowledge and help for all of our products. 

We are also updating our Atlassian University resources and training modules to ensure that any materials originally created for our server products that are applicable to Data Center are kept up to date.

[TJG] Many small companies are caught in a tough place by this announcement. Due to regulations, they cannot move to Cloud, but their size makes Data Center fiscally untenable. What is being done between now and February 2024 to add the security and certifications necessary to allow these customers to move to the Cloud without running afoul of regulations.

[HJ] First, to clarify, our cloud products have obtained industry-accepted certifications and comply with current industry standards and regulations, so you can feel confident that your company and customer data remain secure and compliant. We run our security program in compliance with a range of well-known industry standards. We appreciate that these attestations matter, as they provide independent assurance to our customers that we are on the right track. SOC2, ISO27001, ISO27018, PCI DSS, and CSA STAR are standards that we certify against at the moment. Atlassian has also completed a comprehensive GDPR compliance program, and we offer a Data Processing Addendum for customers. More details about these programs are available on our Compliance page.

Trello is our first cloud product to have received FedRAMP certification, and Jira Software Cloud and Confluence Cloud are currently under evaluation. We’re also working on Healthcare (HIPAA) and Financial Services Industry (BaFin, APRA, US) compliance for Jira Software, Jira Service Management, and Confluence Cloud. Our cloud platform and services roadmap also highlights a snapshot of the capabilities we feature today, along with a glimpse of what’s to come between now and February 2024. 

[TJG] For these same customers, is there a plan to allow smaller Data Centers to accommodate these people if they cannot move to Cloud.

[HJ] We realize this is a big shift, and we’re continuously gathering feedback from our customers. You can see here some of the ways we’re already responding to this feedback, and we will continue to communicate openly with our customers. One option for smaller server customers who cannot move to Cloud is to deploy Data Center products in a non-clustered environment, so they can keep their existing infrastructure and simply change their license key. When it comes to other ways we can facilitate a smooth transition for smaller customers moving to Data Center, we’re in active listening mode and want to make sure we make well-informed decisions that work for all our customers in the long run.

[TJG] Small teams who are moving from a smaller Server Tier under maintenance to a minimum 500 user Data Center Tier will have a dramatic increase in price – even with the incentives in place.  Has any thought been given to supporting these teams with a smaller Data Center Tier?  If so, what would that look like?

At this time the entry point for Data Center is the 500 user license and we have no plans to add lower tiers. However, we will continue to capture input from our customers and partners in this area to make sure we have offerings that meet your needs.

[TJG] Debugging on Atlassian cloud can be… challenging. We don’t have good access to the database or logs that many of us use for investigating problems. Has there been any thought given on how you can safely open up access to help the Admins of these instances?

[HJ] Atlassian’s cloud products are architected specifically for cloud infrastructure, so they’re not simply the server code ported to Cloud. We’ve evolved the architecture substantially to run our cloud products as modern multi-tenant SaaS services, so we can bring the real benefits of Cloud to our customers. So in terms of access to the database and logs, other enterprise SaaS products are a much better point of reference than our server or Data Center deployment options.

There are three main cases where admins rely on logs and database access for debugging today: performance and uptime, security and traceability, and change management. First, performance and uptime: when customers choose Atlassian’s Cloud, they’re entrusting us to run the software as their service provider. It’s our obligation to deliver consistently fast and reliable service without putting a burden on admins. One key benefit of Cloud is we can invest in architecture improvements, monitoring, and redundancies at a far greater scale than any one customer. We’ve been able to increase the user limits on our cloud products fivefold in the last two years without compromising performance, and we have an aggressive roadmap for continued improvements. We also back up our reliability commitments with financially-backed SLAs in the Premium and Enterprise plans, but all customers receive the benefits of our reliability work, regardless of plan. 

Next, security and traceability: server and Data Center customers rely on a combination of raw application logs and network activity to investigate user behavior. While it’s not feasible to provide customers direct access to this type of log in Cloud, we’ve made substantial progress improving the audit logging features of Atlassian Access to complement the existing audit logs in Jira and Confluence. The organization audit log now covers activities like user logins, changes to product access, and group membership changes across all products in an organization. We know that our most demanding customers need full traceability of all user actions. This is on our roadmap, and we’re targeting an initial release later next year.

