1. Hardware Specifications – Memory
This item is first on our list simply due to the implications of exceeding the amount of memory on your hardware – be it virtualized or not. Within 32-bit Servers consuming all available memory will crash a IBM Cognos TM1 Server in most cases, Under 64-bit Hardware the Pagefile will be used which is approximately 8 times slower than Memory.
The Bottom Line: While TM1 is running on your Hardware the Memory consumption of that hardware shouldn’t exceed 80%. If you are going past this mark it is time for an upgrade, which is not the end of the world with how cheap Memory is.
2. TM1 and Virtual Servers
Server Virtualization technology has come a long way in the last decade and it’s easy to see why it’s so readily adopted by IT Departments across the world. The space saving, cost saving and time saving benefits far outweigh the alternatives. But as a recommendation for IBM Cognos TM1 we do not endorse virtualizing a Physical Server which runs a TM1 Application Server.
There are two major reasons for this:
- TM1 doesn’t behave like traditional business intelligence applications or other databases which store a majority (80%+) of their information on the Hard drive, instead TM1 harnesses the performance of memory on the server and although Virtualization has made some amazing strides in performance of simulated hardware there is presently still a ‘interpretation’ lag for want of a better term where instead of TM1 accessing Memory directly, it accesses the memory controller in the virtual environment which then accesses that memory from the physical host server.
- The second reason is that this creates a noticeable lag.
The Bottom Line: Although we do not recommend virtualization for TM1 servers it pays to understand that the cost and time saving benefit from an IT perspective can far outweigh optimal performance of a single Application server within your company.
3. Where is TM1 Running?
It may seem like an obvious proposition, but we recommend that TM1 is always running on a Dedicated Server. TM1 has a built in feature which can run TM1 application servers through the TM1 Excel Client (Perspectives), and in many old implementations this was seen to be favorable due to Finance/Management Accounting TM1 Projects often flying under the IT Radar.
The Bottom Line: Where possible have a TM1 Dedicated Server provisioned by IT, Documentation on how to install TM1 versions 9.4 and 9.5 can be found in our Articles Directory.
4. Making the most of TM1
With all recent versions of TM1 comes TM1Web – a Web-based Report Browser for TM1 Reports made in Excel and stored to the Application’s Directory within a TM1 Server. TM1Web has limited capabilities as the reports must be authored within Excel only. But TM1Web still has some great features which shouldn’t be overlooked.
The Bottom Line: As a cheap (often free) add-on to TM1, potential uses for this software should be considered.
5. Computer Network
It’s no hidden fact that IBM Cognos TM1 Perspectives (The Excel Add-in) performs poorly over the Internet. This is due to the “chatty” protocol used by TM1, Requests are small and frequently made. Some calls are not asynchronously made which results in “freeze” time while waiting for certain results.
But what many people don’t realize is that a poor performing Office Network can also be the cause of Microsoft Excel Crashes when using TM1 Perspectives and likewise Virtual Private Networks which link different Offices crossing states and countries are also the cause of a lot of trouble for the little Excel Add-in.
The Test: You can test your Network’s Stability by opening a command prompt on your workstation and typing “Ping *YourTM1ServerName* -t” replacing *YourTM1ServerName*. For Example: “ping google.com -t”. If you recieve a “Resuest Timed Out” or any other error within the first 100 replies you may encounter issues when using TM1 Perspectives.
The Bottom Line: Most Networks will be up to a standard which will not cause any trouble for TM1 Users but when you have a substandard Office Network or Virtual Private Network you can either invest millions into making your network more stable and faster performing or you can simply use another frontend for accessing TM1 Reports and Cubes like TM1Web.
6. TM1 Software Version
I happened to come across a company within the last month who still use TM1 version 7 which was released in 1998. While we do not recommend you upgrade to the most recent release of TM1 we do recomend a version at least from this decade.
The Test: You can check your version of TM1 when in TM1 Perspectives by opening “Server Explorer” and clicking “Help” then “About Perspectives”.
The Bottom Line: When choosing a TM1 version make sure to be on the latest fix pack. At the time of writing this Article we recommend versions:
- TM1 9.4.1 Latest Service/Fix Pack.
- TM1 9.5.2 Latest Service/Fix Pack.