IBM Cognos Controller 10.2 – New and Improved Features

Published 30th May 2014

The following sets out the new features in IBM Cognos Controller 10.2 that was released on 6 June 2014. Aramar have already completed a successful installation of this software working alongside compatible versions of TM1 and BI. The new features are split into:

  • Interoperability & Conformance
  • Installation & Configuration improvements
  • Functional Improvements

Interoperability & Conformance

The main change is the use of 64 bit Server Technology (.NET/Java) instead of 32 bit technology which limited the ability to leverage the available memory available in modern environments. This will allow for better overall stability, lower risk of out of memory problems, better overall throughput (more simultaneous users per server) and lower risk of transaction interference. Customers can now scale up, instead of scaling out, giving a lower TCO.

Added Interoperability items:

TM1 10.2.2, BI 10.2.1, CDM 10.2.2, DB2 10.5

Added Conformance items:

Windows 8.1 64-bit, SQL Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 (Standard Edition and higher) 64-bit, ORA 11G R2_3, Internet Explorer (IE) 11, Adobe Reader XI, .NET 3.5 SP1, .NET 4.0, IBM JRE 1.7, IIS8.

Cognos Controller 10.1.1.x is (was) the last release supporting these software environments:

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 (32-bit), Microsoft Windows Vista, Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Excel 2003, Microsoft Excel XP 2002 SP3.

Installation & Configuration improvements

There have been a number of changes to improve and simplify the installation and configuration of the application. As well as a number of installation improvements, there are two major changes of note:

Multi-Threaded Batch Engine

More and more customers are parallelizing their consolidations to ensure timely results when working with multiple periods/actualities. Controller 10.2 has replaced its solution (1-4 separate batch processes) with one single (multi-threaded) batch service. This eliminates the risk of synchronisation issues where the same job is picked up by two or more services. A maximum of 10 parallel batch jobs can be run (although available memory, CPU and database capacity may result in a lower actual limit.)

There is a new ability to modify batch queue polling frequency which allow customers to set the time jobs will run after scheduling.

New Solution for High Availability/Load Balancing

The old method was based on COM+ and was based on running multiple application servers towards the same DB. The new solution is based on the master/slave concept – one master, multiple slaves – all sharing the masters’ user manager.

This is a simple configuration via web.config with no more COM+ splitting and setup. Only slave(s) need to be configured with the appropriate master server. This mechanism can be used both for load balancing and high availability setups.

Functional Improvements

These can be categorised as follows:

Performance

Consolidation performance improved by up to 60% (from 10.1.1 FP2)
AFC performance improved by up to 99% (from 10.1.1 FP2)
Multi form status changing in Command Center improved by up to 90%

User Types

There may be users who consume data in TM1 (via the FAP) but are not allowed access to Controller itself. Also, there are Controller users that will not use TM1. It will now be possible to define users as Controller users, TM1 users or both.

A TM1 user is not able to log in to Controller and can only log on to published TM1 cubes in TM1 according to the security group limitations applied within Controller. A pure Controller user will never be transferred to the FAP cube. An Initial Publish will transfer all active TM1 users to the TM1 Server and the user(s) are able to access the FAP Cubes and view data according to their security group limitations defined in Controller.

FAP Performance

The solution in 10.1.1 of leveraging the FAP trickle table in the database also for Audit Trail on data has, for some customers, resulted in poor FAP performance and more cumbersome maintenance. In 10.2 the Audit Trail table is split from the trickle table for FAP and will allow for separation of functionality, reintroduction of automation of FAP purging and more optimal indexation for both resulting in better overall performance and stability.

Audit Trail

Changes in the General Configuration are now included in the System Audit Log. The General Configuration is a central part of the system and changes may have a fundamental impact on the calculations.

Available Accounts and Journals

Changes have been made to prevent users from booking values in company journals on accounts that belong to a locked submission.

Command Centre

The layout has been changed to improve the appearance and more tasks can now be performed from the Command Centre, including:

  • Chart to give a better overview (group)
  • Exclusion of form details (group)
  • Selection of multiple submissions (group)
  • Possibility to lock/unlock company or submission (company/group)
  • Possibility to open intercompany report and send email (company/group)
  • AFC’s now allow system wide data to be used by all companies to be entered once (e.g. working days) – COMPANY_YTD (account, actuality, period, company, currency)
  • Extended average functions now make it possible to create dynamic intervals for average calculations – AVERYTD1 (account, actuality, period, no of periods/start period)

Advanced Formula Calculations
Added UDBR functionality

The IF ELSE function can be used to set rules for transfer between accounts based on specific extended dimension members. It is possible to define as source of the business rule the specific member(s) of the four extended dimensions and it is possible to indicate that the target extended dimension must be the same as the source extended dimension.

Excel Link

When a user logs into the Controller Excel link, the user’s access to accounts is now based on the permissions identified in the Security Group “Forms”.

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