Cognos Delivers Linux Support

Cognos this week delivered a Linux-ready version of its ReportNet enterprise-reporting product

As promised, Cognos Inc. this week delivered a Linux-ready version of its ReportNet enterprise reporting product.

If you’ve got a hankering to deploy a Linux-powered instance of ReportNet on that new Intel server your IT department just acquired, you’re going to have to wait, however: This ReportNet runs only on top of Red Hat Linux, and for now runs only on RISC hardware from IBM Corp.

Cognos and IBM announced the impending release of a Linux-ready flavor of ReportNet in August, in a release timed to coincide with the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo. At the time, both partners pledged to deliver a version of ReportNet for IBM’s pSeries RISC servers, followed by an Intel version at a later time.

Why pSeries? Because IBM was pushing hard to make it happen, says Caroline Seymour, director of product marketing with Cognos.

“We are committed to the Intel version, but there’s been a big push from IBM, and we’ve worked so closely with IBM from a joint perspective to make this happen,” she says. “We’re just seeing a huge momentum and push from IBM to help make Linux viable.”

When it announced its Linux gambit in August, Cognos—like other prominent BI players—acknowledged that a mainstream market for BI-based Linux solutions is still waiting to materialize. Not much has changed in three months, reports Seymour: “What we’re seeing from our own customer base is that Linux is definitely on top of the radar of people within their infrastructure,” she comments. “A lot of customers are still using it for file and print services, but moving forward, they’re looking to leverage that infrastructure to actually enhance it and extend the Linux infrastructure for applications such as business intelligence.”

This week, Cognos announced that ReportNet has been certified as “Red Hat Ready” for Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux. Going forward, Cognos also plans to support Novell Inc.’s SuSE Linux, as well, says Seymour. “It’s really down to two vendors, Red Hat and Novell, and it was always our intent to initially support the Red Hat, so that may not have come across in the original release,” she confirms. “It’s not that we’re not going to go support it, it’s just that today, our first release of Linux is with Red Hat, and what’s key to ensure our customers confidence in it was the certification.”

Also this week, Cognos and IBM announced an upcoming road show to promote Cognos BI solutions running on Linux and pSeries. Starting November 16, the two partners plan to host a series of seminars—officially titled “The Changing Economics of Business Intelligence: An Executive Forum on Delivering Top-line Revenue”—in several locations in North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region. Cognos and IBM plan to tap the expertise of influential business consultancy The Robert Frances Group to help make the case for Linux and open source.

“This is an IBM- and Cognos-sponsored event, but we’re using really the analyst group to talk about the changing economics of business intelligence and the importance of open source and Web architectures and so forth, so from a pitch perspective, it’s relatively small from IBM and Cognos,” she asserts.

Seymour would not disclose whether Cognos plans to port the rest of its BI stack to Linux, as several other BI vendors have done. “It’s definitely something we’re thinking about, and we’re closely monitoring the market from that perspective, but I think what ReportNet brings to the table was a new Web services architecture that was ideal for [a porting effort] like this,” she concludes.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.