I’ve recently installed and configured the Cognos TM1 contributor web component. I noticed that after logging into the application there were no icons being displayed. Comparing this with another TM1 contributor environment, I could clearly see that something was missing.

After re-checking all the installation steps and various configuration files I turned to google and yet I still could not find any answers.

In this example notice the icons displayed – this was taken on a TM1 contributor environment that was working as expected.

IBM TM1 Contributor

On the following screenshot, notice how they are missing and there is a warning on the IE status bar.

IBM TM1 Contributor

Clicking on the warning returns the following error which could send you on a futile search when trying to figure out what the problem is.

IBM TM1 Contributor warning

Turns out, the solution is rather simple. There is actually nothing wrong and the TM1 contributor web application behaves in this way when respective TM1 servers do not have any applications defined.

The following is a screenshot of how the TM1 architect looks when there are no applications, cubes, dimensions, processes or chores defined. If your TM1 Contributor is configured to read from this TM1 server you’ll get the no icons and warning until such a time that you create an application for that TM1 server.

IBM TM1 Architect

And the following screenshot, we can see the [+] sign next to each level which denotes that there are applications, cubes, dimension, processes and chores. If your TM1 contributor web application is configured to connect to this TM1 server you’ll see the icons and no warnings being displayed.

IBM TM1 Architect

Personally it’s pretty poor error handling and we could do with more meaningful error or warning messages, at the very least something like ‘no data available’ would be a lot more useful and possibly direct your troubleshooting efforts in the right direction.

Hopefully the above helps if you come across this particular ‘issue’.

Thanks for reading.

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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.

IBM Cognos TM1 Contributor

September 6, 2012

I was recently involved in a project which required us to up-scale our existing Cognos implementation. Our environment was setup as follows:

  • Server 1: Cognos Gateway and Application
  • Server 2: TM1 Server
  • Server 3: SQL Server 2008

We moved to a 8 server high availability solution setup as follows:

  • 2 Web Servers (load balanced by Cisco)
  • 2 Cognos application servers (Cognos Load balanced)
  • 2 TM1 Servers (one acting as a warm backup server)
  • 1 SQL Server 2008 Cluster (2 nodes)

As part of this upgrade, we also had to install and configure the TM1 Contributor and Web Client Cognos components. There was a requirement to load balance the TM1 contributor, in which IBM have the following document available: “TM1 Contributor Utilizing a Load Balancing Appliance.docx”

I was given this by IBM consultants who were on-site during the upgrade. I’m sure it’s readily available on the IBM site or from Cognos Support.

The document is well written and explains very clearly what needs to be done. The problem with these simple instructions are like most things in life, it is so simple that no-one has got it wrong before, or very infrequently, which basically means that no-one has much experience in troubleshooting any issues.

The problem we faced was that when navigating to the Contributor URL e.g. http://servername:8080/pmp_svc  it would return the following error:

‘Can’t find bundle for base name pmpsvc_strings, locale en_GB’

http 500 java exception cognos pmpsvc_strings

After spending the best part of a day trying to resolve it, countless emails back and forth to the IBM consultants and then finally raising a case with IBM Cognos support – nobody seemed to know how to solve this issue.

 

Resolution:

In the above mentioned document (page 7) there is a section which describes the changes required to the file pmpsvc_config.xml (as shown below), easy enough eh?!

pmpsvc_config

Like I said, it’s the simple things that really catch you out. I swear by never copying code or text from word/outlook due to formatting issues, but here is a perfect example, where copying from the above and pasting into the pmp_svc_config.xml file (opened in notepad) – creates formatting issues.

pmpsvc_config service tag

Can you spot the difference in the above two examples? Yes? No?

Take a look at the quotes! Notice the formatting? See how in the second example they are more like straight lines. What the f$%k?!

Simple mistake yes. Embarrassing yes. But it does happen and it fooled many support persons for a couple of days. Hopefully this saves you time as there was not much out there in google. Thanks for reading.