Cognos Framework Manager vs. Data Modules

June 25, 2020

Can You Use Data Modules as the Primary Cognos Metadata Modeling Tool?

Each release of Cognos sees incremental improvements to data modules. Over time, the functionality gaps between data modules and Framework Manager have narrowed substantially. In fact, data modules are a powerhouse of a tool.

But does that mean you can use data modules as the primary Cognos metadata modeling tool? Now is your chance to find out.

In this on-demand demo and comprehensive comparison between Framework Manager and data modules, we explore data module advantages over Framework Manager and the feature and functionality gaps that exist. And answer participant questions.


Cognos Framework Manager
Cognos data modules


Pedro Ining
Senior BI Architect
Senturus, Inc.

Pedro joined Senturus in 2010 and brings over 20 years of BI and data warehousing experience to his role. He has been instrumental in implementing data warehousing systems from scratch and has experienced the evolution of the BI industry through several iterations of BI products including Cognos, MicroStrategy and Tableau.


  • The Cognos modeling legacy
    • Transformer
    • Dynamic cubes
    • Framework Manager (DMR)
    • Data modules (datasets)
  • Top question — Should I replace all my existing Framework Manager Models/packages with data modules?
    • Existing FM production packages may be working fine and there may be no need to port a 1 for 1 implementation to a data module
    • IBM has no plans to remove product support for FM
    • But … you may want to give a serious look at new modeling tasks to start with data modules
  • Cognos Framework Manager
    • Primary modeling tool in Cognos ReportNet, Cognos 8, Cognos 10
    • Still used widely in Cognos Analytics 11 some customers only use packages from FM
    • IT centric tool used by developers and data modelers
    • Not really meant for ‘end users’ but some have tried
    • From an era of the ‘single source of truth DWH’
    • No future enhancements are planned for this product
  • Cognos data modules
    • Web based end-user focused data blending, modeling, transformation tool debuted on Cognos Analytics 11.0
    • IBM’s response to data democratization and other tools like Tableau and Microsoft Power BI
    • 1 significantly closed some of the technical gaps between FM and DM
    • All future development resources will be focused on DM enhancements
  • What are data modules still missing?
    • Integrates many sources
    • DMR – dimensionally modeled relational
    • Object based security
    • Model branches and merges – team-based modeling
    • Parameter maps
    • Multi-lingual packages
    • Complex row-level security implementations
    • FM style namespaces (but we can somewhat simulate)
  • What data modules do that Framework Manager can’t do
    • FM style packages
    • Easy integration of uploaded files – Excel, CSV
    • Simple data cleansing built-in
    • Easy hierarchy creation – navigation paths
    • Automatic creation of relative time filters (YTD,MTD etc.)
    • In-memory use of datasets
    • Data grouping
  • Common Framework Manager modeler issues with data modules
    • Web-based interface
    • Web UI not as precise and snappy as FM
    • Lack of layers, namespaces, model query subjects
    • No alias shortcuts
    • Determinants
  • Namespaces and Model Query subjects
    • The typical FM paradigm of layers and namespaces are missing
    • I want a physical layer that I can hide
    • How can I publish a centrally controlled data module?
  • Alias shortcuts – custom table views
    • Necessary for “role playing” dimensions
  • Determinants vs. column dependencies
    • Needed for multi-grain multi-fact queries
    • FM used determinants
    • DM has simplified the concept with column dependencies