Upgrading your Cognos environment to 11.2.1? Hardware requirements changed, along with the installer.
Our Cognos expert Todd Schuman walks through the installation and configuration steps on the server side of Cognos Analytics.
Learn what is needed for a smooth transition
- Cognos 11.2 overview
- Installer got smarter
- Upgraded hardware requirements
- Backing up and preserving files
- Upgrade strategy
- Themes and extensions
Practice Lead – Installations, Upgrades and Performance Tuning
Todd has over 20 years of business analytics experience across multiple industries. He also regularly connects with the IBM product development team and has been in the forefront of the Cognos Analytics upgrade and installation process since it debuted.Read more
Q: Is it possible to still install Cognos Transformer?
A: Yes, Transformer is still available, but requires its own separate download.
Q: Is there a new version of Transformer in Cognos Analytics 11.2.1?
A: The latest build of Transformer is 188.8.131.52. IBM occasionally gives it a new start up screen with an updated version number. Here’s a fun fact, you can drop Transformer cubes from Cognos 7 into Cognos 11.2 and report off them. That’s how much (or little) things have changed with PowerCubes.
Q: It seems there is an issue with DMP files in Cognos 11.2.1, how do we address this after upgrade?
A: We not aware of any issues. Please email Senturus at [email protected] if you would assistance to troubleshoot.
Q: Are the installer changes in Cognos 11.2.1 similar for Linux?
A: We know the installer is a separate download in Linux, like Windows 11.1. However, we haven’t had a chance to see if it automatically checks for the server and client zips like it does with Windows.
Q: For a new, over-the-top Cognos 11.2.1 installation, should we install the base and then install the interim fix?
A: No. You don’t need to install the base. All fix packs and interim fixes are full installs.
Q: Did IBM update the base of Cognos 11.2.1 for the Log4j issue?
A: Not that we are aware of. Downloading the 11.2.1 IF3 is the only version that has the source code patched.
Q: We’re getting ready to upgrade to Cognos 11.2.1, are there issues with scheduling and activity that we need to know about?
A: No, we aren’t aware of issues or activity. We do know Cognos 11 schedule and activity screens have been slow and difficult to use with large amounts of schedules. We believe this will be addressed in an upcoming release this year.
Q: Can Cognos Query Studio be used in IE compatibility mode using Edge?
A: Your mileage may vary when using IE compatibility mode in Edge. IBM doesn’t officially support IE compatibility mode for any studios. For all legacy Cognos studios (Query Studio, Analysis Studio, Event Studio), Firefox ESR is the only officially supported browser going forward.
Q: Does an over-the-top install also upgrade all report specs to latest version or is that a separate content maintenance task?
A: The report upgrade task is a separate job outside of the content store upgrade that occurs when starting Cognos services.
Q: Is the content store export/import method necessary when moving from SQL Server to Azure SQL?
A: We believe Azure has its own options when converting standard SQL Server to SQL Azure. Get more information.
Q: We use a custom authenticator provider with the JDBC sample to authenticate our users pointing to SQL. We’re assuming the Cognos 11.2.1 will upgrade many versions of the SDK libraries from 11.0.6 to 11.2.1. Do the jar files need to be recompiled? Are there any other changes in the SDK? We’re concerned our many apps developed 11.0.6 will break.
A: We’re not sure about your custom SDK code. We recommend you use sandbox environment to test what is working and what needs to be modified.
Q: Are there any process or steps to convert legacy Cognos studios (Query Studio, Analysis Studio) in Cognos 11.2.1?
A: IBM has ceased new development on the legacy studios. You can still open and modify existing content in Query Studio and Analysis Studio if you use Firefox ESR as your browser. No conversion steps are required.
Q: How does installer work in the cloud for Cognos 11.2.1?
A: Installer works the same on any supported environment. There is no difference when running in AWS, Azure, Google, etc.
Q: When Cognos 11.2.3 comes out, will it include the interim fix for Log4j?
A: Cognos 11.2.3 will build on previous versions and will have the Log4j patched as part of its release. There may be Interim fixes for 11.2.3, but they will be for other unforeseen issues.
Q: Do you have any information about the next Cognos long-term support (LTS) version?
A: Cognos 11.1.7 is the current LTS release. It sounds like next LTS will be announced December 2022, which will be assigned the latest release number at that time, most likely 11.2.5.
Q: Is the gateway still compatible with MS IIS?
A: Yes, the gateway is still compatible with both IIS and Apache web server.
Q: Is PPES still available in Cognos 11.2.1?
A: Yes, PPES is still available but much like Transformer, it hasn’t been updated since 11.0.
Q: For our distributed environment, does the content management server need to be the same size as a dispatcher server?
A: IBM recommends increasing the content management server ram and CPUs to match the dispatcher server size. How much to increase the size depends on multiple factors. Please contact Senturus at [email protected] or 888-601-6010 if you need help with sizing.
Q: Should we try to move away from using Cognos Event Studio?
A: In general, we encourage clients to move away from the Cognos legacy studios whenever possible. Because IBM is no longer updating the code base for legacy studios, those studios will likely stop working in Firefox sometime in the future.
Q: I am using homemade scripts to stop the servers in a multi-server environment and then clears the temp files weekly. Is that the recommended way to do it?
A: That is a good way to do it. A weekly refresh can will help keep your environment stable.
Q: What version of Cognos Analytics are you using for the demo?
A: Cognos 11.0.x.
Hello and welcome to today’s Senturus webinar on Tips for Installing Cognos Analytics: 11 to 1. Thank you all for joining us.
Couple of quick things before we get started: number one, on your Go to Webinar control panel, you can ask us questions in real-time during the webinar.
Just click on the arrow, shows on the slide here, that will open up the full control panel, where you’ll have the questions pane.
