Tips for Installing Cognos 11.2.4

If you have been pondering when to do your next upgrade of Cognos Analytics, now is that time! Cognos 11.2.4 is the long-term support release. That means a guarantee of at least two years of support.

In this on-demand webinar, get helpful tips for a smooth installation. Our Cognos installation practice lead Todd Schuman walks you through the installation and configuration steps on the server side of Cognos Analytics. He covers

  • Cognos Analytics roadmap
  • Migration planning
  • Installation options
  • Configuration changes
  • Bulk conversion tool
  • Audit extension


Todd Schuman
Practice Lead – Installations, Upgrades and Performance Tuning
Senturus, Inc.

Todd has over 21 years of business analytics experience across multiple industries. He regularly connects with the IBM product development team and has been in the forefront of the Cognos Analytics upgrades and installations.

Machine transcript

Welcome to today’s Senturus webinar on tips for installing Cognos 11.2.4. Thanks for joining us.

A few quick administrative things before we get started. During the webinar, if you have any questions, you can submit them in the Q&A section and zoom. You’ll see a little Q&A option down there in your Zoom control bar.

You can submit questions, we will be answering questions at the end of the webinar, but we may also answer some in real time or near real time while the webinar is running. So go ahead and submit your questions there as they come up.

One of the first questions we often get is, can I get a copy of the presentation? The answer is, of course, we’re happy to share all of our information with you. You can visit our knowledge center at the Senturus website, and you’ll also see in the chat window. Right now there’s a link directly to the slide deck for this webinar, so you can download that anytime by clicking on that link.

Today’s agenda, we’ll do some quick introductions, go through the current CognosAnalytics road map, talk a bit about migration and upgrade planning of the installation options, particularly for a couple of new and changed items. We’re going to talk a little bit about the book conversion tool. For those of you who are still on query studio, I’ll be talking a bit about that also the audit extension, which is now a standard inclusion and the Cognos install as of 11.2.4.

Do a little overview of Senturus and as I said, we’ll do Q&A at the end.

Our main presenter today is Mr. Todd Shuman. Todd is our practice lead for installations, upgrades and optimization here at Senturus. Todd is our guru on all things Cognos, so we’re in good hands. I’m Steve Reed Pittman, director of Enterprise Architecture and engineering. I’m mostly just here for the intro and outro, but I may answer some of the questions as we go along today.

So before we get started, we’re going to do a quick poll. I just want to get a sense of what version of Cognos you’re currently on, assuming that you’re all here because you’re considering upgrading to 11.2.4. So let’s take a look. Go ahead and enter your answers there and everything from before Cognos 10 up to one of the current 11.2.X versions. Looks like so far a lot of you are on 11.1.X, but quite a few are already on to one of the.

Give them two versions, which is great. I don’t see anyone before Cognos 10, which is good news. But there are a few of you who are running C10 environments, so it looks like a few on the earlier versions of 11. We’re going to go and close that out, share the results.

I’m going to go ahead and turn it over Todd and let you take it away. Todd.

Alright. Thanks Steve.

Welcome everyone to the Cognos 11.2.4 installation upgrade presentation. Before we get into the upgrade details, I wanted touch on the release timelines as people are always asking when is the new version coming out and when does my support end for the version I’m on. Lots of good questions. So I stole this slide from IBM. It’s a pretty good slide. I think it shows the different versions and the support timelines that go along with each. We set it off, you know, in the top left with.

Cognos 10.2 then move into Cognos 11 world 11.0.13 was the first long-term support release that was released in April 2019.

11.1.7 long term support was released back in September 2020 and the 11.2.4 version was released just this past December 2022. That is now the most recent long-term support version.

In the bottom right you can see the something called the innovation stream. That’s what will eventually become 11.3.

So just to highlight some of these key dates, two people in the poll who were still on Cognos 10 that support ended just of December last year. They kept bumping it up, bumping out. They added three additional years. So if you’re running that version, it is time to upgrade, you’re no longer supported. There was a decent amount of people I think about 11.0, so that 11.0.13 long term support release.

That sustained support actually ended in 2022. They did release sort of an extended extended support, which.

In that case you’re going to be OK for a little bit longer, but it’s probably a good idea to start planning your upgrade now and then. For those of you who are on 11.1.7, which I think the majority of you were, that’s going to be covered until Q2 2024 with extended support going up until 2025.

And we’re going to talk about 11.2.4 today, which is the latest long-term support release based on past examples that should be supported under the standard until around Q2 2025 and the extended support will be covered until Q2 2026.

We’re expecting the 11.3 GA release to probably come out sometime in Q2 of this year. I don’t have a specific date yet, but I would say you know if you if you’re connected with Senturus, check our website and our blog post will post something as soon as we have more information about what new features are coming and major changes. Usually the major dot releases have some significant changes, so as soon as we have more information about that, we’ll post it. So keep checking our website and our blogs For more information.

Let’s talk about upgrade and migration planning.

So one of the most common questions I get is can I upgrade to 11.2.4? And the answer is always yes. There is no in between version you need to jump to. I will say the path on how you get there varies depending on the version you’re running. So starting with Cognos 11, 11.0, Cognos offered the ability to do what’s called an in place or over the top upgrade. Before that, in Cognos 10 world, it was essentially a brand new install every time, so you had to.

