Acquisitions and the Atlassian Cloud

Objective

A client in the governance software industry that frequently acquires other companies came to us with a request to consolidate multiple Atlassian cloud instances, migrate their on-prem Jira Software and Confluence instances, and migrate them from their legacy test management system into Jira Software. Doing this would provide the following benefits:

Having multiple cloud instances, mixed with on-prem instances was causing disconnect and communication issues. By consolidating all of the instances into a single source of truth, the client would benefit from streamlined communications and tasks.

By consolidating the four cloud instances and the single on-prem instance, the client would instantly recognize cost-savings.

Atlassian cloud licenses function per instance so the client was paying for multiple licenses for the same products. The client was also paying for on-prem licenses which made it difficult track and address when at renewal time.

The client was also paying for licenses across the instances, which was bad as many of the apps were duplicates and thus, the client was paying for the same app multiple times.

While the client was already in the cloud, they didn’t want to worry about having to upgrade their on-prem instances and the apps that were installed.

While nothing was wrong with the existing test system itself, it was problematic to try and keep track of testing activities outside of Jira Software and there was no integration between the systems. 

By migrating the test management system into Jira Software, the client would be integrated with Jira Software, working from a central system thus avoiding manually updating tickets in each system, and eliminate the cost associated with the legacy system.

With multiple instances, teams could not integrate their data, tasks and communications when they needed to work with the other teams that had been recently acquired. This led to a lot manual labor, duplicate efforts and ultimately tasks not being completed because they were lost.

The RenWare Way

When the client contacted us, we introduced our unique approach to resolving their business requirements. This engagement consisted of the following phases:

The work in this phase consisted of the following steps:

Assessment: Our experts reviewed each cloud instance and identified one instance to act as the baseline. We also reviewed each instances unique configurations for workflows, schemes, etc. Finally, we mapped the tasks to the client’s requirements.

Plan: A strategic roadmap was created to show the client how the activities for this phase would be tackled and scheduled. We also had to plan for migrating over 300 spaces because when customers have a Jira Software and Confluence instance in the cloud, you cannot migrate the entire Confluence instance–you have to export and import each space one at a time.

Prep: To avoid disrupting the client, we took backups of each instance and downloaded them into our lab in preparation for the consolidation process. This was common practice as there was no Atlassian solution available at the time for cloud-to-cloud consolidations/migrations.

Test: In our own lab, we used multiple Windows PCs with the latest Jira Software and Confluence versions installed. On the primary PC, we installed the baseline backups for both Jira Software and Confluence. On the other PCs, we installed the other backups and massaged the data and configurations so that they could be migrated to the baseline instance smoothly. This was done over the course of several test cycles as we also had to identify and resolve issues that each instance presented before it would successfully merge into the baseline instance. Once the consolidation was completed on the Server platform, we uploaded the final bundle into the newly created test cloud instance and allowed the client’s resources to test that their unique instances were merged successfully and there was not loss of data, attachments or historical information. Attachments, logos, and avatars for each instance were bundles and uploaded one at a time–separate from the data and configuration information.

Upon final approval, we scheduled the production run which started on a Friday evening after the close of business.

Migrate/Consolidate: For the production run, we created and downloaded the latest backups for each instance. We then used the runbook that was generated during the testing phase. Documenting our steps allowed us to quickly complete the consolidation steps to create the main bundle that would be uploaded to the cloud instance. We then uploaded each individual instance bundle that contained the attachments, logos, and avatars.

Speed was important as the client is international and thus, some of its employees began work on Sunday instead of Monday like a US-based company.

Launch: We were able to meet the client’s requirement of having the new, consolidated instance ready by Sunday morning and their international offices were able to successfully login and continue their work with no data or permission loss.

Support: The RenWare team made itself available for one week following the successful rollout of the new consolidated instance. However, because of our thorough testing and detailed documentation of the steps, the client experienced no issues.

