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Simple Cognos TM1 Backup Best Practices

How do you create a recoverable backup for a TM1 server instance (TM1 service)? What is best practice? Here is some advice.

Note: as with any guideline or recommendation, there will be circumstances that support deviating from accepted best practice. In these instances, it is recommended that all key stakeholders involved agree that:

  • Simple Cognos TM1 Backup Best PracticesThe reason for deviation is reasonable and appropriate
  • The alternative approach or practice being implemented is reasonable and appropriate

Definition of a Backup

“In information technology, a backup, or the process of backing up, refers to the copying and archiving of computer data so it may be used to restore the original after a data loss event. The verb form is to back up in two words, whereas the noun is backup” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backup).

To be clear, what I mean to refer to here is the creation of an archived copy or image of a specified Cognos TM1 server instance at a specified moment in time that can be used to completely restore that TM1 server to the state it was in when the archive was created.

Procedure

The following outlines the steps recommended for creating a valid backup:

  1. Verify the current size of the TM1 server logs and database folders. Note that the location of these folders is specified in the TM1s.cfg file; look for “DataBaseDirectory” and “LoggingDirectory”. Should you restore from this backup, you should compare these sizes to the size totals after you complete the restore.
  2. Verify that there is available disk space to perform compression of the server logs and database folders and to save the resulting compressed file(s).
  3. Verify that you have appropriate access rights to:
    1. Stop and start TM1 services
    2. Create, save and move files on the appropriate file systems and servers
  4. Notify all TM1 users that the server will be shut down at a specified time
  5. Login to TM1 as a TM1 Admin (preferably the Admin ID not, a client ID granted admin access).
  6. Verify that all TM1 users have exited. (One way to do this is to us right-click on the TM1 server (in TM1 server explorer) and select Server Manager…).
  7. Deactivate (turn off) any active or scheduled TM1 chores (Note: it is important to verify that you have available, up-to-date documentation on chore schedules before deactivating so that you can restore the correct chore schedule after the backup is complete).
  8. Make sure that any software that may have access to the TM1 logs and database folders (for example, virus scanning or automated backups) is temporarily disabled or not scheduled to run during the period of time that you will be creating a backup to avoid the chance of file lock conflicts.
  9. Perform a TM1 SaveDataAll.
  10. Logout of TM1.
  11. Stop the machine service for the TM1 server instance. Note: be sure that the service is not configured to “auto start”. Some environments may have services configured to startup automatically after a period of down time. It is imperative that the TM1 service does not start while a backup is being created.
  12. Verify that the service has stopped.
  13. Using a simple text editor such as MS Windows notepad, open and review the TM1 server log to verify that the TM1 service did stop and no errors occurred during shutdown.
  14. Use certified compression software such as 7-Zip, create a compressed file of the TM1 server logs folder
  15. Use certified compression software such as 7-Zip, create a compressed file of the TM1 server database folder
  16. Rename the compressed files, typically adding a “_date” to the file name for later reference. For example “Forecasting_2014_09_11.zip”.
  17. Move the compressed files to a “work area” and verify that the files can be uncompressed.
  18. Move the compressed files to an area specified for archiving backups, typically one that is subject to an automated network backup. These files should be saved for an appropriate amount of time.
  19. Restart the machine service for the TM1 server instance.
  20. When the TM1 server is available again, login as a TM1 Admin verifying the server is accessible.
  21. Using a simple text editor such as MS Windows notepad, open and review the TM1 server log to verify that the TM1 service did start successfully and no errors occurred during startup.
  22. Reactivate the appropriate TM1 chores (based upon available documentation).
  23. Notify all TM1 users that the server is now available.

Conclusion

Certainty some of the above steps could be eliminated in the process of creating a backup, however in an enterprise environment where business processes depend upon availability and correctness , it is highly recommended that the outlined steps  become standard operating procedure for creating your Cognos TM1 backups. 

Common sense, right? Let’s hope so.

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