Either get a new server or a new direct installation path. You had to install the software fresh every time, so that’s essentially gone now.

However, if you haven’t moved to 11, there’s going to be some additional work you have to do, mostly around legacy tools like query analysis Studio. JavaScript was also sort of a challenge back in the day if you had JavaScript code in your reports. I’ve got an extensive list of webinars that touch on all those different topics of moving from 10. I’m not going to get into the details now, but if you go to the knowledge link that Steve mentioned earlier, we’ve got all our prior webinars out. There’s a whole bunch of things of getting ready for cutting us.

So once you have the software installed, whether you’re doing an over the top install or a fresh install, you’re going to need to migrate your content and that can be done at the database level with a backup restore. Or you can do it through the Cognos export utility, which allows you to migrate the content through Cognos into a zip file, and then you can take that zip file and then import it wherever you need. I do usually recommend the database method, it’s going to be much faster and much more efficient, but there are some.

This is where you may need to use the Cognos tool to perform the store migrations. For example, if you’re building from your content store from SQL Server to Oracle or vice versa, you’re not going to be able to convert those databases easily, so it’s going to be better to use the tool. But overall, especially large content stores, it takes a long time sometimes to export imports, so the database is going to be seconds or minutes versus hours sometimes.

And then also, just because you’re running a version of Cognos 11, the over the top install might not always be the best option. So if your Cognos server has been in use for a long time, four or five plus years, it may make sense to revisit the actual VM or the operating system itself. For example, Cognos 11.0 supported Windows Server 2008 I believe, and that is no longer supported in 11.1 or two, so it may be a good time to upgrade your operating system. Also, each version of Cognos often requires.

Additional CPU, more RAM. Are your existing servers still able to keep up? There’s new types of RAM, faster CPUs, updated software like databases. These things are all updated frequently, so anytime we do an upgrade or migration, I always try to review where those different pieces of software, the operating systems, the hardware are. And if I can upgrade as many of those things at the same time so I don’t have to come back and upgrade just one or two of them, you can kind of get ahead of it. Get on the latest operating system, the latest database version, get the best and most recent hardware you can.

It’s going to save you a lot of time paying down the road.

Here’s another slide I stole from IBM. I think this helps compare the different types of installs and upgrades that you can do.

The first option is you know the in place in place upgrade I just mentioned it’s installing the new version over the top of the existing version. This is the fastest and quickest way to upgrade. And then there’s also the separate install where you install a new version of the software and there are separate location in their directory or on a brand new server VM.

So depending on one or the other, you can choose that path and then once you’ve done that, then you have two options for migrating. You can do an over the top content store upgrade where you point it to the existing contents or database and it’s going to go ahead and update all the schemas and tables for you. Or you can give it a brand new blank database, let it create its own fresh tables and then individually migrate pieces over reports, packages, all your objects, etcetera. I’m not going to go into all the details here because there’s a lot of information, but I did want to put this out there.

Highlight the pros and cons of each some of the limitations you have. Any questions, feel free to put them in the chat or we can discuss offline.

These are the latest hardware and software recommendations for 11.2.4, starting with the operating systems we’ve got, the different types, and the supported versions of each. Again, I always recommend trying to get to the as far to the right as possible on this list. So for example, I wouldn’t.

Try to install 11.2.4 on Windows 2012 even though it’s supported. If you can you know you’re planning an upgrade or install and you’re going to go to 11.2.4 and your server is kind of old. I would plan for Windows Server 2022 or 2019. You know you want to get as most recent as you can because Cognos 11.2.4 is going to be supported a lot longer than Windows 2012 is. So again, try to get everything updated as far as you can.

And then as far as the CPUs, the minimum is now 4 and the RAM is 32 gig. These are again this is a good starting points from IBM. I’ve seen smaller organizations with one or two Cognos users who get by on 2 CPUs and 16 gigs or so of RAM. I’ve also seen large organizations who have 10 plus dispatchers each one with 24 CPUs and 256 gigs of RAM. So one size does not necessarily fit.

All here. I usually recommend a sizing exercise to get a more precise tuning recommendation, so if you have any questions about that, feel free to reach out offline and we can review some of your audit logs and your requirements and kind of figure out what the best architecture would be for you.

Contents or databases? Again, these are the databases that content stores its information in. Used to think just be SQL Server, Oracle and DB2. We’ve now got Azure SQL databases in here as well as Informix.

Pretty specific small group of lists here so you have to have one of these. Again. Some of these older ones like SQL 2012, Oracle 11 have been phased out for some time now, so I know some people are still using those. So if you are, you’re going to have to upgrade a database or get one of these newer ones to run Cognos. One thing to clarify is this is just the contents or database. The databases that you’re going to report off of is a much, much larger list.

Browser support. This is kind of a big one. I touched on this earlier this came out. This was sort of one of the big.

Notable things of 11.2 that IE is no longer supported for any version 11.2 so since 11.2.0 GA came out, IE is completely unsupported. If you try to hit the URL for Cognos 11 two with IE, you’re going to get a warning message that says this browser is not supported.

