IBM Cognos Proven Practices: Deploying Content from the Adaptive Application Framework 8.4 to Cognos Business Intelligence 10.1

Product(s): Analytic Applications, Adaptive Application Framework, Cognos Business Intelligence; Area of Interest: Deployment

A description of how users of IBM Cognos Analytic Applications can benefit from the new capabilities in their IBM Cognos 10.1 BI production environment while continuing to take full advantage of their existing Analytic Applications.

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Simon Evans, Senior Manager - Information Applications, IBM

Simon Evans has been an IBM employee for 12 years. Simon is one of the original inventors of Adaptive Warehouse and today leads world wide development of the Analytic Applications portfolio and Adaptive Application Framework.



14 December 2010

Also available in Chinese

Introduction

Purpose

Cognos Business Intelligence 10.1 is the next major release from IBM Cognos Software. The release contains new features which significantly enhance the capabilities of consumers to perform rich analysis of BI data. This document describes how users of Cognos Analytic Applications can gain immediate benefit from these new capabilities in their production environment while continuing to take full advantage of their existing application implementation with minimal IT overhead.

The method to deploy analytic reports generated by IBM Cognos Adaptive Application Framework 8.4 into IBM Cognos Business Intelligence 10.1 is described together with procedures to maintain the existing application and database, incrementally load data and generate reports.

Applicability

  • IBM Cognos Adaptive Application Framework 8.4.0, 8.4.1 and 8.4.2
  • IBM Cognos Business Intelligence 8.4 and 8.4.1
  • IBM Cognos Business Intelligence 10.1

Exclusions and Exceptions

None.

Target Audience

The target audience of this document is expected to have a moderate level of knowledge specific to the Adaptive Application Framework, Framework Manager and Cognos BI Administration.


Overview

Analytic content (reports, dashboards etc) including reports created using earlier versions of the Adaptive Application Framework can be deployed to the new generation Cognos BI 10.1 platform. This allows consumers to take immediate advantage of new capabilities offered by the platform without having to upgrade the analytic application or data repository.

However, it is not possible to configure the Adaptive Application Framework 8.4 generation of tools to interact directly with the new 10.1 platform. Follow the procedures outlined in this document to maintain and deploy the application correctly, for more information refer to the guidelines on upgrade contained in the Cognos BI Installation and Configuration Guide (Chapter 5: Upgrading to IBM Cognos Business Intelligence). The techniques used to create deployment archives and export and import these into Cognos BI are used extensively in this document.

Figure 1, Topology of software components
Figure 1, Topology of software components

Figure 1 shows how the software components are distributed and interact. Note that both Cognos BI 8.4 and Cognos BI 10.1 are installed. The Adaptive Application Framework is configured with Cognos BI 8.4 and is operated as normal in that environment. Analytic content, such as reports, are deployed to the Cognos BI 10.1 environment via export archives which are copied between the BI servers. This allows reports to be run and take advantage of new capabilities supported by Cognos BI 10.1.

Cognos BI 8.4 can be installed on a separate server to Cognos BI 10.1 or on the same server provided that it is configured to use a different URL and dispatcher port number than used by Cognos BI 10.1. An existing Cognos BI 8.4 installation can, in most cases, continue to be used. However, if the URL or dispatcher port number is changed then the configuration of the Adaptive Application Framework will also need to be updated. Ensure that the Adaptive Application Framework is configured with Cognos BI 8.4.

Each installation of Cognos BI will have a separate instance.

Figure 2, Settings used to distinguish separate BI environments
Figure 2, Settings used to distinguish separate BI environments

A single data repository containing both metadata and data for the application is all that is required. Data is read from and written to the repository by the Adaptive Application Framework. Cognos BI 10.1 reads data from the repository using the target model package deployed in the export archive.

The Adaptive Application Framework is used as normal to perform all tasks to maintain the application, such as modelling, load management and report management. Changes to the model configuration and settings are stored in the data repository’s application metadata by the Adaptive Application Framework. Adaptive Warehouse is used to configure the warehouse model and to perform load management using the source model package published to Cognos BI 8.4 to query data from the source system and then load it into the repository. The target model is published to Cognos BI 8.4 and is used by Adaptive Analytics to preview reports.

Cognos BI 10.1 is used to execute reports and perform analysis. When reports are executed they query for the data contained in the application data repository using the target model package deployed to BI 10.1.


Initial Deployment

To move analytic content to Cognos BI 10.1, such as reports generated by Adaptive Analytics or custom content authored using Report Studio, Query Studio or Analysis Studio follow the upgrade process documented in Chapter 5 of the Cognos BI Installation and Configuration Guide. This process describes how to create an export deployment archive in the BI 8.4 environment and copy that to the new installation.