Last, change management: the best way we can help admins avoid debugging is to help them manage change in the first place. To that end, we’ve recently rolled out two major new investments to our Premium and Enterprise customers: sandboxes and release tracks. Sandboxes are a direct replacement for developer license keys in server and Data Center. For each production instance, you get a fully-enabled second cloud instance to test config changes, explore new features, or evaluate Marketplace apps. Release tracks allows customers to opt-in to receive updates from Atlassian on slower, fixed intervals for additional predictability into what exact changes are coming to your instance and when.

[TJG] Followup: Self Learning is an important skill for every Jira Admin to have.  The fact is, we have a drought of people who are skilled in the installation or upgrading Jira.  To combat this, I’ve often recommended users get a the 10 user “Starter” Tier to experiment with setting up and upgrading Jira, and have even provided guides.

However, this tier is going away, even though the need is now arguably greater than ever.  Is there any sort of plan to adopt a “Starter” tier for Data Center or other non-cloud sandbox for people to learn how to setup, install,  run, and upgrade Jira Data Center?

We offer a 30 day trials for Data Center versions of our products (and these trials can be requested to be extended). In addition, we have many Atlassian University courses specifically designed to train admins and users on setting up and installing Data Center products, including Jira (https://training.atlassian.com/jira-catalog).
Finally, we are continuing to build out our already extensive documentation library for admins.

So, what do you think?

Unfortunately, that is all we have time for this week. I just wanted to take a moment and thank you, the readers. I’ve mentioned this before, but my expectations for this Blog were not high when I started posting regularly. The fact that so many of you continue to visit, read, and share my content still blows my mind. And now I am getting opportunities like this – well, it’s more than I ever dared hope. So, indeed, thank you for your support. All this would not be possible without you.

So a bit of community news, Coyote Creek has gone ahead and posted the second piece from the Blog, “How to Choose between Atlassian Cloud and Data Center.” If you are fast, you can still catch their webinar on the Changes to Atlassian Server and Data Center, which will take place just one hour after publishing this post. I hope to see everyone there!

https://coyotecrk.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/featured-image_Server-EOL_webinar_graphic.png

Remember, if you enjoyed this post, you can always subscribe with the form below to get the new posts delivered directly to your inbox. You can also find me on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn, where I share the latest news and posts, and occasionally ask for help on future posts from you, the readers. But until next time, my name is Rodney, asking, “Have you updated your Jira issues today?”

Blog update 11/4/2020

Hey Readers,

As much as I hate to do this, I’m going to take a bit of a break, which means there will be no regular blog post today. 

I’m doing this for several reasons. First, as much as I try not to show it online, Atlassian’s announcement has been as stressful for me as it has no doubt been for you. I still stand by my opinion that it’s not as “doom and gloom” as some people believe, but time will bear that out. Either way, I’m feeling it too.

Second, it has been a crazy week. Remarkably, in the past week I’ve seen tropical storms, holidays, exams, achievements, and the election here in the U.S. At this point, I just need some extra time to process it all.

However, I was still prepared to write despite all that. The final straw came with my setup and experiments for my next article. Whenever I write a technical guide, I always set it up first to test and record the method. I’m fortunate that until now, this has always worked out. However, this week I got to the point where I realized I’d have to completely start over the setup, which would have left me no time to actually write my post. And I’m not going to release a half-baked filler just to keep things going.

So, here we are. I’ll be back next week with a recap and reaction to the Team Tour keynote address – which will be a similar format to the Summit Keynotes I did back in April. I also have a few surprises that I am working on for after the recap post. I can’t reveal too much yet, but I hope to have some solid answers for you soon. #ThingsAreInMotion.

I hope everyone is also taking the time to take care of themselves too. I’ll see you all next week. Until then, this is Rodney, asking, “Have you updated your Jira issues today?”

Answering your comments!

Just going to say this – I totally stole this idea for a post from Ravi Sagar

Honestly, if you are not following Ravi, you should be. I find it hard sometimes to come up with a topic each week, and this man comes up with one per day! He is knowledgable about the subject matter he covers and is always willing to help people further in his comments section. As I’m stealing this post idea from him, it’s only fair I give him a shout out.

Today we are going to look through some of the various comments, direct messages, and emails I’ve gotten over the past year. I answer each one personally still, but I thought it would make a fun post to share with you all. So, without any delay, let’s jump into this.

