Windows vs. Linux: What’s Best with Cognos Analytics?

Cognos Analytics currently supports several operating systems

  • Windows
  • Linux/Unix
    • Red Hat
    • SUSE
    • Ubuntu
    • AIX
    • Solaris

At Senturus, we typically work on Windows and Linux environments and are often asked which one is the best?

While there isn’t a simple answer, we like to highlight some advantages of both to help you select the best build for your organization.


Versions supported

  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2016


  • Graphical by nature
    • Windows makes everything easier. Use a pre-install browser to download the software and drivers. Use the install wizard and file explorer to install the software. The Cognos Configuration tool defaults to a graphical interface that’s easy to configure.
  • Active Directory
    • If you use Active Directory for your authentication provider, the connection and ability to setup Single Sign On (SSO), is a cinch, since it’s all Microsoft products.
  • Impossible to avoid Windows completely
    • Even if you decide to not use Windows, you will still need to use Framework Manager or possibly Transformer/Cube Designer to build and publish models. These tools only exist in Windows formats, so you will still need to have some Windows servers/workstations in the mix.
  • IBM Cognos support
    • Almost all IBM support techs are running Windows VMs, so when they are trying to replicate an issue you might have discovered, it’s quick and easy to test.
      • Due to the various flavors of Linux, it can be difficult to find information specific to that version.

Versions supported

  • AIX 6.1, 7.1, 7.2
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6.5, 7.1
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 11, 12
  • Ubuntu 14.04, 16.04
  • Solaris 10, 11


  • Cost
    • Linux servers cost significantly less than Windows. If you are running a large distributed environment, these costs can add up.
  • Security
    • While all servers have vulnerabilities that can be locked down, Linux is typically less vulnerable and more secure than Windows.
  • Scripting
    • If you like to automate processes such as startup/shutdowns and server maintenance, the Linux commend line and scripting tools make this easy.

When it comes to selecting an operating system, there is no right or wrong choice. At Senturus we do prefer Windows due to the simple UI for install and config as well as the support base. However, if you run a Linux-based shop and have server administrators who are comfortable and prefer Linux, then go with Linux.

If you have specific questions about either option or would like to discuss your Cognos environment in more detail, please contact us.

This blog was written by Todd Schuman, the Practice Lead at Senturus responsible for installations, upgrades and performance tuning. As part of our dedicated integration practice, the Senturus team implements hundreds of Cognos upgrades, installation and configurations. Learn more about how we can help you with your Cognos installation or upgrade.

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