Cognos Express on Amazon AWS

Cognos Express on Amazon AWS is a great combination for small to mid-level companies that either don’t have the resources to purchase and maintain their own physical server or do not want the headache. With Amazon AWS, you can start a server in minutes with any combination of OS and software that you desire. So if you would like to start your Cognos Express on a MS Windows Server 2012 with SQL server… you can do that. You then have the option to select the CPU’s and Memory combinations for the amount of power you need on that server. You can add storage and multiple drives. These drives are not instance specific so you can detach a drive from one instance and attach to another instance without losing the software and data on that drive. We think that is a great feature.

Connectivity

You have the option to apply inbound/outbound rules on your instance. So if you would like to open specific TCP or HTTP Ports, you have the ability to do that. This is required if you would like to allow remote access to you application either through a gateway or through mobile. You also the ability to give your instance a static IP address that does not change. Once the instance is up, you can set the server with a domain name of your choice. You then could apply your company’s domain to this server.

Instance management

You can start and stop this instance at will. You can setup maintenance routines for the server on the AWS management console. This console also allows for managing your instances in many different ways. It allows you to have multiple instances and have them load balanced based on your traffic needs. Also as mentioned earlier, you can manage the size of your instance without losing data allowing an increase in the size of the drives. Add more processers and memory with a few clicks.

Software installations

Once your instance is ready, you can install any licensed software on it. Restarts are a breeze and they do not require any special permissions.

Cost

The cost of the server is dependent upon the processors and the memory that you choose. The charges are per hour of use. The cost goes up substantially from a medium size server to a large server. In most cases the medium size server will be sufficient for Cognos Express but it also depends on the data needs. The cost can also go up as the model grows and more space is needed. You’ll have to make that consideration up front before you go down the AWS path. Amazon AWS support can help you with sizing and future needs.

Conclusion

In the end, AWS is a great choice for an organization that does not want a server on premises and want to start and manage a robust environment without relying heavily on IT resources. These servers can be managed by one individual who has basic knowledge of servers and networking

Moving Cognos Enterprise BI to Cognos Express BI

Recently, one of my colleges wrote about an easy and cost effective way to add BI or TM1 to your small Cognos deployment which you can find by clicking HEREI’m going to take that a little further and explain how you can move your Cognos Enterprise BI content store over to your new Cognos Express bi system.

It's a fairly easy process to move to Cognos Express and it can be done relatively quickly.  You will need to be the Cognos admin to accomplish the following steps:

  1. Log into Cognos BI and go to the IBM Cognos Administration
  2. Go to Content Administration
  3. Choose export from the icons to the right side of the screen
  4. Name your export and click next
  5. Select entire content store and choose if you need to include user info
  6. Select new archive and name it
  7. Create a password
  8. Choose save and run now, later, or just once
  9. Finish

You have now downloaded your entire content store to a zip file that you can move onto your express server and import in.  The process to import in is fairly easy and can be accomplished by the following step:

  1. Log into Cognos BI and go to the IBM Cognos Administration
  2. Go to Content Administration
  3. Choose import from the icons to the right side of the screen
  4. Select your exported file (if you don’t see it, you have not added it to your deployment location)
  5. Name your import then Next
  6. Make sure you check the box next to the name on this page or you will not import anything then Next
  7. Shouldn’t need to change anything here then Next
  8. Next
  9. Choose save and run now, later or just once
  10. Finish

You have now imported your exported content store from Cognos Enterprise to Cognos Express.  *Important note – Make sure all of your data sources and data bases have been set up and configured properly or your reports will not render any data.

That’s it!  Simple process to move your content in BI from Enterprise to Cognos Express!

Cognos Express 10.2.1 Fix Pack 2

Great news for Cognos Express users!!! The Cognos Expressa more comprehensive look on what issues have been corrected. The fixes outlined in the link below include:

Cognos Express 10.2.1 Fix Pack 2

  • It provides important product corrections and these should be applied to all installations at your earliest convenience.
  • It includes conformance support for Excel 2013 (32-bit).
  • The Fix Pack 4 concerning Cognos Business Intelligence 10.2.1 and Fix Pack 2 Interim Fix 1 concerning Cognos TM1 10.2 are also addressed.

