Moving to IBM Cognos BI version 10.1 from a previous release - IBM Cognos

Upgrading, and the management of business intelligence applications, is made easy with use of IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager. This section describes the features of IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager and how they can be used to manage application life-cycle tasks.

Using IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager to test the IBM CognosenvironmentIBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager is a utility that performs automated testing of IBM Cognos BI report content in multiple environments. This testing is achieved by programatically validating, executing, and then comparing report output to ensure that there are no deltas between versions when upgrading.

To successfully complete the report executions and comparisons, the folder structures in both environments must be identical.

Creating an IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager project

To do this:

  1. Start the IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager process by going to Windows Start All Programs IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager IBM CognosLifecycle Manager Startup.
  2. Launch the application by going to Windows Start All Programs IBMCognos Lifecycle Manager IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager URI.
  3. From the IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager interface, there are options to open an existing project or to create a new project. Click the new project link.
  4. IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager welcome panel
    IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager welcome panel

  5. On the New Project dialog box, select the Create blank project radio button.
  6. Provide a name for the project. It is a good idea for the name to be indicative of the versions or content to be included.
  7. Select Validation Project from the drop-down Project Type menu.
  8. Creating a new IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager project
    Creating a new IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager project

  9. Click Create.
  10. Back in the IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager interface, click Configure to launch the Configure dialog box, where the configuration parameters for both the target and source environments can be supplied.
  11. On the Basic tab, supply the following information for both the target and source environment:
    • Name
    • Gateway URI
    • Dispatcher URI
    • Version

Maximum number of connections that IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager will make to the individual environments The more connections specified, the more simultaneous requests will be made to each of the environments. In theory,more connections will result in a shorter time to complete the report executions, but there are many influencing factors.

Defining the servers to use for the project
Defining the servers to use for the project

  • On the Security tab, supply the username, password, and namespace ID that will be used to connect to each environment.
  • Supply the required security credentials and ensure that they test successfully
    Supply the required security credentials and ensure that they test successfully

  • Click Test Connection to test the validity of the credentials. There is an option to save the passwords, which removes the need to supply the passwords every time that the project is opened, but it is advisable that you do not use this option because of the persistence of the password on the file system.
  • Click Save.
    The Advanced tab contains various options that can be selected and customized. For this example, none of the default options are modified. The Preferences tab controls the various types of output and locales that will be generated for comparison. The default PDF option is used for this example.

Generate report content to be validated

For IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager to validate, execute, and perform report comparisons between the target and source environments, the list of content to include in the project must be specified.

To generate report content to be validated:

  1. From the IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager interface, click Generate ReportList.
  2. Using the Select Search Paths dialog box, select the desired collection of folders and the package to include by clicking the appropriate check boxes
  3. Selecting content to include in the validation project
    Selecting content to include in the validation project

  4. Click OK.
  5. After the content is loaded, it displays in the IBM Cognos Life cycle Manager interface and is ready for the validation and execution steps

    The IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager project is now ready for comparative testing
    The IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager project is now ready for comparative testing

    Validating the target environment
    Validating the target environment

Although there are both source and target environments, only the target environment needs to be validated. We assume that the collection of reports in the source environment is functional, so the reports should be validated in the IBM Cognos BI target environment to ensure consistency.

Automatically generating prompt values

One of the advantages of IBM Cognos BI reports is the ability to author a single report to satisfy different requests. This is achieved by including prompts in the reports that can change the results returned based on the selected prompt values, as usage of report prompts is common. It is more than likely that there will be required prompts contained within the reporting environments, which means that the prompt values must be supplied before IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager can programatically execute the reports.

To generate a prompt value automatically:

  1. Select the Target Validate task from the left side of the IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager interface.
  2. Click the check box in the upper-right corner of the header to select all of the content, or individually select the objects that have prompt values missing.
  3. Using the drop-down menu in the footer, select Automatic Prompt Values
  4. Generation
    Automatically generate prompt values for missing report prompts

    Automatically generate prompt values for missing report prompts

  5. Click GO.

The process of examining all of the selected content begins and verifies whether there are prompt values that need to be satisfied.If there are missing prompt values, IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager attempts to generate a prompt value automatically

if there are prompt values that are still required after automatically generating them, complete these steps:

  1. Navigate to a particular report with a Prompt Values Missing status.
  2. Click the report name to change to the Properties page for that report.
  3. Select the Prompt Values tab.
  4. Click the action for Manual Prompt Capture.
  5. Manual prompt generation for a report
    Manual prompt generation for a report

  6. A Prompt dialog box opens. Manually enter a prompt value that satisfies the prompt criteria.
  7. Manually enter a prompt value
    Manually enter a prompt value

    Click OK.

  8. Click Back.
  9. Verify that the status of that report is changed to New.

Continue the process until all missing prompt values are defined, the objects are marked as out of scope for the project, or both. Then, follow these steps:

  1. From the main IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager interface, select Validatemodels/reports.
  2. Click GO to start the validation process.
  3. Completing the validation process
    Completing the validation process

Executing target and source content

After the validation process has completed successfully, you need to execute reports in both the source and target systems. IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager does not retrieve output from IBM Cognos Content Store. Instead, it generates all content, from both systems, based on the format and language options and the supplied prompt values, which ensures that the report output that is created for comparison contains the same parameters.

Initially, execute only report content that is required immediately to keep the amount of time to generate the output to a minimum. Typically, a project contains all of the necessary content, but the content is in different stages of validation. Based on priority, folders and packages are validated, executed, and compared incrementally.

Because report executions are submitted through the SDK and executed on the system (target, source, or both), it is advisable that you execute the reports incrementally in smaller batches, versus submitting all content for execution.