Beyond that, no longer be supported. That also means that your legacy tools like query studio, analysis studio are not going to be usable. As far as I know, the only browser that supports analysis studio and query studio and 11.2 is Firefox ESR, which isn’t even the one you normally download from Firefox. It’s a special extended support release version.

So those of you who are still running legacy tools like as and QS. You are going to need to take a long hard look at how you can migrate these off and how can I even upgrade to 11.2 if you’re still supporting a lot of those and I’ll touch on this topic a little bit more a couple slides in.

Backups. One last thing before we get into the installations and it’s important. It’s the backups. We always need to have a backup in case anything goes wrong. The upgrade process has gotten much easier I think, especially with the in place upgrades. That doesn’t mean things can’t go wrong and you always want to have a backup plan or an ability to kind of roll back if things go wrong. Some things that I personally always make sure that I have backed up #1. Most important is the Cognos databases.

Always the content store, possibly the audit database. It will typically upgrade these schemas. So if you’re doing an in place upgrade and you say, OK, it looks good, let’s start it up. It’s going to upgrade all your schemas. The latest version. You will no longer be able to roll back and connect to an earlier version of Cognos. So you need to have backups of your content database.

Another one I recommend is the startup files. These are the ones that get created by Cognos configuration. So if you’ve got a single server, multiple servers, each server is going to have a COG startup XML file. You can export these directly from the configuration tool, or you can grab them from the configuration installation folder, but it’s going to contain lots of important information that’s easy to forget or lose. Things like setting up your namespaces, those complex LDAP configurations, your Cognos databases.

Or the server names, the ports, the user ID’s and passwords and things like security. All kinds of additional stuff that needs to be configured that probably doesn’t get touched that often, so it’s probably a couple of years since you’ve been in there. It’s always good to have a backup of those.

Other less important, but still things you want to check. You know custom images, your logos, graphics that get rendered in reports. You want to have a copy of those in case those get overwritten. Same thing with custom JavaScript, any war plugin files. Don’t want to lose those. There is something they introduced sometime, I think during 11.0 development cycle. It was called the preserve file, the preserve dot text. It’s in your installation directory in a folder called configuration Preserve. This was added. It allows you to specify files and folders that you don’t want Cognos to touch during and in the place upgrade. So for example, if you have an image directory that’s custom, you’ve got some other JavaScript files that you’re server side JavaScript files that you’re using. You can list them out there and it will ensure that when it’s upgrading they don’t get overwritten. If you don’t include this and you do an inplace upgrade, it’s going to wipe all those out. If you have all your images in BI samples images, it’s going to wipe it and put it in a bunch of new generic Cognos images.

So you need to make sure you have your preserve file set on every single server in your environment.

OK, let’s get into the installation process.

So the installation process has changed just a little bit from earlier versions, but not so much from 11.2. So 11.2 really hasn’t changed at all.

If you attended any of these earlier webinars I’ve done on upgrading, I think I touched on 11.2. The installer has gotten a little smaller, a little smarter. It now can scan the directory that is in and find all the different zip files that include different pieces of Cognos software.

You’re going to need to download a couple of files. The most important one is the installer file. You need this now to actually install the software. You’re also going to need the server dot zip file. It’s usually named with the version CA_SRV_the operating system. I’m using Windows 64 and then the version 11.2.4, so it’s much more user friendly than it used to be. It used to be really ugly.

All these random number names, it’s much more easier, especially you got a couple of versions to see you know which files are which. There are also other files that are somewhat optional, although I don’t consider the client tools necessarily optional. But framework manager, query analyzer, lifecycle manager, all those things are included in the client tools.

Jypiter Notebooks is also something that Cognos provides. Not a lot of people I see using it, but it is something that you can get and that will be installed here and picked up in the installer as well.

One thing to note, do not try to unzip these files. There’s no need to. The installer would do that for you.

I think I mentioned in an earlier versions you had to kind of browse to the zip file and feed it in say hey which file do you want to install. It’s now a little bit smarter and it will just say hey I found all these different options that you can install pick the one you want. So I kind of highlighted in the top image there the list of all the different products have found but we’re going to focus on the one in red. The Cognos Analytics doesn’t say server, that’s the one we want so that’s going to take it to the server steps. And then one thing to add the.

Transformer. I don’t know why people still use transformer. It is not part of this new sort of upgrade methodology with the installer and the separate zip. For some reason they still have it.

We have to unzip it twice and extract it. And inside of that second instruction there’s an installer and then you have to go to the old sort of installation screens that you’re probably familiar with back in Cognos 10. That’s probably because they haven’t really upgraded this product and I’d say almost 10 years, it’s not really changed. They continue to support it, they continue to update the splash screen and the major version there is a transformer 11.2.

I don’t believe it has changed a single bit since transformer you know was built in.

Probably Cognos 8, so it’s, it’s out there, it’s supported, it’s just a little bit of a different install.

So assuming you pick the server installation option. The next thing that’s going to ask you to do is to pick your Cognos components. I’m going touch on what the Cognos components are in a couple slides, but I do want to note two things. The first one is that at the top they’re easy to install.