Counting Issues

“Thanks for these tips! Is there a way to use JQL to return a count of linked issues?” – Jen

So, without Apps, there’s not a great way to just get a number on a dashboard. You can get it with a two dimensional gadget and finding the “Total” line.

However, if we look at the question, they are asking for just a JQL to return a count. They don’t mention dashboards at all in their question. Considering that, we can definitely say that JQL will not return that directly, but you can still gather that information from the query screen. If we look at the places marked in red below, we can see the total number of issues returned in both the Detail view and the List view.

Sprints in Queries

“Can you help me with creating a query for all issues from a certain sprint onward? Right now I have to update the query for every new sprint.
project = AND Sprint in (488, 498, 482, 491, 502)
Any ideas? Thanks in advance.” – Tiffany

How you set up this query varies depending on which set of sprints you are looking for in relation to the current sprint. Tiffany isn’t completely clear on this point, so we’ll have to generate several answers to cover the range of possibilities.

Let us say they want the current sprint and all future sprints. Essentially, we are only excluding past sprints so that we can format our JQL as below.

sprint not in closedSprints()

We can, of course, add any additional conditions we want on there to refine the query further.

Let’s say that Tiffany instead wanted a query that only returned issues in future sprints. This request gives us an even easier JQL string.

sprint in futureSprints();

However, there is one more possibility here. It could be the fact that Tiffany is not looking for issues in the current or next sprint, but every sprint after that. To the best of my knowledge (and the docs), this isn’t currently possible in JQL. It would be a nice feature, as I can see something like this being useful. But as of right now, it’s not possible with Jira out of the box.

Formatting a response.

“Thank you for awesome content. My management is weird and they want a very detailed report on daily basis.
This is how they want the report
Row1 Story – – title, status
-> Row2 Subtask1 of row1 – – title, status
-> Row3 Subtask2 of row1
Row4 Story2
->Row5 subtaks of story2
And so on.. Problem is I tried using parent id but its not helping as they are not close.
Could you please help me?” – Priyesh

This one wasn’t easy to figure out. To my knowledge, there isn’t a great way to get your JQL return in a specific format like this. Sure, you can set your columns and sort, but showing this relationship from a JQL response is not currently possible.

So, as is usually the case when we are looking at something Jira can’t do, we turn to the Atlassian Marketplace. There I found Big Gantt. Long-time readers may remember that I don’t care for this app. It’s not because there is anything wrong with it – it works perfectly well. It’s more a combination of UI and how many fields it creates on the system that gives me pause. However, for this use case, it works perfectly well.

To get this to work, I had to set up a new “Program.” After loading it up, I had to go to Box Administration (the “gear”), then Tasks -> Task Structure. Here I enabled both Epic and Sub-tasks.

After this, I click “Scope definition” and made sure it included one of my test projects under the “Automatic Rules” dropdown.

When I go back to the Gantt section, I see my issues in the format Priyesh wanted them in. They can now capture it in a screenshot, or export it as needed.

Where can I learn more about Jira?

So, I have gotten several questions on this. It’s usually along the lines of “How do I learn more about Jira?”

To answer this, I still say one of the best ways to learn is hands-on. Roll up your sleeves, get in there, and get messy. This fact is also a reason I highly recommend you get a test instance or a personal instance. As I’ve often said, you can get a starter license for Jira Server for only $10. Considering the benefits to your future, it’s an easy buy.

When I started, I had to google everything. Doing that, I found great resources like Atlassian Documentation. Honestly, it’s nice to have a product so thoroughly documented.

But if you are interested, there are experts out there who are willing to put out material to help you. One such is Rachel Wright, author of the Jira Strategy Admin Workbook. And you’re in luck! Rachel recently announced that she has courses on LinkedIn on Jira Administration. Definitely a great place to start if you don’t know anything.

Of course, I’d like to consider this site another such resource to help you learn Jira. I’m always willing to take on additional reader-requested topics if they a) interest me and b) something I feel I can do justice. So feel free to send me any requests you may have!

Converting Apps to Data Center

“I just wanted some insights from you if it’s okay. We have few plugins that are written for server and now we are moving for data center.I’m sure there has to be refactoring and the atlassian documentation has best practices listed. However I found them generic and high level.” – Anupam

So…this one. I’m going to be real honest with you, readers. I’m not a very talented programmer. I’m passable, but I’m honestly embarrassed to show my code sometimes.