The work in this phase consisted of the following steps:

Assessment: The team assessed the on-prem instances and performed a thorough evaluation of the Jira Software and Confluence instances. We also investigated the versions of the on-prem instances to validate whether the instances required any upgrades prior to migrating it to the cloud.

Plan: A strategic roadmap was created to map the requirements of this phase to the activities that would be involved. Atlassian had also created migration tools that would assist with the migration from the Server platform to the Cloud. We planned to use these tools, but as they were new, we also had our existing approach ready to go in case the new tools failed in any way.

Prep: The team installed the migration tools from Atlassian via the marketplace into the on-prem instances; one for Jira Software and one for Confluence. We also created a test cloud instance to migrate the on-prem instances to before attempting a migration to the production environment.

Test: Using the Atlassian tools made the migrations from Server to Cloud much easier. The migration tools did not migrate any app (aka plugin) data so we had to be sure what was migrated worked for the client. This effort involved a couple of test cycles as the tools allowed us to just create new migration plans and migrate repeatedly.

Migrate/Consolidate: The production run was simple and smooth. The team created migrations plans in each product and after the business closed for the weekend, we launched the plans and completed the migrations successfully.

Launch: The business unit that was using the on-prem instances were able to easily convert over to the cloud upon their return the following week and reported no loss of data or permissions.

Support: The RenWare team made itself available for one week following the successful rollout of the new consolidated instance. However, no issues were reported–only minor questions about features and functionality as the on-prem interface was significantly different from the cloud.

The work in this phase consisted of the following steps:

Assessment: Our experts worked with the client’s internal QA resources to obtain information that was critical to the migration and selection of a test management app to install into Jira Software.

Plan: Together, we created a plan to map and migrate the client’s test cases out of their legacy system over to Jira Software. It was understood that the client would lose the attachment and historical data as the legacy tool only exported its data into the csv file format, which doesn’t include those items.

Prep: The RenWare team created a test project in Jira that was used for testing the export/import processes. We also installed the requested test management apps from the Atlassian Marketplace that the client wanted to test.

Test: Using the test project we created, we conducts several test runs to see what the test case data would look like in the Jira environment using the various apps. The client settled on the TM4J app (now know as Zephyr Scale) as it met their requirements and internal processes. The TM4J solution involved creating custom fields to map to the exported data. Doing this eliminated the need to manually map fields as the process was able to do it for us automatically. Upon final approval from all of the test leads, we scheduled the production run for this initiative. The initial test runs used a subset of the overall test case data to ensure things worked properly. The last three test runs used the full datasets so we could collect time estimates to ensure the effort could be completed in the defined window of time.

Migrate/Consolidate: The production run was completed successfully and all test cases were in their defined Jira projects and the test management app was turned on for each of these projects.

Launch: The test team was able to successfully start using Jira Software and access the desired projects that contained their test cases.

Support: The RenWare team made itself available for one week following the successful conversion from the legacy test management system. Training activities took place during the testing phase so the users were already familiar with how to create and access their test cases.

The Results

RenWare consultants provided the necessary expertise to migrate the client's test management system to Jira Software so all company resources were working from a single tool stack. The client was also happy because this migration meant they could eliminate the cost of the legacy software, which was significant.

While RenWare consultants are not QA experts, they quickly came up to speed with how TM4J works and was able to provide the client with some best practices for this app.

Also, during Phase 2, RenWare met with the client and developed a set of standards and best practices that the client would go on to use in an effort to try and reduce the clutter in their cloud environment, which is important because unnecessary clutter can impact performance and cause negative user experiences.

We used the clients cloud instance that we created during Phase 1 to track all of our work and solicit feedback from the end-users. By using the Atlassian tools, we were also able to reduce the number of meetings with the client’s resources and allowed them to continue to focus on working towards their internal milestones and deliverables.

RenWare has been retained by this client for a few years now as they value our services and expertise around the Atlassian suite of tools.

EVP & CTO

"RenWare was a valuable partner and contributor to the successful completion of our Atlassian initiatives. We were more than happy with their expertise and continue to rely on it as we make additional acquisitions."