We often answer those questions while the webinar’s in progress, but, if we don’t reply immediately, we will cover it either at the end of the webinar, in our Q&A section, or in a written document that we’ll post on Senturus.com after the webinar is completed.
One of the first questions we often get is, Can I get a copy of the presentation? The answer is absolutely yes. The presentation is available at senturus.com and you’ll find a link to that renewable already in the chat window to webinar.
In terms of today’s agenda, we’ll do some quick introductions, quick overview of Cognos 11.2 to talk a little bit about the Smarter Installer that IBM has created for the latest version of Cognos, We’ll go over the hardware requirements, how to preserve custom files, various strategies for upgrading and the pros and cons of each.
An overview of Senturus as a company and some additional resources that we have available to you, and we’ll wrap up with some Q&A.
Quick introductions. So, the star of our show today will be Todd Schuman, practice lead for Cognos installations, upgrades and optimizations.
Todd has over 20 years of experience across multiple industries. He regularly syncs up with the IBM Product Development team, so these on the cutting edge of where things are going with Cognos, and he’s been working with Cognos pretty much since the day Cognos debuted. Todd lives with his wife and his two daughters outside of Washington, DC.
As for me, I’m Steve Read Pittman. I’m a director here at the Senturus. For the purposes of today’s webinar, I’m just here to do some introductions, oversee things.
We’re going to do a quick poll, just want to get a sense of what version of Cognos you’re on today, So, I’m going to launch the poll here, and we’ll have a little bit of time for everybody to jump in and answer, so, the question is, Are you on a Cognos 10 version?
So, I’m just going to leave the poll open for a little bit longer here. It looks like most of you have already voted.
I’m seeing a lot of Cognos 11. 1 coming in. I’ll give it just a few more seconds.
Let’s go ahead and close out the poll.
I’ll share those results with everybody, so, again, a lot of the Cognos 11.1, nobody using Cognos 8, that’s good to hear.
Still a few people on Cognos 10.
So, we’d love to help you get moved on to the latest and greatest, as probably everybody on this webinar knows, Cognos 10 has been out of support for some time with IBM.
All right, so, with that, we’ll close out the poll page, and, at this point, I will turn it over to Todd and let him take the stage for the real meat of our presentation today.
Thank you, Steve.
OK, going to jump right into Cognos 11. 1, just kind of touch on an overview of the new version, if you haven’t seen it, or you’re not aware. It is a major UI redesign. They’ve been pushing this X theme that was somewhat available in the defaults of the 11.7. If you’re on that version, you may see some references to that.
That is the consistent theme IBM is using for analytics, planning analytics, and some of the Watson products. They’re trying to make them all look and feel the same.
There is a New Welcome Page, New Tabs.
Another major change is the entire navigation panel that used to be on the left, where you had Home Search, my Content, Team contact.
That whole panel is now gone in its place, is what we’re calling the Hamburger menu, it’s stack of abundance and burger’s.
You click on that, and it gives you an expanded menu screen. That’s going to be context specific, so you’ll have access to, you know, the new button.
And, you’ll have reports, dashboards, explorations. You know, things that you’re set up with, your license type will be set up and available to you a little easier to navigate. They’ve also grouped them into some similar types of categories, so we’ve got data specific on exploration, specific groupings, presentations, dashboards, report stories, things like that.
Cleaner than the random list of the different studios like we had, in Cognos 11. 0 and 11.
We’ve also got, instead of the, the team Content, there’s just a button called Content and that’s going to take us to the next screen, which I’m a big fan of, it’s almost like we’re going back in time to Cognos 8 and 10. We’ve got those sort of tabs across the top, like, we used to have with my folders and in public folder. We can customize them, like we do with portal tabs. You can add additional buttons up there.
Even better is now, it’s easier to see the names of the reports.
You had to drag it over or hover over it, kind of get a tooltip, and see what the actual detail name was. Now, we have plenty of space, takes up the whole width.
I can even change things like with a shorter style views, different ways to change that view and just kind of be able to interact with it better.
Checkboxes are back.
So, if you’re moving or crafting files in bulk, it’s just a lot easier and a lot more simple.
You can switch between this detailed list view and tiles.
A lot of effort and thoughts put into a friendly experience.
I’m not going to get too much into the new features of Cognos 11.2. We do have some references on our website.
I did do a blog post on 11.0 when it first came out, highlighting some of my favorite features, just being a longtime Cognos user, myself, there are things I like and don’t like, over the time.
If you want to go even more in-depth, Rachel Su from IBM, who’s the lead projects, at least for reporting on the IBM side, had done a nice webinar for us that you can also view and download and watch that video if you really want to get a highlight of some of this stuff in real time.
So, definitely check out those resources if you’re interested in some more of the front end fancy stuff in Cognos, but we’re going to actually jump into the backend stuff and talk about what’s changed there.
So, we mentioned in the agenda, you know, a smarter installer, What does that mean?
If you haven’t done an 11 install, especially the 11.1, they started to change the whole process of how that works used to download this massive, like a tar g.z. file that you had to extract.
And then you had to extract it again and grab the installer from there and it was just really slow and kind of cumbersome.
So they started introducing a separate standalone installer.
And then you would grab the, either a client, zip file that contain the modeling tools like FM, Cube Designer Query Analyzer, or you would grab a server zip that had all the files you need to install the PI server itself. And that hasn’t changed 11.2.
The one thing that has gotten a little better, like I use the, term smarter with quotes, is in the earlier version you had to browse to the file and run the installer, here’s the file I want to install. It. Now, I believe. Just scans the directory.
It can tell you if it’s found one of those files in the same directory as the installer, and it’ll just present all the options. So, in that bottom right screenshot, you could see, instead of having to pick between the tools and the server and the zip files, it now just says, Hey, I found all these different options that you can install.
Pick the one you want.
For the sake of today, I’m going to be focusing on Cognos Analytics: 11 .2 .1.
