Since the beginning of Jira Server and Data Center, the strict user tier based licensing was a big pain point for the customers. The problem is that you can only purchase licenses based on these tiers and the price gap between them can be huge! For example, a small company with around 25 users can purchase and fully use self-managed Jira Software for $3500, but the next tier allows 50 users and the cost is doubled. There is no official workaround or solution only guides for database manipulation.
Last year, Atlassian also announced the end of sale for new server licenses on February 2, 2021 and the end of support for server on February 2, 2024. From Feb 2, 2022 the customers won’t even be able to upgrade or downgrade their existing server licenses, which means if a company grows out their Jira Server license they have to move to either Data Center or Cloud. Unfortunately, the licensing tier for Data Center starts from 500 users and for some companies, Jira Cloud is not an option due to data privacy or some specific regulations.
Since Atlassian has clearly declared its development directions with the Cloud first motto, our License Optimizer tries to help those who stay on their own server to replace the many manual user license revocations and reassignments that have been done so far with an automatic solution that does not burden admins at all.
First of all, in order to make decisions, you need to know the current usage of your Jira instance. For that, we created a free application which is called License Monitoring, available on Atlassian Marketplace.
After installing the application, the app starts automatically, you don’t have to configure anything. Of course, it needs some time to catch data and present it to you. You will be able to view them by clicking on the License Monitoring in the Applications menu in the Jira Administration settings. Don’t worry, the application doesn’t store any personal data.
License Monitoring will automatically detect your existing licenses and show them in the License Information box. After the installation, the app will count each login and create a graph based on this information so you will be able to see the average and maximum number of logged users per day. From the result, it will suggest optimizations but only within Atlassian user tiers. Of course, you can think outside of the box as well. There is a real example on the screenshot above. This Jira instance has a 10 Users Jira Core and a 50 Users Jira Software license meanwhile the maximum number of users per day in the last 30 days was 38. Sadly, we can only see the number of users summarized daily (the hourly summarization is already under development) but we can assume that these users weren’t active at the same time. So we will simply use only a 25 Users Jira Software with the help of our next application, License Optimizer to provide access to our employee.
With the help of License Optimizer, you can manage your application access in real-time and allow more users to use Jira without upgrading your license tier and without affecting the daily work of your users. But how does it work? I’m glad you’re asking.
As you know the application access is handled in Jira Server and Data Center by assigning user groups to services in the Application access menu (Jira Administration / Applications / Application access). Users who are added to the group that is associated with the service will be able to use that service. In License Optimizer, you can set up all the users who should ever be able to use Jira and a group where you store the active users. The app will check for a free slot in this group for every new login, and will grant access if it finds any. If your Jira is already full, License Optimizer will also check if there are any inactive users with application access permission, and if yes it will simply revoke the access from them to save up a slot for the new user.
You can set how much time after the last activity should a user be considered inactive. An inactive user still has application access as long as their slot is not required by a new active user. If License Optimizer revokes the access from a user they will receive a flag notification at the top right side of their Jira that they currently don’t have access to the service. The notification also has a button with which they can regain access immediately. The user won’t be navigated to a new page and they won’t lose their work during the inactive period. The best thing is, this all happens in real time, not based on scheduling or admin interaction
Now let’s see how you can achieve automatic, real-time application access manipulation with our app.
After installing the application, you need to change some Jira settings to make it work without any unexpected issues.
1, Create a new user group and add all the users who should ever be able to access the service.
You should include all the users who have login credentials to your Jira.
2, Create a new application access group
This group will contain all the users who have application access. You must not add any user to this group as License Optimizer will manage this.
3, Add permanent application access permission to Jira administrators
It is crucial that all Jira administrators are able to login to Jira without any restrictions. We can handle this by adding them in permanent access groups. Do this by navigating to the Global Permissions settings (Jira Administration / System /Global permissions) and check which groups are added to the Jira System Administrators and Jira Administrators permissions. Then navigate to the application access settings (Jira Administration / Applications / Application access) and add these groups there. After this, the users in these groups will always have access, Please note, the number of free slots is reduced by the number of unique users added in permanent groups. For example, if you added 2 admins and you have a 10 Users license then License Optimizer will work with 8 slots.
4, Add the new empty application access group to application access
5, Make the new empty application access group is set as default
6, Delete the application access group that contained all the users from application access
7, Navigate to the License Optimizer Settings page and set up the Threshold.
The threshold setting indicates how much time after the last activity should a user be considered inactive. The value must be between 1 and 86400 seconds. We advise you to add around 10-60 seconds so the application will be able to rotate the users more efficiently.
8, Choose which application access should be managed by License Optimizer
Currently, License Optimizer is only able to manage application access for 1 service (Jira Software, Jira Core or Jira Service Desk).
9, Set up the login and access group
The login group must be the group that you created in Step 1 and the access group must be the group that you created in Step 2.
10, Start License Optimizer
That’s it! After this, you can start License Optimizer by pressing the start button.
Don’t forget, by default a Jira restart or app update will pause License Optimizer. If you want to auto start it in these cases, please check the checkbox.
With the help of License Optimizer, you are able to implement floating licensing in Jira Server. The app manipulates the application access in real-time granting access only to the users who need it when it is needed.
License Optimizer is available for Jira Server 7 & 8.
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