They introduced this back in Cognos 10.2.2. They called it a quick install. They keep changing the name of this, but essentially just a way to get Cognos up and running very quickly. It’s going to create a informix like a lightweight Informix database, Azure content store. It’s going to create, I believe, in Apache Derby directory server as a namespace for your users. There’s no web server, no gateway. You’re going to go into the dispatcher and it’s just a really lightweight, fast way to get Cognos up and running where you don’t have to involve Active Directory LDAP administrators and you can kick the tires and just see where the new features. I always say do not run this in a production environment with the production workload. It’s not going to be able to keep up. These are light development style tools. You’re going to have to go with the standard, pick the content to your application, to your gateway, etc. and put that in your production. But if you do want to test out a new version and not have to spin up databases is a nice way to get up and running quickly.

The other notable here is the new image service, which again is optional and I’m going to kind of go into what that is and what it does in just a few slides.

So the content manager, this is the most important piece. It’s the first piece you really had to install. When you’re doing the Cognos installation. I always call it sort of the brain of Cognos. It’s going to 1st off, connect to that content store database and that has to be limited to SQL, Oracle, DB2, etc. And that’s where it’s going to create information about every report, the users, the security, the folders, your FM models, your cubes, everything is getting written to this and read back.

Exposed to your user, so it’s the central processing unit of your Cognos environment. It’s also going to connect to your authentication providers, so it’s going to be able to authenticate you against Active Directory, LDAP, Open id, and sort of just be the main point of flow for everything in Cognos.

Go to Content manager is the actual service and the content store is a set of database tables used by the content manager to store the caucus application data. So those terminology gets a bit confusing and thrown around, so I just like to clarify on that.

The dispatcher, and this is the Cognos workhorse. I like to say this is the one that’s doing the heavy lifting. It’s going to need the most CPU and RAM. It’s going to be responsible for running the SQL, crunching the numbers, displaying the reports, your dashboarding, your ad hoc self-service, reporting, scheduling. This is the one that’s going to connect to those data sources, that information that you want to see in your reports and bring it back and display it however you have built in your reports and dashboards.

And then finally the gateway. This is again optional. This used to be required, they made it optional in Cognos 11. You can technically run reports and do everything against the dispatcher. This is going to be a little bit more sophisticated especially for single sign on Kerberos third party portal integration. If you have a request for that you need to install the gateway.

The process of setting up a web server has gotten much better in my opinion as well. They used to have a really ugly document where you had to go through about 30 plus steps, especially in IIS to configure it. I believe somewhere around 11 zero they introduced a batch file that you can easily edit. You have to provide a parameters like the alias name, the direct, the dispatchers, a couple of other fields, installation directory and it goes and just creates all the virtual directories and applications and.

Routing rules and all this extra stuff automatically. So that is that. Also used to be something got to download externally from IBM. It is now included in the Installation directory under the CGI bin templates folder. There’s files for IIS. There’s also files for Apache if you use Apache. And it makes it very easy to just kind of quickly replace a couple of variables. Plug in your own specific information there and you can get your web server up and running. So my opinion, there’s really no reason not to use a gateway.

One note about IIS, people always forget there’s a couple other plugins that you need to do besides installing IIS through Windows. You also make sure Windows authentication is enabled if you’re using single sign, that’s something that gets missed a lot. And the other one is this application request routing ARR 3 point. It’s a standalone installation thing that you need to kind of run after you have IIS installed. It’s going to add a couple additional buttons or so to the IIS panel that are needed specifically.

Request routing, URL rewrite rules and things like that that 100% needs to make this work. So if you’ve been having issues with your gateway I would start there, make sure you have all the IAS, rules or everything set up and then use the templates and it should hopefully make it pretty streamlined.

So now that we know what the components do, you have to decide on how you want to distribute those components. You can put all three on a single server, or we could distribute them out across multiple servers.

Each organization has its own unique requirements and one size doesn’t necessarily fit all you’d ask yourself questions like do I need failover? Do I need a high availability system? Do I need multiple gateways that are behind an F5 load balancer? There’s lots of questions you kind of need to ask yourself before you point out your Cognos environment.

I’ll say if you need help, please reach out and we can assist you with your Cognos architecture planning.

The image service UM is new to 11.2.4 if you were trying to run one of these visits, which is the new Mapbox API which is really great. Donuts, tree maps, bullets, etc. they you may have noticed in that sort of bottom right when you kind of before you bring it into the report there was a little warning that says this visualization supports HTML output only.

Which essentially means you can only get that in a live view in Cognos, which is a bummer especially for maps that I’ve seen some pretty cool things that people have built in maps and it’d be great if you could get that into a PDF or something that could be distributed or made to look pretty professional. So it’s unavailable up until now with this image service we can now get those two export, but.

That’s the good news. The bad news is it’s a bit of work to set this up. First off, you’re going to need Docker or Podman, which I have not worked with like something very similar, but you are going to have to.

Basically, install Docker, then you have a special installation directory that gets created when you pick that image service, and it has the files you need for Docker. So you’re going to configure and build your image, and then you’re going to deploy it using Docker.

There are detailed steps in how to do this. It’s not super difficult, but it is a bit of extra work. It takes some time. I’m going to try to put a blog or something out there just kind of showing how to set it up if anyone wants to see, but essentially you are going to have to go through some documentation and some additional configuration to get this going once you’ve got it up and running.