Hopefully, they continue to make these things a little bit easier for you as you move through the newer version in new releases of 11.2, and hopefully, even to 11.3 when that comes out.
As far as the calculus components, nothing new here. Maybe just some of the terminology and the naming conventions.
What they call now are the three main components, is the content tier in prior versions.
And I usually just refer to this out of habit as the content manager, and this is sort of the brain of your Cognos environment. It’s going to be responsible for connecting to the database is writing and reading information about your Cognos. When you create a report? It’s going to save that XML, the SQL that drives that.
Your security, your metadata, your models. All that stuff is sort of in its own Cognos contents or database, and that content tier Content Manager piece is what’s going to kind of be in charge of communicating with that.
And, relaying that information to users.
That database is different than the for databases that you’re reporting off of its common area of confusion. When people say, You know, What databases do we have that there’s a separate Cognos content database? You’re not typically reporting off of that that just sort of information strip via Cognos.
The application tier I have again, call this the dispatcher same thing. This is going to be sort of the workhorse this is running your reports.
If you’re looking to have a multi server environment, you’re going to probably have at least two of these to kind of load balance large organizations with hundreds of thousands of users.
You’ll see 4 to 8 of these sometimes in a large multi server environment.
And then, finally, the gateway, AKA the web server, this is somewhat optional in Cognos 11, which was not true in Cognos 10.
But, if you want things, like, single sign on, you want to use SSL.
At image browsing some of the nicer web capabilities, you’re going to need to set up a gateway and leverage something like IIS or Apache. So, those are the three main components.
Just to touch on one other, you can see that unselected in that screenshot is something called Easy install. They’ve had this in prior versions as well.
That is going to really quickly spin up a prototype, very lightweight instance of Cognos where it’s going. It’s bypass the Gateway.
It’s going to set up a small with Apache Derby, l-dap for you. So you can kind of create some users. It’s going to spin up a very lightweight informix database for your content store database.
So you don’t have to go through the extra steps of kind of configuring authentications and namespaces. You don’t have to create connections to, and databases, to create, that kind of store. It does it all for you. So, you can just get it, install it, and started off, you shouldn’t have to really do too much other than that.
But again, it’s going to be very lightweight. I wouldn’t, obviously run that in a production environment, You know, if you want to kind of kick the tires on a sandbox and just see some of the new features and get it up and running quickly, it’s a nice option though, and something that they didn’t have.
You know, way back in the olden days and you had to deal with the, all the configuration challenges that are part of a standard install.
Mentioned, you know, web servers IS Apache.
These have also gotten much easier these day, you know, originally, especially in the early days, 11 0, I think. Before Version five, I want to say somewhere on there, the configuration for IIS specifically was an absolute nightmare.
It requires a bunch of application request routing and URL Rewrite rules that, if you’ve ever looked at those codes.
It’s about 30 or 40 just random characters like . slash question mark tilde slash no and it’s so easy to get those mixed up.
And if you made him one little mistake, your web browser were just completely, you know, fail and you wouldn’t build a connector or browse or anything like that.
So, someone who should probably get an award or a Medal of Honor built this IAS batch file where you literally just plugin.
Where did you install it? What’s the name of your dispatcher?
And a couple other things like do you want single sign on and you just run that file and it creates all this virtual directories, all those rules. There’s no chance of really messing it up.
And that used to be something that you had to download from the IBM website.
It is now just fully embedded in the installation directory, put a little link there, or note.
As to where it is, it’s in your install directory is depending on, you know, if you use the Standard, it’s usually, you know, program files, IBM Cognos analytics and then there’s a CGI bin slash templates slash IIS folder.
And in there, you’ll see that CA, underscore, IIS underscore config . bat file. You just modify that with Notepad OK, Plus, make those changes, and run it, and you are up and running with IIS. So very simple. Very nice. Much, much appreciate it.
Same thing with Apache.
Apache has always sort of been originally a Linux type thing with code base and scripts, but you can run on Windows as well. They provide several different flavors. For Apache two to Apache two for, as well as IBM HTTP Server.
They’ve got SSO and non SSL versions.
Load balancer on load balanced versions, so all kinds of different no flavors of Apache, if that’s what you’re using. And, again, it’s very simple. You just kind of change a couple of parameters that you need to and pointed to where you installed it, and you can get a web server.
So a lot of that pain in challenges that we’re, you know, around in the path of trying to set up that, gateway, are much easier now that they kind of provide these out of the box as part of the installation, So big fan of where that’s headed.
Going into some of the hardware software requirements, these usually do change, not so much on individual releases, But going from 11 0 to 11 I believe there was additional requirements on CPU and ram, and that’s still the case here. They’re kind of continuing too.
Bump up these requirements. So these are the minimum recommendations from IBM, minimum being, you know, you really shouldn’t run it with anything less than this.
Unlike other tools, I know Tableau, for example, does have actual hard requirements.
So, if you tried to, I believe there’s is two CPUs, each other install it on a server with less than two CPUs, it actually will restrict you from installing it. I don’t believe Cognos has any restrictions like that, but you’re going to get for performance, especially around memory, 10 gigs is going to be very small.
I’ve seen people try to install Cognos 11 1, or 11 2on an eight gigs of ram. And just starting it up alone. It’s going to consume all that, allowing, I won’t even start.
So, 10, being very small.
You’re going to probably go higher than that, sending with this space, you know, seven gigs, minimum to install the software. And they say, you know, needle is five gates attempts space.
Not really recommended, but just to, you know, a sandbox or very small environment, You can get away with some of these specs, but, we recommend is going to be a bit higher.
Again mileage may vary, not all users. And, organizations are the same.
You know, if you have five users in your Cognos environment, it’s going to be a much different set of specs than we would provide view if you have one thousand plus users around the globe hitting the server, you know, 24 hours a day.
But, a good starting point, I would say, you know, it is four CPUs. I would go 32 gigs of ram.
