Synchronization in Jira – IssueSYNC vs. Backbone

Apps, Atlassian

21 June 2017 • 14 min read

    Many of our clients have been asking us about the differences between IssueSYNC and Backbone. That’s why we decided to create this comparison to provide them with an objective answer to their questions.

    We don’t want to say that one solution is simply better than the other. We believe that people who are looking for a solution should have full access to relevant information. Only then they can pick the right tool for their particular problem.

    What follows by no means exhausts the topic. That’s why we encourage you to share your experience and opinions in the comments section.

    If you’re working with two Jira instances, you could probably use a tool for synchronizing projects and issues.

    Imagine that a user of Jira 1 creates an issue and you’d like to make it available to a user in Jira 2.

    Can this user view and perform operations on this issue together with its original creator? Sure, but only if you pick the right tool.

    Synchronizing two Jira instances is possible if you know which plugins to choose.

    Here’s a detailed comparison of two such dedicated plugins, IssueSYNC and Backbone, to help you choose the best tool for the job.

    The Basics

    Both IssueSYNC and Backbone support synchronization in:

    • Jira Software
    • Jira Service Desk
    • Jira Data Center

    Both plugins offer a range of support for Jira Software and Service Desk, and are both still in development.

    What about the available integration types between Jira instances?

    Backbone supports synchronization between Servers, as well as between Server and Cloud. With IssueSYNC, you get one additional type of integration: Cloud to Cloud. Check out this page to learn more about it.

    While IssueSYNC allows to synchronize data only through HTTP(S), with Backbone, users can do that also through email or file communication.

    File and email communication modes allow users to handle scenarios when the two Jira instances don’t see each other.

    If you’re using IssueSYNC, at least one Jira instance needs to see the other one for bidirectional communication. That’s in fact most common scenario for corporate setup with Jira Service Desk set as public and Jira Core/Software located behind a firewall.


    When it comes to Jira synchronization, one of the most important matters at hand is data security.

    It’s easy to lose control over information while synchronizing two Jira instances. And when you lose that control, there’s no turning back. You’ll face the threat of data leaks that might compromise your company operations.

    Users of Backbone will only need to type the login and password of the Jira instance that will be synchronizing the data.

    With IssueSYNC, synchronization comes with top security features.

    To start synchronizing issues, the user needs to have the logins and passwords only to their own Jira instances that are part of the synchronization process.

    The plugin provides two separate authentication keys which need to be exchanged between administrators – you won’t need to provide remote user credentials yourself.

    The authentication is then carried out with a token provided in the connection configuration.

    Thanks to its configuration, IssueSYNC ensures that no information is exposed except the data defined in your Contract. Information about the project, issue type, fields, workflow transitions are all hidden from sight. You can also stop communication between two instances anytime and no data will get caught up in the exchange.

    All the communication between two Jira`s is carried out via the plugin’s API and there’s no direct access to Jira REST API methods. To boost the security on the network layer, we recommend using the SSL protocol.

    Another security feature of IssueSYNC is a mechanism for queuing the synchronized data. If the connection to the other Jira instance fails for a second or two, the synchronization setup won’t be lost and will continue once the connection resumes. With IssueSYNC, you won’t risk losing any data.

    Plugin Configuration

    Backbone offers two types of predefined configuration. Users can either:

    • connect their Service Desk project with the Jira project of their second level support, or,
    • connect their Service Desk project with the project of a customer.

    Once you pick one of these options, the plugin will direct you to define which parts of your project will be visible to the user in the synchronized instance.

    With IssueSYNC, you’ll need to first define the project or issue type you’d like to synchronize.

    The plugin then generates local and remote authentication keys for connecting two Jira instances. Administrators need to exchange them before starting the synchronization.

    Once you’ve got all this information set, you can start configuring the plugin to match your needs.

    That will include setting up Connection A and B, and then testing these connections. You’ll also need to set up Contracts, conduct Field Mapping, and refine your Contracts in both instances.

    Have a look here to learn more about IssueSYNC configuration.

    Troubleshooting and Diagnostics

    Last year, Backbone added a new feature that provides troubleshooting analysis to help users performing manual troubleshooting in carrying out the required tasks.

    IssueSYNC pays a lot of attention to synchronization monitoring and diagnostics. Users get access to a special performance dashboard where they can compare messages count, their average size and processing time, all divided into types.

    If something goes wrong during the synchronization process, users get notified by email.

    They can then go straight to the Health Board which displays the statuses of different parts of the synchronization configuration (Connections, Contracts, Services, Logs). Users can also check synchronization history and retry an action.

    The plugin allows to conduct detailed diagnostics on three levels: configuration, synchronization, and infrastructure. Have a look here for more information about this feature.

    Key Takeaway

    IssueSYNC and Backbone are both excellent tools that come in handy when you need to synchronize data between two Jira instances.

    The choice ultimately depends on your needs and preferences.

    For example, if data security matters to your organization, IssueSYNC is the right solution for you. None of the parties involved in synchronization will be able to directly access data located in the other Jira instance. Moreover, if you need to synchronize two cloud instances, only IssueSYNC can do that for you.

    But if you’re new to Jira, you could definitely use the smart configuration wizard featured in Backbone which allows to quickly set up a solution that matches your needs.

    Backbone works for those who don’t have an advanced command of Jira and need to quickly get a synchronization solution.

    IssueSYNC is dedicated to enterprises that store sensitive data in their instances by providing top security features to protect the synchronized data.

    If you’d like to try IssueSYNC to see how it can help your organization in synchronizing information between different Jira`s, here’s a free 30-day trial.

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