There is the process of getting it configured into Cognos. So there isn’t anything in the configuration back end, the Cognos configuration tool, they buried it in the admin screens or the manage screens and Cognos 11. So if you go to the manage button, you have access to that as administrator, you go to configuration, then system. At the very bottom they’ve got something called image service URL and that’s where you’re going to put in the server name and port that was created when you went to that configuration process.

When you provide that, you’ll then be able to create and run any of those five visualizations and export them to PDF, Excel. So that’s something that you’ve been looking for. I know working with a couple of people over the past year or so maps for a big one that they wanted to get in PDF, so hopefully this is something that it’s exciting, worth upgrading for. It’s just a bit extra work. I’m hoping this gets bit more integrated in the future. It seems kind of like it was kind of a last minute afterthought the way they kind of added this stuff in.

So my hope is 11.3 will have image service just baked in. I don’t know why it would have to be optional, it should just be something that works out-of-the-box. But we’ll see and I will keep you upgraded updated as soon as I know more.

Speaking of moving on, it’s time to move on from these tools. Query now, query studio, analysis studio workspace. I was just looking at some old stuff. I did a webinar on Cognos, upgrading the Cognos 10.2.2 back when that was coming out, late 2015, early 2016. And at the time that was supposed to be the last version that was going to support, you know, these legacy tools. And that was about seven years ago. So IBM has been begrudgingly.

Keeping these things going, but that is no longer going to be the case. So as I mentioned earlier, 11.2.4 has very limited support for IE which is the main driver for these studios. You got to kind of use that Firefox ESR. They are saying right now 11.3 will have zero support for these. I believe they might not even include this in the product at all. So that is something that people who are still running these tools need to be prepared for. So hopefully.

To ease that challenge, they’ve introduced something called the bulk converter. This is a tool that is now in the installation directory.

You look here in this command prompt. This is sort of where I have. This is the default install, you know, program files, IBM Cognos Analytics SDK, bulk converter, and there’s just a batch file in there that you just run and it’s going to 1st prompt you to provide the name of the server that you want to hit and then it’s going to ask you to log in to a namespace, providers name and password.

And then it’s going to bring up a very lightweight Java app to assist you with this migration. They want to note I had issues with MFA enabled, we use Azure AD and I had to disable it to get it to work. So if you do try this and you’re having issues and you have MFA, maybe see if you can disable it and that solves your issue. But I’m not sure if that’s just limitation or what. But I could not seem to get this to connect with MFA. So just something to add if you’re going to use this.

But once you connect, you could see it’s going to bring up this little Java app. It allows you to kind of expand, collapse and you can see your my folders, the team’s content, and you can go and select one or more query studio, analysis studio reports and then you can just right click.

And say convert to reports, either queries to reports or NOSIS reports. You have to kind of chunk them up by their types. You can’t run queries through analysis together, but it’s pretty straightforward, very easy. You can just quickly select hundreds if you have that many at once and just say, hey, convert all of these now.

And what’s nice is that it’s going to leave your original files untouched, so if you’re worried about anything getting corrupted or changed or you’re not 100% sure it’s going to work. You want to kind of make sure it looks OK. It’s going to leave the source default fine. So in this example here I have a full report in my folders that was called QS prompt and you can see the type is query. I ran the bulk converter, it creates a new subfolder in my folders called converted queries, moves it there and then changes it to a report spec.

So you can you can run one or as many as you need. You going to run your query studio set from your analysis studio, but this tool can help you convert all those all those old query analysis style report specs over. If you’re looking to either move to 11.2 and you can’t get off IE or can’t run Firefox, or you want to start preparing for 11.3, this is going to be a tool that does that. And I will add you can manually convert query. See reports today. You don’t need a tool if you go in.

And you click on like the ellipse or the three buttons or more on any queries to report, there’s a button already in there it says convert to report. What this does is just removes the need to go into that 500 times if you have that many. So you can just select all, say convert and do it versus having to manually click over and over and over again, so save you a bunch of time. This isn’t any kind of new conversion technology that’s been around for years. Just hopefully something that can save you time and make it easier to move to a newer version of Cognos.

The audit extension.

So some of you may have heard of this or may have used this in the past. They actually introduced this in 11.0 and it was under the IBM developer section. So it was sort of not 100% supported, which was unfortunate because it did a lot of really nice things and it hasn’t been touched in a while. I was excited to see kind of flew under the radar, but they actually include this now with 11.2.4.

Is in the installation directory and it is already. The file has already been compiled. So you just need to drop it in and then run some of the setup, some of the import the packages and the reports. That kind of come out-of-the-box, but I did want touch on the difference between audit and audit extension. For those of you who haven’t heard of audit extension, I do always focus on audits. Audits is extremely valuable piece of Cognos. Again, it’s optional.

whenever I set up a new payless environment, I’m always adding an audit database. This is extremely valuable to kind of focus on the user and report activity in your environment. So if you want to see who’s running what reports, how often are they being run, how long are they taking to run, who’s logging on and logging off at what times, what things are being run interactively versus in the background or batch reporting. You also can get some errors about why wire reports failing, how many times did I see this error? Lots of really, really valuable information that gets stored in the audit database.