Disk space is dirt cheap now, at least 20 gigs for the install, and I usually like to throw out 100 gigs of temp space, those things can get chewed up quickly, especially with heavy usage.
And, it’s always a pain when you’re running into those issues as this space, and you’re trying to add more and scramble to get it on there. If you can just get a new VM, really taking care of before you install it, it’s going to make it just a lot smoother and lower stable.
Content store databases.
Again, I mentioned this earlier with sort of talking about the Cognos Manager, the Content Manager Content Tier component.
These are the databases that are strictly about Cognos. So, this list here is not the full list of databases that Cognos can connect to. These are just the only for that Cognos allows you to host that content store database.
So, SQL Server, 2012 to 2019, or the supported versions, 2018, I believe they ended support with that with 11.1, Maven 11.
I forget, but 2008. If you’re still on it, you’re going to have to get off of that.
And even 2012, you know, you’re really on the, the old edge of technology.
If you’re going to be doing an upgrade, I try to get, as many of these things are created as possible and try to get as far as to that right as you can. So, if you can get SQL 2019 or Oracle 18, 19, you know, one of those later versions, just going to make your life easier.
You’re not going to have to know you’re up-to-date on Cognos, but now you’re OS and your databases are expired and you have to upgrade them in, go through a lot of the reconfiguration.
And all this work again, so planning your upgrades, try to get everything as far to the right, the current as possible ALP just a lot happier up.
My opinion And then, I suppose, SQL Server is, if anybody is using Azure.
For there, there are cloud based environments. You do have what’s called an Azure SQL database, which is really easy.
You can just click a couple of buttons and spin up databases. You can put your content store right in there. They work great. We’ve got, you know, some sandboxes and some prototypes that we run its interests. We use Azure. We’ve got several of these databases running content stores for different environments, for auto databases, notification databases. So really nice if that supported.
Now, Oracle obviously been around forever. It does for Oracle 11 G, R two, but again, that’s super old. Talking 10 plus years, now, it’s time to move on.
12, even that’s somewhat old, I’d go 18 or 19 if you can.
DB two, you know, another IBM products, version says they’re 10, 5 level one, level five, and then informix, not as commonly used, but if you do use that, that supported it. Also I mentioned that sort of quick easy install option. It’s going to install a version of informix similar to that. That’s going to be sort of lightweight and you’ll be able to use that for the easy custom install.
The little joke here that I always enjoy when people say they have an Excel database that is not a database browsers. This is another big one.
Chrome, Edge, Chromium, Firefox, the ESRB version, and Safari, are the supported versions IE has finally been put out to pasture.
Should we do a poll. Will you miss it, yes or no? I’m going to guess what people are going to say, no.
My, my favorite joke about it is, the only thing it was really good at was downloading other browsers, so see you later, Internet score, not going to miss you.
Good news is, these new browsers all work great. I personally prefer edge for Chrome also works great.
If you do need the old query analysis to access to those old legacy studios’, you’re going to probably have to stick with Firefox and the ESRI version, which is a different version then, than the regular built the Firefox full support query studio and Analysis Studio.
But again, you know, those products for notified out, I want to say 2015 by IBM that, hey, we’re going to be pulling the plug on this is, I tend to one, was possibly the last version. They continue data and tend to two, but it’s been a long time.
It’s time to move off those tools.
You know, you’re going to be continually losing support over time, so always good to get onto the latest technologies.
So, goodbye Internet Explorer, Stick to these browsers, and you’ll be good in 11 to 1.
Preserving custom files, we’ll talk about upgrades strategies, and over the top what that means.
But the nice, thing about the installation process is, once you are on 11, even if it’s 11 0, you’re now able to install over the top, which means you grab the newest version.
When it says, Where do you want to install it? You point it to where you currently have Cognos installed and it’s going to update everything.
It’s going to keep your configuration mostly intact.
You may have new, um, areas that you may have to complete.
If it’s, you know, you’re going for a really old, like, 11, 0 to 11 2, there’s diff.
Possibly digital fields. You’ll have to kind of fill in. things like your gateway URI, your dispatch, or URIs your namespace, authentication and databases, all that stuff. That should all be preserved. So you don’t have to really get reconfigured too much.
Um, however, you know, there are things that you may want to save, it’s going to rewrite a lot of the code in that installation directory.
So if either kind of make sure you know where those files are. And back them all out and put them in a separate directory and then move them back.
Or somewhere, I want to say in 11, 1, they introduced this preservation of this preserve . text file.
It’s in the installation directory under Analytics Configuration Preserve. And it allows you to call out specific folders and images, or sorry, in files. And say, hey, when you’re upgrading, don’t touch these files. I want you to keep them intact.
And it does also preserve a couple other files out of the box.
I put the link there, that’s a hyperlink as exceptions. You can see exactly, you know, what is preserved and what is it.
So if you see in that, list there, something that is not being preserved, and you need to make sure it is, made sure you update this file. And that way, when you do upgrade, you’ll have everything you need going forward.
Another thing is always backup, even with the preservation file, I have had installs for whatever reason.
Just go bad.
For no reason, I could never figure out, it would just wipe a directory, I completely wipe out your Cognos installation directory.
Things can go route, go wrong very easily.
So, always backup your content store database before doing an upgrade.
And you can, if you’ve got VMs, you know, do a VM snapshot, get a copy of that image before just in case you need to roll back, it can be catastrophic. So, I’d say most time it does work well, but Murphy’s Law, definitely in play here, you always want to make sure you have some, backups.
Upgrade strategies. So, I kind of mentioned earlier over the top, we’ll talk about that.
Other option is doing a fresh install and migrating the content through a database backup. And then, the other option being, you know, a fresh install. But, we do the old export import of the content storage to the Cognos deployment screens.
So, over the top, I’d say, this is probably the most common type of upgrade that we do now.
