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.


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.


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.


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

How to Understand IBM Cognos Licensing

Cognos Licensing Can Be Confusing

Did you recently inherit responsibility for IBM Cognos licensing?  Are you a power user that isn’t sure what you own?  Yes, when you first look at the licenses available from IBM Cognos, it gets a little overwhelming … but it’s like when you walk into a deli and they will customize a sandwich for you.  IBM Cognos offers a number of different licenses to meet your needs.

In addition to a number of different licenses to choose from, and if you had multiple purchases of Cognos licenses over the years, you probably have multiple site numbers.   A site represents the client location, however when licenses were migrated from Cognos to IBM the process often created a unique site number for all of your orders.  This also may mean you get multiple support renewal bills.

Steps to Understand Your Cognos Licenses

It is your responsibility as a client to make sure you do not exceed your licenses.  Most of the IBM Cognos licensing are named users not concurrent.  So everyone needs a license.

In order to better understand your licenses, we recommend you do the following:

  1. Contact Lodestar at 813-415-2910 and we can provide a listing of all of your currently supported licenses.
  2. Clients that purchased a license a long time ago may want to migrate some of their licenses to the new IBM structure.  This is particularly true of clients that own Cognos Planning Analyst or Reporting Administrator licenses.
  3. Lodestar Solutions can walk you thru your licenses to make sure you understand what each does.
  4. Identify the users currently set up in your system by accessing IBM Cognos security.

Identifying Your IBM Cognos Users

Cognos User Access is defined in the security tab of IBM Cognos Administration.  A list of Secured Functions is within the Capabilities Section. Capabilities will relate to functionality within the licenses such as Analysis Studio and Cognos View.  Candidly, deciphering this could be challenging as security is a mix of Cognos and External namespace settings.  If you own the SDK you could utilize it to gather license counts.  Using the query method with the search path of the group/role and setting ‘members’ as one of the properties to be returned will return members of a Cognos or external group/role.

query(searchPath, properties, sortBy, options)

Functions to Query Your Cognos Users

There are also some very useful functions which can be used in the ‘searchPath’ parameter of the query method. One of these is the expandMembers() function which will recursively expand group and role memberships returning a list of accounts.  Alternatively there are 3rd party tools for purchase that can help measure IBM Cognos usage.

  1. Internally evaluate if the license mix owned meets your needs.  If not, you may be able to upgrade licenses cheaper than purchasing new licenses.
  2. Lodestar would be happy to provide an estimate of costs for licenses and provide a worksheet that helps you plan for the licenses you need.

For help contact Lodestar Solutions at 813-415-2910 or