That is different than the audit extension, which is going to focus more on accounts, content and roles. So, for example, you can get with the standard audit package. If I have 100 users who have accessed the Cognos, but only five of them have ever logged in or run a report. If I run a report out of audit, I’m only going to see 5 users. With the audit extension, I can see all 100 users. Same thing with content if I have 100 reports and only 20 of them have been run and 80 have just been sitting there, you know, idle. I don’t even know they exist. With auto extension, I get that full list of reports. And then one thing that doesn’t get touched at all in audit is just role capabilities. You can kind of see who’s got access to what. So lots of really valuable stuff that’s been around, but it’s just been sort of.

Cognos was saying, hey, we’re not going to really change this or support it, but it’s there if you want to try it, it’s now included.

I put the path here, this bottom right box here, so it’s installation directory, program files, IBM Cognos Analytics, samples audit extension.

And you can see it’s got the war file, it’s got the report in the reporting folder, it’s got the deployment package where you can just drop it into your deployment folder and import it. And it’s also got documentation in there as well as how to set it up, how to schedule the audit jobs to go and query that information. And then once you’ve got it, you get these additional folders is what the deployment looks like. Cognos spotted extension, those sort of three different subject areas and things that you could schedule just to kind of make sure that the data is getting updated from time to time.

So the best thing about this is they no longer have to go out there and download the audit extension separately. You no longer have to kind of go to the process to create the war file, and all the documentation is included out-of-the-box. So if you’re running 11.2.4, you can go ahead just grab it from your installation directory very easily, deploy this and get it up and running if that’s of interest to you.

So that is the end of what I’ve got today. I’m going to turn it back over to Steve and then we’ll jump into some of your questions.

Alright, thanks Todd and we’ve got lots of good questions out there. I answered a few of the simpler ones, but I’ll leave the more complicated stuff to you Todd. I will get to those in a few minutes. And in the meantime just want to highlight that here it’s interest we’re here to help with your installations and upgrades. You can get help expanding self-service adoption and reducing your admin costs by bringing us in to kind of handle the heavy lifting, we can help with optimizing data models and governance support.

Self-service we can help you improve performance. We’ve had a lot of years of experience looking at those systems and figuring out ways to speed things up.

We can help you clean up your Cognos content with our proprietary tools. We can help you run Cognos in concert with other BI platforms. You know many of you today are running power BI and or Tableau in parallel with Cognos and we’ve got lots of customers doing that nowadays. We can help you right size your Cognos licensing, make sure you’ve got the right licenses for your actual usage.

We can help you with upgrades to Cognos 11. Those of you who are still on Cognos 10 as Todd mentioned, it is a it’s a bit more of an effort getting to Cognos 11 from Cognos 10. IBM has made it a lot easier to do sort of inversion upgrades between the different 11 releases.

We also offer training on Cognos, Power BI, and Tableau, so check out our website if you’re interested in training on any of those platforms.

Specifically for upgrades, we do offer three different services tied upgrades. We can provide mentoring for your team to help them kind of train them up on how to do upgrades themselves. We can do a quick start upgrade which basically upgrades one of your environments, usually a development or test environment.

And we can do full implementations where we just take the reins and get your systems up to the current version. So reach out to us for information on any of those if you are looking to do an upgrade to 11.2.4.

You can always find additional resources at our website We’ve got blog posts, we’ve got past slide decks from all of our webinars, we’ve got info about upcoming events, tips and tricks. Just a plethora of valuable information, so do check out our website for details.

Upcoming events. We’ve got a number of upcoming events and our schedules have been shifting around. So I’m going to give you both these events with some corrections plus an additional event that has just landed on the calendar. So first up, we’ve got, well, actually our first step, first on this list, we’ve got 7 ways to cut cloud costs now coming up on Thursday, February 23rd, that we’ll be talking about ways to identify where you’re kind of key pain points are and where there might be some cost waste in your cloud environments. So for those of you on Azure AWS, you’ll be interested in that. We’re also starting a new series called Chat with Pat. Our own Pat Powers is going to be doing chat sessions on Wednesdays in the months ahead. A couple of those are coming up soon. The first one will be February 22nd on building visuals in Power BI.

The next one, building reports in Cognos. That’s actually March 22nd, not February 22nd. And finally, we’ve added another webinar on March 16th. Is the star schema dead? We’ve all been hearing for years that the end of the star schema is near, so we’re going to tackle that question on March 16th. And I would encourage everyone to just go to where you will find the schedule information and sign up links for all of these.

It’s here, it’s interests. We’ve been in business for over 20 years. We specialize in modern BI. We work across the entire BI stack and cross-platform. We have expertise in Cognos, Power BI and Tableau.

And we’re happy to help you out with any of your modern BI needs.

22 plus years, to be specific. Look at that. All right, I have to update my mental model. 22 plus years, 1300 Plus clients, 3000 plus projects. We are a boutique company with deep expertise and the ability to give you personalized assistance while also being able to hold the big vision for your organization.

If you’re interested in joining the Senturus team, we are hiring. We’re currently looking for a senior data warehouse in Cognos Pi consultant, as well as a senior Microsoft BI consultant. So if you fall into one of those categories and are looking at a new opportunity, check out our site. It’s against or you can send their resume directly to us at [email protected] and would love to have a conversation with you.

And with that, I’m done with all my spiel. We’re going to turn it back over Todd so he can do it to you Q&A.