To execute target and source content:

  1. Click the Source Execute task.
  2. Select the content to execute by clicking the appropriate check boxes.
  3. Using the drop-down menu, select Execute reports.
  4. Click GO.
  5. After the reports have finished executing, click Target Execute.
  6. Repeat steps 2 through 4 for the target environment.

Figure shows the Source Execute window within IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager.

Performing the Source and Target Execute tasks (source shown)
Performing the Source and Target Execute tasks (source shown)

Compare the output to ensure consistency

If the report comparison indicates deltas, you need to complete further analysis to determine the nature of the difference and whether the difference is expected or acceptable.

There are two options for comparison. The first option uses Adobe Flash as part of a visual comparison tool, and the other option does a PDF text comparison looking changes to the contents. Given that IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager saves all data locally, you do not need to be connected to the source and target systems to complete the compare task.

Before comparing output versions, you need to validate and execute a report in both the source and target systems.

To compare report output versions:

  1. Click Output Compare to navigate to the Output Compare window.
  2. Click the check boxes next to the reports that you want to compare.
  3. Use the drop-down menu to click Compare reports and click Go.

Figure shows an example of the Output Compare window.

Output Compare showing reports that have been compared with no differences
Output Compare showing reports that have been compared with no differences

The compare task executes, and the status of each report is updated to show the result of the compare task.

IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager provides content validators with the ability to annotate any content object. Because validation projects can span multiple days or weeks, and there might be multiple people participating, the ability to comment on the status or progress is critical. In addition to the commentary, content validators can also approve or reject the comparisons based on the findings. For example, if one report in a package produced a delta, and the difference is approved, the approved status causes the status on the package to change to Completed.

Analyzing the project status

A summary of project status can be viewed at any time throughout the validation process by opening IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager’s Task Summary view. As each step in the project completes, the status of each task is updated and rolled up into the summary view. The Task Summary view in IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager has a print option and is also exportable to an Adobe Flash file, which can then be opened in most web browsers. The page is separated into the following sections:

  • Tasks
  • Validate
  • Run
  • Compare
  • Total (which is a list of every report in the project along with the report execution times in both the source and target systems)

Figure shows the IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager Task Summary window.

IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager: Task Summary (status summary for a project)
IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager: Task Summary (status summary for a project)

Clicking around the Task Summary interface provides a filtered view of the statuses of project tasks for each phase of an IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager project. Each section shows the total number of objects that are in or have passed through each status within each project phase. Every IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager project moves through five phases and various states within each phase:

  • Validate source/validate target.
  • Valid:Following validation, indicates that the object is valid
  • Invalid:Following validation, indicates that the object is invalid
  • New:Indicates that the validation, execution, or output comparison operation has not been performed on the object
  • Prompts Missing: Indicates that certain reports in the package or folder require prompts, and no prompt values are defined If a report has required prompts, you must provide a prompt value for each one before you can execute the report.
  • Out of Scope: Informs IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager to ignore this object during the validation, execution, or output comparison operation. When this value is specified, you can apply it to all of the object's children by selecting the Apply to all actions target and source check box
  • Execute source/execute target.
  • Succeeded:Following execution, indicates that the object executed successfully
  • Fail: Following validation, execution, or output compare, indicates that the object failed the operation
  • New
  • Prompts Missing
  • Out of Scope
  • In Progress:Indicates that the validation, execution, or output comparison operation has not been performed on all children of an object or has failed for one or more children of an object
  • Partial Success: Indicates that the execution or output comparison operation was partially successful For example, you compare reports in XML and PDF formats, and the XML reports are identical, but there are differences in the PDF output.
  • Compare
  • No Differences: Following output comparison, indicates that no differences were found
  • Differences:Following output comparison, indicates that differences were found
  • New
  • Prompts Missing
  • Out of Scope
  • In Progress
  • Partial Success
  • Visual: The output type that the report was executed in requires a visual compare using the compare tool
  • Approve:Following output comparison, indicates that differences found were approved
  • Reject:Following output comparison, indicates that differences detected were rejected

For quick visual reference, the bottom panel of the IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager Task Summary window also provides a status icon displaying the status for each phase of the project:

  • A green dot on a report icon indicates that a phase completed successfully.
  • A red dot on a report icon indicates that a phase failed or was rejected.
  • A black dot indicates that the status for that phase is new.
  • A missing icon indicates that phase has not yet been started.Hovering the mouse pointer over the status icons in the Progress column for a report provides a pop-up containing the status of each phase in text form. Figure shows an example of status icons for a single report in IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager.
  • Task status icons in IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager
    Task status icons in IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager

Another element of the Task Summary window within IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager is the Notes column. IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager allows a report administrator to provide commentary related to specific reports. When a note exists for a report within a project, an icon displays in the row for that report under the Notes column.

Hovering the mouse pointer over the note icon for a report provides a pop-up containing text-based commentary associated with the report. Figure shows an example of commentary added to an IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager entry using the Note column.

Notes associated with a rejected report in IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager

Notes associated with a rejected report in IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager

One-click comparison

Now that the phases of the IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager utility are understood, there is a way to streamline the process.

To perform a one-click comparison:

  1. In the IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager interface, click the Output Comparison task.
  2. Select the new content to be compared by clicking the appropriate check boxes.
  3. Change the drop-down menu to the Compare reports option.
  4. Click GO.

Performing this type of comparison executes the following operations:

  • The reports are sent to the source for execution and the output is returned to IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager.
  • The reports are sent to the target for execution and the output is returned to IBM Cognos Lifecycle Manager.
  • Both versions of the output are compared.

These steps are performed without any user interaction. After the comparison finishes, the project is ready for analysis of any reported deltas.


All rights reserved © 2018 Wisdom IT Services India Pvt. Ltd DMCA.com Protection Status

IBM Cognos Topics