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What's New in Rational Reporting For Development Intelligence 2.0

Rational Reporting for Development Intelligence (RRDI) is Rational's strategic development intelligence reporting solution for the CLM products: RTC, RQM, and RRC. It provides advanced reporting capabilities by integrating a fully functional Cognos BI reporting solution into a CLM installation. Providing RRDI with CLM gives CLM advanced report authoring and customization capabilities "out of the box".

Reports may be imported into CLM product dashboards, run using the RTC or RQM product UI, or by directly accessing the Cognos Connection web portal. RRDI also provides advanced reporting features offered by Cognos BI such as saving report output for later display, exporting report output to formats such as PDF or Microsoft Excel, scheduling report execution, and automating distribution of report output. Not all of these are exposed throught the CLM products but they can be used directly from Cognos BI.

RRDI is available as an optional download from jazz.net. There is no separate license required; its use is covered by CLM product licenses.

The first RRDI release (1.0.2) shipped with CLM 3.0.1 in June 2011. It incorporated Cognos BI 8.4.1. Based on the feedback we received on that offering, we've substantially improved RRDI in several key areas. The result is RRDI 2.0 that will ship with CLM 4.0. The improvements in RRDI 2.0 include:

  • 64 bit WebSphere Application Server support
  • New Platform Support
  • Support Cognos BI 10.1.1
  • Totally new install and configuration process
  • Report generation performance improvements
  • Clustering for High Availability
  • Support for Server rename

64 bit WebSphere, New Platforms, and Cognos BI 10.1.1 Support

One of the primary issues with the previous release was that it required a 32 bit WebSphere Application Server. For RRDI 2.0, we've lifted that restriction so that we now support 64 bit as well. This will make your overall CLM configuration much simpler as there is no longer a need to maintain a 32 bit WebSphere Application Server for RRDI.

We've also updated our set of supported platforms by adding:

  • RHEL 6, x86 32 and 64 bit
  • SUSE 11, x86 32 and 64 bit, and System/z
  • AIX 7.1
  • MS Windows 32 and 64 bit
  • WebSphere Application Server 8, 32 and 64 bit. Note that we no longer bundle WebSphere in the offering. It must be installed independently
  • MS SQL Server 2008 R2

The previous version of RRDI contained Cognos BI 8.4.1. RRDI 2.0 has upgraded to Cognos BI 10.1.1, which contains many significant improvements.


New Install and Configuration

Making the install process simpler and more automated was a key goal for this release. To achieve that, and to make the process similar to the way CLM is installed and configured, we separated it into three distinct phases: Launchpad, installation, and Setup. The Launchpad provides information about the process and initiates the installer. The installer loads the software onto the system. The Setup configures the software to produce a working system. We implemented the Setup process as a JTS based application using the same technology and appearance as CLM Setup.

The New Launchpad

The Launchpad is totally new for this release. It contains several panels that contain valuable product information. Key here is a list of all the information you'll need (such as database access credentials) to successfully install and configure RRDI.

Launchpad Required Information Screen

Once you have assembled the requirement information, use the Launchpad to initiate the software installation by going to the "Install RRDI" page.

Installation

The installation process now only installs the software. All the system configuration that was done during install in the previous release is now deferred to the new Setup application. Therefore, the install process is simple and straightforward. The steps are essentially "click through" with only two real options:

  • If you are on a 64 bit system, it displays an option for either 32 or 64 bit architecture. You must select the proper value to match the WebSphere Application Server on that system. This option is not displayed when running on a 32 bit system.

    Installation Manager Package panel


  • The Feature Selection page has the option of installing Cognos examples. This option was present in RRDI 1.0.2.x also. It provides a set of sample reports, data, and other material that Cognos makes available for training purposes. Note that all RRDI will do is install the bits. You must manually configure them if you select this.

    Installation Manager Feature Selection panel

After finishing the install process, the installer will offer to start the Setup Server. You can start it this way, from the Windows Start menu, or by running the supplied script file. The server must be running though, before you can start the Setup process.

The New Setup Application

The new Setup application is conceptually and structurally similar to the JTS Setup. It is a Jazz application that follows the same "Look and Feel" as JTS setup. The RRDI installer configures it automatically so there is no need to "Set up the Setup". It consists of a dedicated Tomcat server, a Jazz Server, and the application. This JTS and Tomcat are dedicated to the RRDI Setup application. They are not used by CLM.

Once your Setup Server is up and running, enter the application by navigating a browser to the Setup URL. After logging in, the application starts by presenting a list of "scenarios" you can select from. The main one is to set up the Rational Reporting system. There are other scenarios to handle various version migrations, post install operations, load the Cognos archive files containing the reports and data model for the CLM products, etc.

Setup Scenarios page

Once you select a scenario, the application takes you through a sequence of steps to perform various operations. The "Setup Rational Reporting" scenario contains steps to perform these operations:

  • Configure the Database Management System
  • Configure the Content Store database
  • Configure the Data Warehouse
  • Configure the Application Server Profile
  • Configure Rational Reporting User Authentication
  • Build and Deploy Reporting Components

All pages contain the same structure, with a left pane showing the sequence of steps, a central pane unique to that task containing at least one Action button, and typical wizard style Back and Next buttons.

The Database Management System configuration page is a typical page showing this structure.

Setup Configure Database Management System page


All scenarios end with a Summary page showing the results.

Setup Scenario Summary page


Report Generation Performance Improvements

We made two significant changes in RRDI 2.0 that significantly improve report execution performance:

  • We changed the cardinality of many joins in the Framework Manager model from n-n to 1-n
  • Incorporated fixes we received from Cognos

Together, these fixes yield a 30% to 50% improvement in many report executions.

Clustering and Server Rename Support

CLM 4.0 introduces clustering for high availability and server rename capabilities. RRDI 2.0 fully participates in both of these. You can cluster your RRDI deployment for high availability. You can rename your RRDI server or the CLM server it works with, if you need to change a public URI. Please consult the Information Center for more information on both of these features.

RRDI 2.0 Summary

We have worked hard to significantly improve RRDI in this release. The new installation and configuration implementation has made the overall process more approachable and familiar, since it parallels the CLM process. The addition of support for 64 bit WebSphere Application Server removes the need for a separate 32 bit WebSphere Application Server. This should greatly simplify the overall configuration complexity. The report generation performance improvments should provide a visible execution time benefit. Overall, this release is much improved in several key dimensions, will provide tangible benefits to users, and positions us well for future enhancements.


About the authors

Michael Fox is the architect and a technical lead for the RRDI Development Team. He has been a technical lead for RRDI since its initial versions. He can be contacted at foxm@us.ibm.com.

Cheng-Yee Lin is the development lead and a technical lead for the RRDI Development Team. He has lead the development of every release of RRDI. He can be contacted at clin@us.ibm.com.

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