In this weeks blog, our team make it our duty to shine some light on right tool your company can choose to meet your business needs. We will cover the much discussed benefits of installing and using IBM's Planning Analytics workspace on Windows 2016.Contents
What is PA and PAW?
Planning Analytics ("PA") is the next version, or can be considered as the next generation of TM1. IBM enhanced TM1 functionality and features and embraced new tools to its' suite. This new enhanced TM1 has been rebranded as PA. IBMs PA has the best of BI, Watson, planning and analytic engines under one solution.
IBM Cognos TM1 which required trendy data presentation and visualization capability – a demand from Clients - has now been fulfilled by IBM. IBM has embedded Workspace to Planning Analytics, which is now called Planning Analytics Workspace ("PAW"). The below diagram gives a high level picture of new Architecture.
The following diagram shows where PAW fits into your IBM PA Local architecture:
IBM PA Workspace
As a new face of the Cognos TM1/IBM Planning Analytics solution, IBM's PAW delivers a rich, interactive user interface where you can easily build analytical and planning applications or dashboards by combining cube views, web sheets, scorecards, and data visualizations. It is flexible enough to export to excel and publish the same data to workspace. And, you can now create dynamic reports via active forms for planning and budgeting, and gain insight and discovery via data visualisations from a very clean UX workspace and dashboard – even easily share content, reports and dashboards between users.
Highly Clean and Visual View-Based Interface: The interface is a highly visual, freeform design with over 25 charts, scorecards, images, shapes and many other options. You can easily synchronize data between different objects (cube views, web sheets etc.)
On Premise and On Cloud: An amazing innovation is Planning Analytics Workspace (PAW) and its two variants. One, being on premise called Local. And the other, is cloud based referred as on Cloud.
It is a data rich tool, that can show data from all different cubes, to meet business needs: PAW is also view-based, which means you can import multi-dimensional data into a workspace and then it effectively converts and displays it as a chart to map your visualisations (whether it is a bar graph, scatter graph, line graph or so forth).
Easily share between hundreds of users: PAW is a highly interactive viewer that makes it easy to swap data exploration to charts. The main advantage of a drag and drop workspace, unlike some other platforms that require you to write the rule for reports yourself, is that business users can easily build and share their own reports and dashboards.
Support Analysis, Reporting and Write-back features: So for example if you require write-back or what-if analysis of data, or need the aggregate data from high-volatility APPs in real-time, users can benefit from PAs consistent performance and tightly controlled latency of cached and non-cached data.
Mobile Compatibility: Workspace is mobile and can be accessed from tablets and iPads! Aside from supporting all your web interfaces such as Chrome, Safari, Explorer and Mozilla, you can even access work on the go from meeting to meeting, with mobile compatibility access. This full service analytics solution supports faster loading and scrolling for both web and cloud interfaces that enables high performance across WAN wireless access networks, and has iPad mobile compatibility.
Fast Querying and Loading Time: A T1 debugger in PA now uses a TM1 server as part of the back end. This means whether you are on a web browser or cloud interface there are less latencies and errors in querying, building or visualising reports, as opposed to traditional BI engines. Loading time is two (2) to four (4) times faster.
PAW comes with the above features and more such as combing additional highly versatile visualization features.
What makes your additional visualisation plugins unique with IBM PAW is that it does not require additional add-on licenses!
On the other hand, the installation of PAW is not as smooth sailing as a TM1 or Cognos BI installation. PAW needs an additional software called Docker to be setup before installing PAW. Once docker is installed and ready to use, the next step is PAW installation.
The following diagram shows where Planning Analytics Workspace fits into your IBM Planning Analytics Local architecture:
Though the installation process looks simple, this needs technical manual assistance to fix issues and make installation and configuration a success.
If not all TM1 Experts, at least 98% of technical consultants who would have tried to upgrade from TM1 to PA, whilst installing PAW, would have encountered below error.
Fixing this issue may cause delay in upgrading your system. It may also incur costs to fix this issues in non-prod environment. Once the non-prod is fixed, an outage or planned reboot, as well as BIOS changes are musts to fix the prod environment.
Benefits of PAW on Windows 2016
PAW for Windows 2016 has been available since June 2, 2017 ( 2.0.21).
Let us consider your clients business objectives for a second. Your companies strategy and technolocy benefits from embacing business intelligence trends that has been made available via systems such as the new PAW package support for Windows 2016 OS.
Again, docker is a must for getting PAW installed and configured on Windows 2016. The docker used here is not a native docker but a different docker called docker EE.
What’s the Gain with PAW for Windows 2016 OS?
Microsoft has come long way with confounding features. The most versatile features, we would say, are:
- Nano Server: A Nano Server boasts a 92 percent smaller installation footprint than the Windows Server graphical user interface (GUI) installation option.
- Containers: Docker-based containers to Windows Server.
- Linux Secure Boot: Deploy Linux VMs under Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V with no trouble without having to disable the otherwise stellar Secure Boot feature.
- Storage Replica and ReFS: ReFS is intended as a high-performance, high-resiliency file system intended for use with Storage Spaces Direct and Hyper-V workloads.
- Storage Spaces Direct: More affordable for administrators to create redundant and flexible disk storage.
- Nested Virtualization: Nested virtualization refers to the capability of a virtual machine to itself host virtual machine. Nested virtualization makes sense when a business wants to deploy additional Hyper-V hosts and needs to minimize hardware costs.
- Hyper-V Hot-Add Virtual Hardware: We can now "hot add" virtual hardware while VMs are online and running.
Gain for PA and PAW Administrators
- The first and foremost advantage is that there is no need to have a Virtualize active in VMWARE.
- As there is no need to activate Virtualization, physical server is not required instead a VM can be used for the PAW. Thus reducing not just the cost involved with money but also the time and effort must be counted.
- Embracing new Windows OS with new features means that you can be rest assured in regards to the performance and availability of PAW – which was not the case with TM1 10x.
- Storage Replica is an amazing feature in Windows 2016, this helps during failovers and quit turnaround at critical times.
- All leading to reduced expenses.
Contact one of Octane Software Solutions specialists for an upgrade made easy today!
Planning Analytics is one of the reasons that makes IBM a market leader performance management quadrant.
- We are experts in this Cognos TM1 technology, having extensive experience in upgrading TM1 from older versions to newer Versions.
- Migrated our client’s system from IBM TM1 9x and 10x versions to new trending technology called Planning Analytics TM1.
- Installed Planning Analytics Workspace and integrated with Planning Analytics.
- Installed, configured Planning Analytics with Planning Analytics Workspace on Windows 2016, other Windows OS, AIX, Linux.
Who are Octane Software Solutions?
Octane Software Solutions is an official IBM Business Partner. We specialise in performance management solutions including on-shore and off-shore TM1 delivery. We provide our clients advice on best practices in Business Intelligence and scaling up applications to optimise your return on investment. By working with Octane you do not need to compromise on delivery, support, expertise, and training for end-to-end solutions that are cost effective as well as competitive.
For more details, please visit: www.octanesolutions.com.au
Srinivas is a Senior Technical Consultant at Octane Software Solutions. Learn more about Srinivas via LinkedIn.