By Paul Hausser, Envisn, Inc.
Released with the introduction of Cognos 10.1, IBM Cognos 10 Audit Extension was designed to fill in the cracks of audit coverage beyond the standard audit table coverage. Its purpose is to provide coverage of Cognos auditing into areas that customers have been asking for such as user data and capability assignments. Users have had difficulty complying with their licensing limits if they cannot track these on a day to day basis.
What You Get
Cognos Audit Extension is an application fully compatible with Cognos 10.1 and later versions and provides the following:
- Account Audit – This provides an audit of all user accounts that are found in all configured namespaces along with some of the properties of those accounts such as create and modified date, portal pages, etc. This provides reporting on the Cognos user base and also records the content of users’ My Folders.
- Content Audit – Covers all objects that exist in the Content Store. It processes the entire Content Store tree to capture all objects along with key detail on each of them.
- Status Audit – Covers the state of a server and related dispatchers. For each dispatcher in the target system the configuration and activity is logged including time to connect, number of active processes and request duration.
- Role/Capability Audit – Provides an audit of all capabilities configured in the Cognos namespace and which roles, groups and users have been assigned access to those capabilities.
- Sample Deployment and Model – This is a portfolio of sample reports for use with the sample Framework Manager Model that is also provided. The sample model can be used as the basis for further development should you choose to extend it.
How It Works
The application works with most major databases and the installation and configuration is reasonably straight forward. Some 30 plus tables are included with the application.
It is worth noting that there is a fundamental difference between how the standard audit tables get populated versus those in the Audit Extension. With the standard audit tables every time a report is run or a user logs on this event is written to the audit tables. Not a big deal. To populate the Audit Extension tables, however, the application has to run an audit through the entire Content Store. Running the Content Audit processes the entire Content Store tree and logs all objects such as folders, queries, reports, etc. that it finds along with detail attributes of those objects. This appears to be the case for all four audit types.
In a large production Content Store this can be a long process that places additional overhead on machine resources. Thus, since you may have to pick and choose when you want to run these audit extensions, their usefulness around lifecycle management and reporting is limited. The configuration files give you some options here and if you only need limited amounts of data it may be worth it.
Another limitation is that the sample reports have narrow dimensionality and depth so if a given report or set of reports don’t give you the answer you need you’re out of luck. You can of course write your own reports using the FM model provided but a better alternative might be to use the Audit Extension data in a different mode. With OLAP, for example, you can dynamically create both dimensionality and depth real time for your specific question or need. And since much of what you need to measure and track over time is not point data but trends, this approach will provide you with the time series analyses that make this possible. This cannot be done with the canned reports that are part of the out of the box audit data with Cognos 10.
Another usage consideration is that Audit Extensions are not supported by IBM Cognos which means that if you run into issues or problems you’re on your own.
- Extends the Cognos audit data into some important areas.
- Provides a basic, entry level means of reporting on additional dimensions of Cognos content and usage.
- High overhead processes for capturing the extension audit data.
- Limited dimensionality and depth in sample reports provided.
- Not supported by IBM Cognos.
More detailed information on Cognos Audit Extensions can be found here.
© 2014 Envisn, Inc. – All rights reserved. What’s Wrong with IBM Cognos Audit Data