Got a question on the resources needed to run the image service. I couldn’t find anything specific on this, it was very vague. I would try to find out about that, and someone asked if there’s any PBU considerations as well. So yeah, I don’t believe it’s going to require a whole bunch of additional resources, but let me see if I can find out more information about that. We are going to post the answers to these questions along with the slide deck on our website. So I will try to get that updated and posted.

So what is this procedure to run on the database when upgrading? I’ve always exported OK. I guess the process of migrating using the Cognos export import versus at the database level. So the database is going to be.

Pretty straightforward. I find SQL Server the most easiest. You can just kind of right click and say backup database and get that file and then either restore it from that file and create another one. So if you have for Cognos 11.1 to 11.2 you have content store 11.1 to back that up, restore it as Cognos 11.2, and when you spin up your new Cognos environment, you just point it to that database and it’s going to.

Depending on the size of your kind of store, it may or may not be faster.

I’ve seen you know gigantic contents or databases that took 24 plus hours to export and then import and it can fail at all different times and there’s errors that happen. So in my opinion I would always push to do the database, it’s just going to be so much quicker than doing the content store export import.

Do the web servers need 32 gigs of RAM and four CPUs? No.

That number I put out before I’m guessing is for just a single server installation where you’d be running the content manager and the dispatcher and the gateway all in the same server. Gateway is going to be super low footprint I’d say. You know you can get by on one CPU, 8 gigs of RAM, it barely uses anything. There isn’t actually a Cognos service running at all. It’s just got some software and some integration and cryptographic keys that are going to allow a talk to your dispatcher and your content manager, so.

Definitely not need to overpower your web servers if that’s all it’s doing on that server.

A question about power play and 11.2. I believe it is supported. I didn’t see the software out there when I downloaded it, but it it’s always floated around on its own. So let me double check and confirm, but I’m pretty sure power play is still somewhat supported.

Another question about the image service. What server doesn’t need to be installed on it? It doesn’t matter. I had the same question for IBM. I was checking with them because I was wondering as well. It doesn’t matter wherever you put it, you’re going to just define where that server is in the configuration screen that I showed. So when you go through manage configuration system, you provide that image service URL. That’s where your.

You’re going to provide the name of the server and the port where you’re running the image server, so you can put it anywhere you put on the gateway dispatcher. If you have a distributed environment, it doesn’t matter, just as long as you specify there where it is. If it does, hopefully again, this gets built into the product a little bit tighter as I mentioned, but this would potentially be a point of failure I guess if you had a high availability or distributed environment. So hopefully down the road they’ll have the ability to have built into the dispatcher.

So if you have multiple servers, you don’t lose that because it potentially could go down in a, you know, a scenario like that.

We are on 11.1.7. Do we have to convert existing queries to reports to report studio to run? Or going forward? We not develop new query studio reports. So again, you can still use query studio analysis studio in 11.2, but the only browser you can do that in is Firefox ESR.

So assuming your organization and you can install that and you can use that. Then you can continue to live on 11.2. If that’s not an option, you they kind of tightly control your browsers, which I know a lot of organizations have Edge only. Or maybe you have edge and Chrome or you have edge with that IE plugin. That IE plugin does not work in 11.2, it’s Firefox for nothing. So if you can get Firefox you can keep running with query studio. But again, I would not continue to develop and use that tool as I mentioned it’s being phased out has been being phased out for seven years and it is 100% gone in 11.3.

A question on workspace. Is there an alternative to workspace that does the same functionality of running multiple reports at once with a single prompt page?

I don’t believe so, that was sort of a nice tool, I thought.

But the only sort of thing I could find that you could do is, is it just build up one big report with tables in Cognos and like reports, dudes that report and just copy your existing queries, copy the containers  list cross tabs visualizations and just put them onto a big page and a Cognos report and build a prompt page that kind of controls all of them. But there isn’t really an equivalent tool like Workspace that I’m aware of.

Dashboarding is going to be interactive like it is, but it’s not going to allow you to kind of take existing reports and just sort of drop them onto a canvas, so there is no equivalent. I don’t know if there’s ever going to be, unfortunately, but that was a nice tool and there’s not really a corresponding tool that does that in Cognos 11.

So the question on active reports, any plan of deprecating active reports, I don’t believe so. That’s another one of those products that’s still supported, but no longer being invested or developed anymore? Um, adding to that list, active reports. I think dynamic cubes are another one of those Transformers. So there’s certain products that are still out there, they’re just not being enhanced. I would say Event studio, but I have been hearing rumors that are completely.

unfounded, but I’ve been hearing rumors that they’re going to redesign event studio and make it more look like Cognos 11 with the glass interface, but no firm answer or anything I could find actually guarantee that. But I have been hearing that that is not dead and they will be bringing that back hopefully. But then studio is just sort of hanging on right now.

Question about does bulk converter convert query to reports report spec work with MFA Octa?

I haven’t tried MFA Octa. I guess I was using Azure AD and it did not work for me. So I would say try it if it doesn’t work.

Maybe see if I don’t know, maybe reach out offline and you can work through it. But I have not had a chance to work with all the different namespaces and authentication providers. So I guess if you want to follow up and let me know if it works or doesn’t work, I’ll be curious.

