Cognos Business Intelligence Overload

October 1, 2012

What a week! 40 hours of dedicated-ignore-every-call-and-email Cognos installation & configuration with an IBM consultant on-site. A very rare opportunity which I was really looking forward to! It’s unheard of in a DBAs world to be given the time to focus EXCLUSIVELY on one single task. I was literally treated like a developer, lock him in a dark room, throw some food in every now and again but leave him alone for 5 days.

If it’s gonna be a dark room, could it be a vino cellar?! Por favor?

A few months ago I had been on a 5 day Cognos course which really put me in a great position to support our relatively small (3 server) environment. However, when this high-availability Cognos project surfaced, (with aggressive timelines as they always do), I knew it would be a whole new ball game supporting an 8 server High Availability environment.

To be built alongside our current production environment with no downtime during office hours. The existing application server would then be ‘slotted’ into this new HA environment over a weekend.

The installation/configuration comprised of the following components:

  • SQL Server Cluster (2 nodes, Active/Passive configuration)
  • 2 web servers, load balanced, accessed by virtual IP (Cognos TM1 Web, Contributor and BI Gateway)
  • 2 Cognos BI Application Servers (Content Stores & Dispatchers)
  • 2 TM1 Servers (1 activing as a warm standby)
  • Combination of 32 & 64bit Cognos installs. Our servers are 64bit however some Cognos elements are only available in 32bit version.
  • Produced full documentation of all installation steps
  • Produced full documentation of all configuration steps
  • Produced full documentation of all errors/troubleshooting
  • Cognos Software included the following components:
    • Cognos BI
    • TM1 Web
    • TM1 contributor
    • TM1 Server/Architect


Cognos Business Intelligence Architecture

A week well spent. Not just following installation and configuration steps parrot fashion, and having a general idea, but really having the time to test each component. Having the time to ‘break’ and adjust settings and really understand how each component hangs together, load balances and behaves.

It’s been a case of perfect timing of the following three elements: knowledge + training + hands-on experience.

It’s a project that I’m immensely proud of and have been instrumental in it going ahead on time. Towards the end of our week, while troubleshooting an error and finding the solution, the IBM consultant laughed and remarked ‘soon you’ll be hunted down by IBM’ – which really put the cherry on top.

Fast forward one week: I spent all of Saturday ‘slotting’ in the existing application server into this new environment. It’s Monday morning and I arrived at work with that fear. Expecting the Asia Pacific user base to have encountered serious issues. I quickly scanned my emails and nothing surfaced. A job well planned and executed.

Are you setting up a scaled out Cognos environment? Come across any issues that you’d like to discuss? Contact me, I’d be happy to assist. Now it’s back to the bread and butter daily DBA tasks & supporting this BI beast.

Thanks for reading.


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