All that is to say, I don’t have a clue where to start on migrating Jira Apps to Data Center, either. However, this is where I remind you that the Atlassian partners are there to help you. There is a number who can help you with such a migration. So reach out to them and start talking!

Help with the ACP

This topic is another one that I get asked about often.

Let me be clear: I don’t have “dumps” of questions – or any questions outside the sample set available from the Atlassian University. Any such cheating would likely risk my ACP status, and that is not something I consider worth the risk.

With that out of the way, I stand by my original article on the topic. Atlassian provides a list of exam topics. Just to though and google each item! When you find a useful document for what you are trying to study, make sure you have someplace to put that link so you can refer to it again. Make sure you fully understand each point, and you’ll be fine.

The next tip I’ll give is brush up on your test-taking skills. I was lucky enough to read a book on the subject as I was preparing for my college entrance exam, and it has helped me ever since. And I still use those strategies to this day to help – especially on the ACP. Relax while taking the exam. Eliminate wrong answers, so if you have to guess on a question, you maximize your probability of getting the right answer. Go through and answer all the easy questions first, marking the more difficult ones, then return and take on the challenging problems. They ultimately will help you get closer to your goal.

The last thing I want to reiterate is the ACP is supposed to be a tough exam. The recommendation I got when I first started my ACP Journey is that you shouldn’t even consider the ACP Certification unless you have been working on Atlassian tools every day for at least two years. Not a part of your responsibilities – but your entire job. And having taken a number of them, I can say I agree whole-heartedly. However, they are not impossible. Atlassian has done a lot of work to get the difficulty exactly where they want it. And believe me, it’s always worth it when you see you passed the exam and rose to their challenge.

And that’s it for this week!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post. It’s an experiment, and I hope it’s helped you learn something new. As always, let me know what you think with a comment on social media! Don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to get the latest news and updates from the blog. You can also subscribe below to get updates directly to your mailbox! But until next time, my name is Rodney, asking, “Have you updated your Jira issues today?”

What happens when you are busy making other plans…

So this week has been an interesting one. Today’s post will be short. I know I promised you an article this week based on how you guys voted in last week’s poll, but you see…

Something came up.

After I got done with last week’s article, I went to have some testing done to find the root cause to some health problems I’ve been having. And well, we found the problem. It was bad enough that the doctor had me go to the ER.

What she found was a very large amount of fluid around my heart. As a result, I’ve unfortunately spent six days in the hospital. Because of where this fluid was, they couldn’t remove it the normal way, so I had to have surgery last Thursday, where they removed 600ml from around my heart! I don’t recommend that as recreational activity. So not fun…

It’s been almost a week now since the surgery, and I am recovering nicely. I cannot describe what it’s like to have that much fluid removed at once, but it was a definite difference I can feel. I’ve had a busy week trying to build back my strength and recover.

Which means, as much as I don’t want to disappoint you guys, I do need to be honest with you and say that I wasn’t able do a full article this week. I’m really am sorry – I was looking forward to this article too. But priorities are priorities.

I have opted to keep the poll open for another week though, so if you didn’t vote last week, you still have a chance!

However, some other news this week.

Look, at the point I was in the hospital, I had pretty much ruled out Summit this year. No way my doctors would let me travel so soon.

But that’s okay. Due to concerns about COVID-19, Atlassian has decided to cancel the in-person Summit this year and take it virtual instead.

While I had some surprises planned if I could attend, I cannot fault Atlassian for it’s overabundance of caution. To sign up for the now free virtual event, follow the link below.

So, this week appears to be the week of the unexpected. I do apologize for not having this week’s article ready, but one of my resolutions was to take care of myself, so here we are. Until next time, this is Rodney, asking “Have you updated your Jira Issues today?”

Coyote Creek Webinar: Is Your Organization Atlassian Cloud Ready?

Readers,

As you know, I don’t normally like to post mid-week. I also try to keep the blog and my work-life separate (no small feat considering they are both based around supporting Atlassian systems). However, I thought you might be interested in this.

I have been asked to host the Q&A Section of a webinar my company is giving Wednesday. The topic is going to be “Is Your Organization Atlassian Cloud Ready?” If this sounds like something you’d be interested in please follow the link here to sign up.

I’ll have a post ready for you at our normal time this Wednesday, with the webinar following shortly afterwards! Until then, I’m Rodney, asking “Have you updated your JIRA issues today?”