You have to be on Cognos 11, in order to do this, the Old Cognos 10 world.
They were always sort of, you know, lift and shifts, type install.
So, even if you’re, you know, you’re on Cognos tend to one, tend to do looks almost exactly the same, but for whatever reason, you had to install to a new directory, or a new machine completely reconfigure everything. Kind of is a pain.
Unnecessary, in my opinion, 11, again, you just pointed to installation directory, that you’ve already got Cognos 11 running.
It’s going to look and see what versions there. It’s can also be able to determine the components so it’s not going to prompt you again if you want.
You know a content manager and a gateway on one server and a dispatcher and a content manager or another server it already is able to pick that up.
It’s going to update the components for you keeps your config basically current. It’s very fast. It’s very simple in my opinion. You don’t even want to do anything either. Just keep clicking next into pointed to in a directory and you’re done.
So I’d say that’s definitely the easiest way to stay up to date. If you’d like to be kind of on the cutting edge, photographers do multiple releases a year, each one can actually contains the features and functionality. So if you’d like to be on that bleeding edge, you can definitely this is the approach to go.
There are several, you know, disadvantages to this.
The biggest one being the lack of parallel testing, So since we’re upgrading directly on an existing server, once we upgrade that server, we don’t have a chance to kind of compare it against the old one.
We also have to sort of implement a code freeze or some outages where developers no longer able to do work, because for upgrading and testing other issues. No, we’re doing it right at the top.
So we’re not taking the time to do any kind of review of audit history and see what’s being used for kind of keeping all the old junk, as is, which, again, makes it quick and easy. We just upgrade everything. And don’t care what’s out there.
But it can be helpful when doing upgrades, too.
Take an assessment an inventory of what you have, and figure out, is it something that we want to keep for? Can we actually archive this, or delete it, and kind of keep our environment clean?
Also, with the overtime upgrades, that means that you’re not getting a new server, you’re going to continue to use the old hardware, which is fine.
But, over time, you know, it can’t become an issue. So, we’ve got some clients that are still running, you know, Windows Server 2012.
And, you know, now’s a good time. Instead of, let’s keep upgrading that same version over and over again. Maybe we should actually look at the possibility of spinning up a new VM, getting on Windows Server 2019, and getting some new hardware, things like that. Other issues are the rollout, you know?
So, because we are basically upgrading an existing environment, everyone is going to need to get back into it says it’s online.
Whereas, if we had two different servers, and we kind of kept the old one, and had a new one, we can kind of slowly add users in, in individually or in groups, and have them kind of get some feedback to see U.a.t. testing.
Whereas, you know, over the top, it’s just going to be, OK. I’ve created, done, Go get in there, everyone, and we’ll let you know, or let us know how things go.
So that’s all over the top. Again, probably the most preferred method, but just have some downsides.
The other method is called a fresh install, which is going to give you a brand new servers. New hardware new OS. The OS is going to be completely clean. Well, that’s times the servers, but hanging around for 5 to 10 years. There’s all kinds of extra jogging or old, old, versions of Cognos, never got uninstalled and other products that people were, you know, on there.
Lots of junk. So, we’re getting a brand-new, nice and clean operating system.
We also have the ability to do that, that parallel testing I talked about, So, Cognos, you know, 11.1 is running on the old server. We’ve got 11.2 right on the new server.
We can compare side-by-side. We can say, Hey, this report, how long this record to take on y’all?
When run and sorting, you know, in 10 seconds, now, I took 15 seconds before. So, we’re actually getting better performance.
We can even use tools like Life Cycle Manager, their third party tools out there from Modo NBSP.
That let you, in addition, regression testing, and things like that, those tools are going to require, you know, two different environments that kind of compare and contrast and benchmark.
And, again, you lose them with over the top, with this type of installing new servers, we actually get that ability to do that.
And, again, since we got a brand new server, we could do phased rollouts where we’d let any you know groups of people one at a time or in chunks and have them kind of test it out, load, test, it, run report, see how things look.
Some negatives to this approach are: we’re talking about a complete reconfigure.
You’re starting from scratch with your guys’ configuration.
I mean, you can export and bring things over, but you’re going to have different server names, you’re going to have just some, some things you’re going to have to reconfigure.
It’s not as seamless as the, or the top, did it with drivers, and it’s supported software. You had to make sure you get all those installed and configured and, when we do the database migration, we’re going to do with the database level.
So, we’re going to take a backup of the current content store, move that backup to get another database, or, we’ll keep it on the same database server and restore it as a new database on their schema at Oracle.
And then, we can have Cognos running on that, so, each each version, we only have one active database being used.
So, we had basically a snapshot in time of the old Cognos content database, so it’s going to give us a perfect clone of all the content and information.
However, the longer you wait to upgrade and to move people into that new environment, you’re going to have daily activities, whether it’s new cockney reports, creation, modifications, run, activity set, outputs. Those things are going to be happening in the old environment that aren’t being captured in the new environment. So you’re going to have to need to keep track of them and manually move them over.
Or you’re going to have to eventually just drop that snapshot that you use for the new version and restored again with a fresh version.
Decisions, you have to kind of make, when you kind of go live, and how you want to sync up that Delta. Here’s where we are now. Do we need to kind of capture that missing information.
So, challenges that don’t exist with other options, but again, you got to weigh the pros and cons and see what the best option for your upgrade approach is.
And then finally, the last one is very similar to the previous.
It’s going to give us some of the same benefits.
We have parallel testing, phase rollouts, other benefits of the export import is we’re going to have a little bit more control over the content.
So we can either choose a full content store deployment, where we can just say, hey, bring over everything, and import the whole thing at once. Or we can say, let’s do it in chunks, Let’s bring over the HR report. Let’s bring over the accounts payable reports. You can use the deployment tool, the export import, and manually bring things over. You know, in time, it happens. You just are testing it that way. Do you have a lot more control over what content is getting moved?
