Review: IBM Cognos BI v10.2 Administration Essentials

Part of my job as an Admin is to understand all aspects of the Cognos environment, from configuring and tuning distributed systems to being able to decipher the cryptic error messages that occasionally plague the users. Obviously this book is not for me. This book is more geared for beginners, as it says in the beginning:

Who this book is for
This book is for beginners planning to learn IBM Cognos BI Administration 10.

So, with that in mind it’s important to remember that experienced admins can skip the book. It is the people with little or no administrative experience who will benefit most from the book.

My concern is the length, at 128 pages there is simply not enough room to go into detail on everything. While it gives descriptions on the various tabs and settings of the administration page, I would have preferred more explanations on the settings and their effects.

Despite the brevity it does cover, albeit briefly, the various elements that are involved in the administrative process. The chapters are split by area of interest, configuration, components, security, etc. It describes the what happens when Cognos gets a request and the path the request takes from the gateway through the dispatcher. It explains the authentication and security system fairly well. Most importantly it also provides advice for new admins on how to run the system.

Ultimately I believe the book succeeds in its goal, namely taking people to the point where they can keep a Cognos server up and running.

You can find the book at the PacktPub website here.

Book Review: IBM Cognos 10 Framework Manager, by Terry Curran

A well built metamodel is essential for any successful Cognos project. This book offers a solid guide to the best practices for building your model. The entire process of building a model, from joins to dimensional layers, is described in detail.

The chapters are ordered logically, first describing the tool and the various buttons and basic functionality, and then moving on to the advanced features. The book describes the entire process of building a model according to the most effective practices. Modellers will be well suited to keep this book open while building a model, even if it’s just to keep them on track.

In addition to describing the standard modeling features, the book also describes some advanced methods. Various multiuser modelling strategies are detailed; session parameters and parameter maps are explained with useful examples.

Terry does not go into every single trick, or explain how to fix every single bug in a given model (if he did, it would probably have to be several thousand pages long). However, he does lay down a set of guidelines which will provide for a portable and efficient model.

My only criticism is that it is sometimes too short. Some sections feel more like “how-to” guides that give step by step instructions without explaining the theory behind it.

Ultimately, both users who are unfamiliar with Framework, and veterans with years of experience will find it useful to read through and to keep it as a reference.

The book may be purchased from Amazon at or directly from Packt