Things to note…This fix pack requires that Cognos Express 10.2.1 is already installed. An existing installation may optionally include interim fixes for Cognos Express 10.2.1. Our fix packs are cumulative by design. Hence Cognos Express 10.2.1 Fix Pack 2 includes all updates from earlier Cognos Express 10.2.1 Fix Packs and interim fixes.

http://www-01.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg24038542

Cognos Express Savings on TM1 and BI

​Is Cognos Express right for you?

Betty Lou (fictitious name) called me and said she needed a better tool for budgeting. She’s done with the annual Excel process that is very laborious. Betty Lou wanted a better planning and forecasting solution that would plug into her Cognos BI. Someone told her to check out TM1. As I pulled Betty Lou’s entitlements, I noticed she had 1 Analytics Admin, 2 Business Analytics Explorers and 15 Business Analytics Users for a total of 18 users on an Enterprise licensing model. She said she would only need about 18 licenses for TM1. Read on to see how Cognos Express Savings on TM1 and BI can be yours!

Based on Betty Lou’s requirements, Betty Lou should be looking at the IBM Cognos Express licensing model. Express is a midmarket/departmental solution that has most of the functionality of the Enterprise IBM Cognos licensing model but at a fraction of the price. IBM restricts the Express licensing to less than 100 totals users of which no more than 50 can be TM1 and a single server installation. Betty Lou could easily live with the restrictions. The problem is that Betty Lou’s existing BI licenses were purchased prior to IBM creating Express and therefore were Enterprise licenses. Because Express and Enterprise are not designed to talk together, one would assume Betty Lou would have to purchase Cognos Enterprise TM1. Not necessarily!

Cognos Express Savings

Enterprise BI Clients Purchasing Cognos Express TM1

IBM Cognos Clients that have small BI deployments and want to purchase less than 50 TM1 users, may want to look at Cognos Express. Cognos Express has a license that includes TM1 and BI in one user. This allows you to invest in Cognos Express for TM1 (much cheaper than Enterprise) and move your BI content to Cognos Express so the TM1 users can leverage your existing BI work. How cool is that? Lodestar Solutions did some preliminary testing for Betty Lou and were amazed how easy it was to move the BI content to Express. (Anticipate a future blog and video on this topic).

Enterprise BI Clients with Cognos Planning Consider Purchasing Cognos Express TM1

IBM Cognos Clients that have small BI deployment and less than 50 Cognos Planning users may want to look at Cognos Express. Despite my love for Cognos Planning, it’s time to migrate to TM1. The new features and functionality of TM1 kick Planning’s keister. But the licensing cost to migrate to Enterprise TM1 may be an issue. Cognos Express has a license that includes TM1 and BI in one user. This allows you to invest in Cognos Express for TM1 (much cheaper than Enterprise) and move your BI content to Cognos Express so the TM1 users can leverage your existing BI work.

Enterprise TM1 Enterprise clients with a smaller deployment.

IBM Cognos Clients that have small TM1 deployments less than 50 users may want to look at Cognos Express too in order to gain the BI functionality at a lower cost. Cognos Express has a license that includes BI and TM1 in one user. This allows you to invest in Cognos Express for BI (much cheaper than Enterprise) and move your TM1 content to Cognos Express so the BI users can leverage your existing TM1 model. There are some design considerations in moving Enterprise TM1 to Express for TM1 so call Lodestar Solutions for details.

In summary, be open to exploring alternative licensing models that might better fit your organization and your budget. IBM Cognos Express does have some restrictions like number of users but if you can live with them, the software has almost all the functionality of Enterprise at a fraction of the price. Lodestar Solutions is happy to answer any questions you may have 813-415-2910 or email Sales@LodestarSolutions.com.

If you liked this blog on Cognos Express Savings, check on this blog the depreciation of Analysis and Query Studio by clicking here.  

IBM Cognos Express Approval Hierarchy Considerations

It has been almost 8 years since I sustained a very bad injury to my right knee. After several months of physical therapy, I regained my ability to run although never again as far or as fast as I had before my accident. Like it or not, I have had to appreciate the physical limitations placed upon me. Being aware of my limits enables me to plan around them, such as to run on sand instead of pavement, and still achieve my end goal.
The same strategy works when using TM1, or in this case, Planner, within IBM Cognos Express. Unlike the Enterprise version of Cognos where the administrator can create new TM1 server instances, only a single TM1 service is allowed in Express. An approval hierarchy can be used only once on a given TM1 server. Therefore, if a dimension is assigned to a Planner application as its approval hierarchy, that dimension cannot be used again as an approval hierarchy in any other application.
Here we see that the Corporate-PM application uses the Workflow subset of the Organization dimension as its approval hierarchy. We get a warning message when we try to again use Workflow as our approval hierarchy in a second Planner application.