Another nice feature about this, and this is the only 1 that allows, this, is if you are switching vendors.
So, if you’re going from, say, SQL server or Oracle, or vice versa, there’s no way to kind of get a database backup out of. You don’t want to load it into another as far as I know are not easily. With that content store export. That file can then be just imported to Kai Gust: Front End.
And it will load into, you know, whatever that new Target system database is, assuming it’s black.
So we can take an old SQL kind of store, run it through the Cargo Finance and export, spin up a new version of Cognos 11, haven’t pointing to Oracle, import that zip file and it’ll write it and populate all the tables in Oracle.
So nice feature there, especially if you’re living between DVD vendors, and that’s really the only option you’re going to have, that that’s your challenge.
Negatives to this approach again, we’re talking about reconfiguring all service for doing a brand-new fresh install. This method is extremely slow, especially large contents or databases.
With thousands of reports, I’ve seen this, especially a full contest or export, take over a day, sometimes a day and a half.
It does require some babysitting.
I’ve seen it, you know, crap out, after, a long period of time, which is painful, gets, kind of restart the whole thing.
So it is slow, I can really don’t use it as much as I used to back in the earlier days. Database backup, certainly much quicker.
You have to re-install your drivers software, you’re going to have that Delta again.
With Code freeze means you can continue to run deployments, you know, from old to new as often as you need, especially if you know the reports that are being changed, but you’re not going to be in sync until you actually go live in search. That’s on the old version.
Then finally, the last one is the my folder content. You’re only going to get that in a full content store export, so if that’s something that’s crucial, you need to make sure all that stuff comes over.
You’re going to want to use the full content store deployment, not sort of the the browsing option, where you can kind of like individual folders and and things like that.
Talk about fixed packs and interim fixes.
Specifically log for J You may or may not have seen, there was all over the news, I believe, I want to say the end of December or January it was basically affected millions of different servers and environments.
Everyone, basically, he’s using this log for J Cognos was specifically affected by this.
So, they did have several patches out there called Interim Fixes that addressed this issue.
So, I put a little screenshot on here that shows the version and interim fix that you need to patch log for Jason, if you haven’t done this, I would recommend doing it.
Is a severe vulnerability they have for 1 and 2 is Interim fix three for an 11.1 as interim fix eight, and if you’re somewhere between 11 0, 6, and 11 0, 13, F P four, there’s Interim fix five.
Interim fixes I usually don’t recommend people apply unless you’re instructed to do so by, you know, an IBM Support ticket.
These are usually to address specific one off issues.
Fixed packs are not the same. Fixed packs are usually much more recommended. I do recommend usually always saying I know it is fixed back, that’s going to provide hundreds if not thousands of bug fixes to the version you’re on.
I know a lot of people based on the poll are on 11.7, the long term support release.
There are several fixed packs for that and they are definitely worth keeping up to date on.
The interim fix is, you know, it’s if it’s not broke, don’t fix it, don’t usually apply interim fixes unless you are specifically suffering from one of the issues that you are told that it addresses.
So other than this log for J issues, stick with the fixed pack don’t touch IF’s unless you are instructed to do so by IBM or someone who is well aware of the issue that it addresses. I didn’t put on here, just in case you were curious. I was curious myself, Cognos 10 is A, basically A dead products, and not supporting anymore. But I was curious if it was affected by log for J if X Apparently, it is not. It uses a V one version of log for J. So you’re actually looking out if you’re still on Cognos 10, you don’t have to worry about patching it.
But you also are completely unsupported.
And that tool should be are basically is phased out as far as IBM is concerned.
So, maybe a good time to upgrade too.
Speaking of versions, another question we often get is, you know, how do I determine what version I’m on? They did, they get a little better in Cognos 11, you can click on, I believe, like a question mark about button, somewhere in the top right corner, there’s a little link.
It’ll tell you the major and minor village around which digitally 11.1 and maybe even the release. But beyond that, especially with fixed packs, you have no idea what you’re on from the front end. There’s no way to tell it from an end user.
So you have to go into the server into your installation directory and as a file it in the very roots install directory called the CMP LST. that tax, if either open the ticket with IBM. They’re probably the first thing they ask for you to send them this file.
This tells them everything about the version you’re on, and in the top of this file, there’s something called the manifest.
And that will basically give you this kind of major build, like you’ll see 11, 1 7 there.
This slide, as well as that table, which may be hard to read, that’s exactly what you know, build your on, if it’s a fixed pack. If it’s an interim fix, what have you.
So definitely something to keep a reference of, and if you need to know what version you’re on, just kind of grab that file and send it out, but this link.
And you’ll be able to kind of keep track of what it is, because it’s definitely not something that’s user friendly. I don’t know why.
They can’t just put the the words fixed pack for interim fix three. And there they have to use these cryptic codes.
But it’s it’s job security.
And then, last but not least, what’s going on with new versions?
11.2 has been really slow, in my opinion, and especially compared to the other versions of Cognos 11, And we got 13, I believe, releases on 11 . 0.
We got about 7 and 11.1. And, it’s been over six months, and we’re still on 11 2 1.
It’s been extremely slow. I’m not sure if that’s due to just that trying to tighten things up.
And some of the releases and other versions, you know, offered more features, but they also introduce more bugs, so, hopefully, the new versions will be pretty well tested and no issues.
We are, according to my sources at IBM, getting a 11. 2. 2 release by the end of this month, end of Q1 they’re trying to commit to 11. 2. 3 should be coming out shortly after sometime in Q2.
I’m told that it’s going to be a major conversion. A lot of those features and add new features, that are still in that Cognos 10 Admin console. There’s still a lot of things you have to do for the all when they’ve been converting things.
Like, you know, security and accounts and, things like that over to the new Cognos 11 UI, but still a ton of things like content administration, and things like that, are still in the old admin console. They’re going to be moving the majority, If not all of that starts, finally, into the managed panel.
