Jira 8 - What Is It and Do You Need It?

By Mick Flanigan

Jira 8 is the latest major release of Jira – but what exactly does it do? An overview of it is that it involves a lot of behind the scenes improvements to the core infrastructure of the program. However, we are going to dive a little bit deeper into the benefits of Jira 8.

Jira 8 Features and Performance Improvements

The Jira 8 release is focused on performance improvements, while still maintaining its core functionality. Since it’s still the same Jira you know and love, you should have no trouble jumping right in and working in it.

The performance improvements to Jira 8 include:

  • Agile boards load up to 2x faster, and the largest boards (10,000+ issues) load up to 21x faster 
  • Jira Query Language (JQL) searches are 31% faster on average
  • Email notifications are less chatty with batched upgrades
  • New priority status icons are clearer
  • Re-index duration is up to 71% shorter
  • Index size has decreased by up to 48%

Along with the performance improvements, Atlassian has been contenting to tweak and update the UI, mainly around Agile boards, that they've started rolling out in 7.10. These UI changes and performance improvements will continue to make using Jira feel like a more modern experience.

Email communications have also been improved, primarily related to batched notifications. Instead of your users getting 10 emails for 10 different notifications in the span of a few minutes, they will get one email for all of the notifications. No more spammed inboxes and missed notifications.

What's Involved?

Any Jira upgrade is a potentially complicated process, but a major version upgrade like this is even more so. Beyond the app itself you have to make sure your infrastructure, database, add-ons, etc. are all compatible.

Technically, any version of Jira 7 should be able to be upgraded directly to Jira 8, unlike the Jira 6 to 7 upgrade which potentially involved several incremental upgrades. The 7 to 8 process should be a dramatic improvement, but, if your version is on the older side, or it's been alive for a while and has already been upgraded a few times, there may very well be other parts of your infrastructure that need to be brought up to speed first. For example, you may be on Jira 7.2 connected to a PostgreSQL 9.2 database. While Jira itself can be upgraded to Jira 8, you'll also have to upgrade your PostgreSQL installation as well.

Another big component is add-ons. Due to the larger than usual behind the scene changes, many add-ons won't be compatible with Jira 8 right away. Making them compatible will take more work from their developers than it was to keep them compatible with each 7.x upgrade. You'll want to make sure all of your add-ons are Jira 8 compatible before updating.

How Can We Help?

With everything! Specifically, we will make sure that all of your infrastructure, your database, etc, is Jira 8 ready, and work with you and your SysAdmins to get you to that point. We will help you plan the upgrade the proper way, through the use of a development environment to test the process first, making sure all of the proper backups are done along the way so that, if something goes wrong, none of your data is lost. We support Jira Data Center and Jira Server.

Our Recommendations

There's no need to jump on Jira 8 right away. As you can see, most of the improvements are behind the scenes performance related, which are nice of course, but you won't be missing out on any critical functionality by waiting. Jira 8 is new, though 8.1 was released on April 4th, and with any major upgrade or new release of a software there's always the potential for bugs. However, we haven't heard of any major issues with Jira 8 so far. The risk/reward of being on the bleeding edge of any piece of software is always a consideration, and the answer to that question will vary for each organization. You will definitely want to upgrade to Jira 8 at some point, but our team can work with you to make the decision on when that time should be.

Contact us today to get started with your Jira 8 upgrade.