Cognos Express Approval Hierarchy

Creating another subset of the Organization dimension (here we call it WorkflowII) will not solve the problem. TM1 realizes that the subset was derived from the same dimension already designated as the approval hierarchy in another application. Again, we get a warning message when trying to reuse.

Cognos Express Approval Hierarchy

Instead, an entirely new dimension has to be created. If we want to use our Organization dimension as our approval hierarchy for our new BlogExample application, we would essentially have to create a copy of it using the exact same elements. We see how our advanced planning becomes important.
To solve the problem of reusing the Organization dimension as our approval hierarchy, we create a duplicate of it called OrganizationBlog. We can add its subset as our approval hierarchy without getting the warning message we had previously gotten. Now, however, an error occurs because although OrganizationBlog contains all the same elements as Organization, it was not used in the building of the Revenue cube, the one view we included in the BlogExample application.

Cognos Express Approval Hierarchy

The Revenue cube would have to be rebuilt to use the OrganizationBlog dimension instead of the Organization dimension. Having to rebuild the Revenue cube for use in the BlogExample application could lead to further complications if data has already been loaded into the Revenue cube, TI processes have been written for the cube, or if links have been created between it and other cubes.
Even if it’s on a piece of paper or office whiteboard, taking the time to map out our TM1 applications and the cubes, hierarchies and dimensions required within them before starting to build can save headaches down the road. Also, make use of a well named folder system in the Model Design to keep objects organized. A little advance planning can turn a limitation from a roadblock into a guideline when working in Cognos Express.

The Difference Between Cognos Express and Cognos Enterprise

The Difference Between Cognos Express and Cognos Enterprise

IBM Cognos has two offerings for organizations looking for a complete Performance Management solution. One is IBM Cognos Enterprise Solutions and the other is Cognos Express. If you are looking for the power IBM offers, you may have some questions about what is the difference between Cognos Express and Cognos Enterprise.

So, we thought we would take a moment to walk through some of the differences. Note with each new release this information will change. IBM is expected to release a new Cognos Express version in the very near future and we will write again on Express once it’s released. As for now, IBM Cognos Express is positioned as the mid-market solution from IBM however, large companies can purchase it.

Cognos Express offers integrated modules for query, reporting, analysis, visualization, dashboarding and planning. Once installed, the product essentially creates a local data mart (via TM1) behind the scenes.

The biggest difference between Cognos Express and Cognos Enterprise is the number of users.

Express product supports a maximum of 100 users running a single server. Originally IBM had four modules in Cognos Express: Reporter, Advisor, Xcelerator, and Planner. Over the years, they simplified the licensing. In Express you can invest in Performance Management (TM1) or Business Intelligence, or both. Below is an older comparison to help you translate the old license to the Enterprise licenses. For the latest information on the differences between Cognos Express and Cognos Enterprise check out our most recent Cognos Express comparison blog.

Cognos Express LicensesClosest Comparable Cognos Enterprise Studios
ReporterReport Studio & Query Studio
AdvisorAnalysis Studio
XceleratorTM1 Modeler
PlannerTM1 Contributor
CompleteReport Studio, Query Studio, Analysis Studio, TM1 Modeler, TM1 Contributor

The biggest difference between Cognos Express and Cognos Enterprise is clearly the price. As of this posting, Cognos 10 Enterprise has a lot of new functionality that is not available in Cognos Express. Functionality like mobility, Business Insight, Active Reports and Metric Studio is missing. My recommendation is that you evaluate your business requirements and explore how both options meet your needs. Consider your expected growth. Make sure you will not out grow IBM Cognos Express too quickly and you will have to upgrade to Enterprise. Both offerings provide powerful Performance Management solutions, but check it out for yourself. Lodestar Solutions would be happy to answer any questions you may have on the differences between Cognos Express and Cognos Enterprise.

Link to Latest Version of Cognos BI
http://www-01.ibm.com/software/analytics/cognos/express/trial-demo.html

For the latest information, contact Lodestar Solutions at Services@lodestarsolutions.com.

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