It should hopefully have some enhancements there, as well.
I’m also told they’re going to finally fixed schedules, which, in my opinion, are almost completely useless.
If you’ve got more than 5100 schedules, the new activities, pain is just really slow and on user friendly. So that’s also supposed to get a redesign.
I’m also hearing they may add some event studio stuff, capabilities, all this complete speculation. You didn’t hear from me. But, that is supposed to be a big 7. 2.3 for administrators. And then finally, 11.2 will be going into long term support. I’m not sure how many Moralists we’re going to get beyond the R three version in Q two.
Hopefully, we get 1 more 1 or 2 more each quarter.
But somewhere probably around 11 to 4 or 5, maybe 6 for lucky, will be sort of the end of the 11.2 life cycle that will go into that long term support, and you’ll have about two years of fixed packs, similar to what we’re experiencing right now at a Level 1, 7. So that is the Roadmap. I do.
If you don’t follow our website, or follow me or Senturus on LinkedIn.
Definitely follow us, I do post blogs.
Since I get the information, I’m usually able to get couple of weeks out.
Just high level information, it’s a screenshots on, new versions, new features, things like that, from some of the IBM management team, so I’ll try to share those with you.
So definitely follow us on LinkedIn and our website, and keep up to date with those. And with that said, I’m going to turn it back over to Steve to wrap things up, So thank you very much.
All right, thank you, Todd. Just a few quick things here before we go into the Q and A session.
First and foremost, getting help with your Cognos upgrade, Senturus is available. We provide a variety of services to help with upgrades. We can help you as much or as little as you need, And we can do that in a variety of ways. We offer mentoring if you want sort of hands-on guidance.
And training for your team on how to do installations and upgrades, we can do side-by-side mentoring, providing our expert guidance on transferring knowledge to your team. You also provide quickstart upgrades where we basically help you get a development environment up and running, and we provide full documentation for your reference on that to help you with subsequent upgrades. And last but not least, and honestly the most common situation is for us to provide a full implementation for upgrades since upgrades tends to be infrequent. They’re often isn’t a lot of them have some knowledge for the activities that are involved there.
So, it’s pretty common for us to come in and run the whole upgrade, working with your team as needed, to keep everything moving forward.
And beyond that, I just want to point you to some additional resources.
So in addition to this webinar, we have a wide or a wide array of resources available to you. That’s senturus.com/resources. Jump over there and check out the free material.
A little bit of quick background on Senturus we concentrate on BI modernizations. And migrations across the entire BI stack, we provide a full spectrum of services including training and Power BI, Tableau. So, even, though today’s webinar is Cognos focused, we are not just the Cognos folks, and we really do focus on helping with migrations shine and hybrid environments.
We do have many clients today, are, using multiple systems, becoming a pretty common situation.
We have a long, strong history of success: We’ve hit our 21st birthday, over 1300 clients, over 3000 projects.
So, a lot of work under our belt, and we’re happy to help you out in whatever was needed.
Lastly, if you’re looking for work, we are looking for a few very specific rules. and we’re always interested in talking to talented and experienced professionals. So, if you happen to be a Java Developer senior, Azure Architect, or a Cognos BI architect and project manager, we’d love to speak with you.
We’re always looking to have good, solid people join our team, so you can click through the links here in the presentation to get more info on that.
And, with that, let’s move into the Q and A We’ve got a lot of questions in the question panel, popular webinar here today. First and foremost, there were a number of questions about the long-term support release, and I jumped the gun, and I said, we didn’t have info. I should let the expert. It turns out, as Todd shared, and these recent slides and Jerry Grogan pointed out, question panel, Cognos 11.2 will go into long-term support in December 2022. Until today Cognos 11.1.7 It’s still the current LTS version.
I see a question here about transformer and that is still supported, is its own stand alone product really hasn’t changed at all?
I think they occasionally just change the splash screen to say, 11.0, 11.1. That product and even Framework Manager haven’t changed at all. Although, FM is included in the client tools yet to get a separate download for transformer.
So, still supported, hasn’t really changed, it just not part of the, installations that are the screenshots that I captured today, which are just the server and the client.
It’s not included in that client, zip file, unfortunately, so get access to passport advantage. And keeping is kind of, describe that installer from there and it should be very similar to what you’ve had in the past.
If you can’t really afford to have any downtime, and you don’t have the bandwidth to deal with occasional troubleshooting. Then you may want to hold off for long-term support if there’s new features and functionality that you really need that it may be worth offsetting that risk a little bit to get some of those new features functionality. So, again, it depends.
I would say, but, what I’ve seen 11.1 has been pretty stable, and it works pretty well.
The biggest challenge, I would say, if you’re, if you’ve been heavily using extensions and themes, and customizing the look and feel of your Cognos 11.0 rollout in one environment, you may. We definitely want to set up like a sandbox before you upgrade, because there are just major UI changes. You’re going to want to kind of test those out. So that would be the biggest challenge.
A lot of the underlying reporting, the engines and stuff behind the scenes, hasn’t changed much. But the front end UI has, has definitely changed significantly.
And it’s also in, I believe, at the blog and in Rachel’s presentation.
But if you’re a big dashboard user, another big feature I didn’t touch on is they really enhance the initial load time of those dashboards, they did a side-by-side comparison of 11 1.
You’re loading the same dashboard, would take 15 to 20 seconds for that thing, and all the widgets to come through 11.2, they manage to really increase the performance of that. I think it loads up and just like, one or two seconds, so, you’re big on dashboards. A lot of users are using dashboards and Cognos, then, you may want to definitely check out 11 2. It’s going to give you some serious performance improvements there.
Can there is a legacy studio? It’s really buried in the product right now.
I am told that they are working on getting more integrated Cognos 11 look and feel for that tool? It’s still very heavily used.
