What is the functional difference between exporting the entire content store from Cognos Connection and exporting the actual content store database as a database backup file?
Resolving The Problem
Both methods of creating backups of the data in the content store are useful, but there advantages unique to each method. You can never go wrong with having two different backup methods in place though.
When you create a backup of the content store database, you're taking a point-in-time snapshot of the database in a database-specific format.
A Database backup contains everything that was in the original database; its a true point-in-time snapshot.
Typically, Database Backups can only be restored into a similar database server
The database backup allows one-step backup and recovery of the content store, provided that you're able to actually restore the backup. Backups can be made directly to a backup medium.
Backing up the database will typically truncate the database transaction log (if one is being used) which prevents it from using too much drive space.
You should also have a backup of the Cognos installation directory(ies) to match the Content Store backup, otherwise there is a risk of mismatching the cryptography keys if they happened to have been regenerated between backups.
Content Store Deployment
If you export the content store via Cognos Connection, you are effectively running a program that extracts all the objects from the content store one at a time, and writes them to an encrypted and compressed deployment archive file.
The Cognos export has a certain amount of error-checking and object checking involved; orphaned or invalid records will typically not be exported. This leads to a cleaner backup and restore.
A Cognos Backup can be restored into any valid content store.
If security has been implemented, the import environment MUST have the EXACT SAME AUTHENTICATION SOURCE, particularly the namespace ID. Otherwise, secured content will not be imported.
The Cognos deployment method places the deployment archive (by default) into the Cognos directory, so if you're backing up the entire Cognos directory, then all you need to do to recover is restore the directory, point Cognos configuration at a valid empty database server database, start the service (which will create the database structure) and restore the deployment. This potentially simplifies backup media management.
15 June 2018