Ensure that the following items are included in the export deployment specification:

  • the root folder for your Adaptive Analytics generated reports (normally this is called Analytic Applications)
  • the application model package published to the content store (i.e. the target model package)
  • any custom reports or analyses
Figure 3, Exporting existing analytics
Figure 3, Exporting existing analytics

Ensure that the option to Include data sources and connections is checked and if necessary that the signons are also included. This will ensure that the data source connections are correctly aligned with the analytic content. It is important that the name used for the data source is not changed as this is referred to in the application model package. (N.B. if the data source is not included in the deployment archive then it can be created separately in Cognos BI 10.1 using Cognos Administration. In this case it is important to ensure that the name of the data source is set to the same value as used in Cognos BI 8.4 for the reason given above.)

The export deployment archive will be written out to the /deployment folder under the root install directory of Cognos BI 8.4. Copy this file to the Cognos BI 10.1 server and paste it into the /deployment folder under the BI 10.1 install directory. Import the archive as normal. The import process will upgrade report specifications in the archive automatically.

Test the deployed content to ensure that it is working as expected. The layout and data contained in the reports should be compared to that generated in the Cognos BI 8.4 environment to ensure that it is producing the correct results in the new environment.


Ongoing Operations

As previously stated, it is important that both Cognos BI 8.4 and Cognos BI 10.1 define a data source which points to the application database and which have the same name in Cognos Connection. This will allow the Adaptive Application Framework to perform operations, such as loading data while also generating content which can be deployed to Cognos BI 10.1.

Load Management

Load management performs the following tasks

  • Load: data from the source system is loaded into the application database
  • Database Synchronization: updates the application database schema
  • Framework Manager: synchronization and publish of the application source and target models to Cognos BI

The target model for the application should be published to Cognos BI 8.4 whenever a change is made to the target model or a change is made to the warehouse model (as this will also affect the target model). This will allow report managers to preview reports being modelled in Adaptive Analytics. Ensure that the target model package is selected during the Framework Manager operation to synchronise and publish the model to Cognos BI. The published package should be tested to verify the expected reporting behaviour. The target model package will also need to be copied to Cognos BI 10.

The source model package should be published to Cognos BI 8.4 as normal. This package is used to query for data in the source system during the Load operation. There is no need to copy the source model package to Cognos BI 10.1.

Updates to the application database schema are performed directly on the database by the Adaptive Application Framework when load management is run without passing through Cognos BI. This operation can be performed as normal, either during the Database Synchronization operation or separately using the generated DDL script.

Data is loaded directly into the application database by Adaptive Warehouse during the Load operation. The queries which extract data from the source system must be executed against Cognos BI 8.4 and so must be performed by the Adaptive Application Framework when configured with Cognos BI 8.4. The source model package published during the Framework Manager operation is used to execute the source queries.

Deploying the Target Model Package

It is necessary to deploy the target model package to Cognos BI 10.1 whenever a change is made to the target model. As noted above the Adaptive Application Framework will publish the target model package to Cognos BI 8.4 during load management. The package must then be copied separately to Cognos BI 10.1.

The target model package is copied to Cognos BI 10.1 by creating an export deployment archive in Cognos BI 8.4. When creating the export specification ensure that the application model package published to the content store (i.e. the target model package) is selected.

Figure 4, Exporting the target model package
Figure 4, Exporting the target model package

Do not select the option to Include data sources and connections unless the data source connecting to the application database has not previously been created in Cognos BI 10.1. This will prevent modifications to signons or permissions made in the BI 10.1 environment from being overwritten.

The export deployment archive will be written out to the /deployment folder under the root install directory of Cognos BI 8.4. Copy this file to the Cognos BI 10.1 server and paste it into the /deployment folder under the BI 10.1 install directory. Import the archive as normal.

Deploying Analytic Content

The report manager can continue to develop and test new analytic content using Adaptive Analytics even though the Adaptive Application Framework is configured with Cognos BI 8.4. The behaviour of the target model and BI report specifications will be functionally equivalent in both environments. However, once the content has been developed it needs to be deployed to Cognos BI 10.1.

First create a deployment archive as normal from within Adaptive Analytics by clicking on the Generate Deployment Archive button. A dialog is then displayed which allows the folder in which to save the archive to be selected. If the Cognos BI 10.1 install location is accessible then the /deployment folder under the root can be selected here, otherwise select an accessible location and copy the deployment archive to the Cognos BI 10.1 server after the archive has been generated.

The deployment archive can now be imported into Cognos BI 10.1 as normal. The report specifications contained in the archive will be upgraded automatically on import.

Finally, test the deployed reports to ensure that the expected results are obtained.


Further Information

For further information related to this article please consult the following Adaptive Warehouse, Adaptive Analytics and Cognos Business Intelligence documentation links:
Load Management
Making Reports Available
Upgrading to IBM Cognos 10.1
Deployment
Data Sources and Connections

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