I think they are aware that people really love that tool. But that said, it’s still not an official, really announcement.
They haven’t officially listed anything, so I’d say use it sparingly and continue to use it, but I wouldn’t invest in creating a bunch more events at this point. So, they confirm that.
Sometimes they’ll say things and they’ll ultimately reverse course.
Certainly, with the other legacy studios, you know, you should not be creating any new query studio Analysis Studio Reports, workspace, you know, all that stuff. Those are all pretty much deprecated products, even though event Series, not Deborah.
I don’t believe there’s just There hasn’t been a lot of support for it, in the new version. So, use it with caution.
When you moved to Cognos 11, they wanted to make it as clean as possible.
So, there’s something that the reports feature having called interactive mode that allows you to click on the data in your Cognos viewer and do things like sorting and filtering.
You can swap rows and columns. You can create custom calculations.
There was a question about the interim fixes. Everything now, with the fixed packs, and the interim fix is just the full bill. You had to get installed. A separate installer and the servers, that file, just like you do for regular install and there, you know, 4 to 5 gigs for the server, I believe, so, it’s a full install. You don’t have to have anything previously installed to get the patch.
You know, interim fixed version, that’s a little bit little confusing there, how they kind of call it patching, even though it’s just it’s the full build you’re basically wiping out and installing over the top.
Question life cycle manager, I don’t believe it’s being deprecated.
They don’t really push it as much as they were, you know, couple of years ago.
But it is still part of the, the product, one of the products that they offer.
I usually preface it by saying, you know, you kind of get what you pay for it and it’s free.
It can be useful in small amounts of testing. But you couldn’t know Handoff hundred or a thousand reports and say, you know, go compare these, you know, with the old version a new version and spit out the results, at the end of the day, it’s going to choke. It needs to be some hand all thing. It doesn’t deal with complex prompt pages very well.
If you’re looking to do automated testing, you’re probably in a better serve going, you know, with third party vendor that does focus specifically on that type of testing. It’s just not really up to the task, but it can be helpful.
And, you know, if you’re looking at, you know, small chunks and you had time to kind of work through it a bit.
Someone asked about the log for J, so that the base, 11 to 1 that you get, I believe, from Passport Advantage, is not passed. You have to go to the fixed Central and get the I F three in order to get that log for J patch.
I didn’t mention this. I think I forgot to speak to it.
Those IF fixes are sort of just software version fixes from IBM.
If you don’t want to do that, there is sort of a manual process where you can get a new log for J file that doesn’t have vulnerability. You can place that into your installation directory. There’s steps out there to manually replace the files yourself.
You’re going to have to edit some of the config files, it’s a bit cryptic INO.
Go into some of the source files and re point things to use the new log for J files that are going to replace the old ones. So, it’s a little bit more manual work but it can be done. The biggest issue with that. It has happened to other people I know is if you forget to.
If you did it, and you try to upgrade to a new version, it’s going to that file is actually that you modify as. It’s automatically getting wanted to preserve file locations.
It doesn’t get updated, and it’s going to remove the log for J file, but you’re still going to have references to it in that source file. So, it’s going to give you a very cryptic hard to debug, or we try to start up a new version of Cognos.
So, make sure you make a note if you do that approach, because you’re going to have to come back and tweak it later. You can run the IF’s patch it that way, you don’t have to kind of deal with that in the future. So, just something that get lost in the weeds with an upgrade, that, you know, you don’t touch for six months, and you come back, and you’re going to be your hair out, trying to figure out why, is because he modified a source file six months ago.
Someone asked a question here about content store export imports and weather Report specs are automatically upgraded, I’m sorry, actually confusing two questions here, when you do an over the top upgrade to 11 2, or the report specs and the contents were automatically upgraded or else, I think it’s great.
So, it’s going to automatically upgrade the content store database.
There, it, depending on what version you’re going from, You know, like that they introduced like explorations and new objects, know, from version to version, depending on how far what jumps you make. You may or may not get changes to your, kind of start with our certificates, schema updates between versions.
So, if you were to upgrade 11 0 to 11 1, that database can no longer be connected to from the old version.
It’s been upgraded.
I upgraded that happens to the actual database schema on the tables itself, which is different than the report spec upgrades, and that all versions, the reports change. But some versions they do, and if you, I usually just run it anywhere at your upgrade.
Within the Content Administration tab, I’m in the old admin console, there’s A an option, or a content manager activity or task, and you can kick off called Report Upgrade.
And you can feed it individual folders at a time where you can give it the whole content store, or the whole team content folder, and it’ll go and upgrade the specs. If they’re upgrades to be made into kind of spit out the detail.
Upgraded 125 Report Seal. Forget it, upgrade zero didn’t, you know? one error, or things like that.
So four specs needs to be upgraded, which is different than the actual database itself, which will be upgraded to a new schema for, typically, each version is going to have its own scheme.
I think I have seen a couple of versions that didn’t necessarily change the database. But that’s why I say always backup that content store.
Because if you do upgrade it, and then you forget, and you have to roll back to earlier version, that content store is not going to be recoverable. It’s it’s already been upgraded.
Thanks, Todd. So we’re coming up on the top of the hour everyone. So I think we should wrap up here, if we didn’t get to your question in real time here today. Do check our website for the questions.
If you have a broader question that doesn’t fit well into a single sentence, please reach out to us. You can contact us at [email protected] and we’ll be happy to set up a free consultation. Discuss your needs and with that, thank you everyone for attending today, and we do appreciate you taking the time to come and sit with us today if you need any more info. Or if you’re looking for help with upgraded, you can reach us at [email protected] or, if you like making phone calls, you can reach us at (888) 601-6010. We are always happy to talk about anything and everything Cognos and beyond. So, if you happen to be using the performance, We’re happy to help you with your hybrid environment, as well.
So, with that, thank you, Todd, for all of your wisdom today.