I had a question about workspace. Can the bulk converter convert workspace? The answer is no, there’s no, there’s nothing to convert to that. That product is not exist. So again you have to kind of create sort of a what I call like a report studio dashboard where you have lots of different objects on the screen at once, or multiple pages and you have it built as with tabs, something like that. But underneath it it’s just a report studio. You could have all different queries, you could have different queries from different packages so you can make it work. It’s just not going to be as user friendly and easy to kind of just drag and drop like workspace.

Let’s see are both the audit and audit extension included?

In the same audit FM package.

They’re completely different products. Even though they sound similar, they both have their own folder in the installation directory that I showed. You know there’s an auto extension and there’s the audit. The audit has its own package and its own set of out-of-the-box reports and the audit extension. Same deal has its own package, its own set of reports. So they’re separate, different data source. They’re completely unrelated.

Another question about audits and audit extension. Is there a tool to delete audit records? Uh, I don’t believe so. That would be something that probably would not want to give you because they are very fond of auditing people. So if you could just delete all that auto records, that would be something they probably would not be cool with. So yeah, I don’t believe there’s anything out there. And again, to mess with those contents or tables is highly dangerous.

I would never delete anything. There’s a lot of interdependencies. You may think you found the record, but there’s 5-6 other tables that are referencing that field and it can completely corrupt your content source, so I would not recommend deleting anything out of there.

Let’s see a lot of questions.

Now Studio is a great tool. Do we have similar functionality if we convert to reports? I would say yes. I do demo this lots of times for people who are trying to get off analysis studio. If you open up a cube or a DMR type package in the reporting tool there are a couple of settings you can change and that that give it a little bit more of a user friendly analysis studio feel. The first is obviously drop across tab in the middle.

If you click on the gear icon in your metadata, there’s some options to display members and then one to when you drag and drop to insert the children and then setting it to page preview mode. So those three settings, if you kind of use them, it will give you an analysis studio kind of look and feel. You’ll drag a dimension into your rows and you’ll see all the values you get a year or your time dimension. The top you’ll instantly see all of the years and months and then you can drag some measures into the body if drillable.

And click up and down. You just don’t have all the buttons and the toolbars that kind of show the hierarchies. It’s missing some of the user functionality, but you can do all the same stuff and you can make it pretty similar. So again if you have.

So the questions or want maybe a demo on that reach out and I can  show you what I’m talking about.

A couple questions actually about that. Same thing in PowerPoint.

Is there an advantage to installing the gateway on its own server apart from the application and content server? So again it depends on.

What your Cognos environment is used for. You know how mission critical it is. If you do need failover or high availability, which is there’s no single point of failure in your Cognos environment, you could lose, a server could crash, and you’re still up and running. It depends on those. But if you’re just a small organization and small group of users, there’s not necessarily a huge advantage to installing the gateway on its own. But as I said, if you want to have.

Each component on a different server somewhere so that any one of those can go down and you’re still up and running. That would be another reason as well as if you want to just have your gateway outside of your firewall expose it to people outside the company, that’s another reason. You could put the gateway outside of your firewall like people publicly hit it, but all the traffic is then being passed through secure ports into your Cognos DMZ.

Lots and lots of ways to kind of configure your Cognos environment, so if you have questions or want to discuss options around that, I can reach out offline and we can work with you and try to review what the best fit for you would be.

A question on how much RAM and core is needed for the CM. They don’t give this information anymore. They used to kind of break out what each component really needed. I would say from past experience I would probably give about 2 to 4 CPUs for the content manager and about 16 gigs.

That could be fine for one organization and another one is just hammering Cognos all day long and maybe you want to have more than that, so 2 CPU, 16 gig bare minimum, but that may not, you know, be the right answer for you. I’d have to know more about you know your specific environment.

Metric Studio is, I believe, fully dead. I don’t think that even made it over to Cognos 11 at all. I think I worked at the client a couple of years ago that was trying to move that over and.

I think the alternative that IBM pushes now is TM1. There’s got there’s some things in TM one that are similar, but there’s nothing in Cognos Analytics that I am aware of today that supports or replaces metric studio.

I need to configure cluster on Cognos to be active passive. How?

Assuming that just had to set the content manager to failover.

I assume that’s what you’re asking there.

Yeah, if you’re if you’re installing in a distributed environment and you install the Cognos content manager component on two different servers, whichever one you bring online first, it has an option to enter multiple values in the Cognos configuration. So you’ll provide server one is primary content Manager, Server 2 is failover.

When you bring that first one online, it becomes active, and when you bring the second one online, it’s going to check with the first one to see if it’s active. If it is, it’s going to say OK, I found an active one. I’m going to sit here and stand by mode and every couple seconds.

It tries to just ping it and see if it’s active, and if it fails it will become active. But it should automatically do that if you configure it right. So it’s just a matter of.

Installing the content manager component on the two servers you want, providing the information for the content manager Uris and the configuration and then the order that you start it and you could test it by bringing one down and seeing if the second one becomes active. They should replace each other.

We are just at the top of the hour, so I’m going to go ahead and wrap things up here and if you have any additional questions, go ahead and put them in the chat again. I’ll grab them all before we leave and post them as soon as I can and thank you all for attending.

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