Cognos Maintenance Mode & Server Unavailable Configuration

If a Cognos server is down for planned maintenance or is offline when the user logs in or fails while the user(s) are logged in, users may be presented with highly technical error messages or unexpected behavior by the QueryVision’s Web Parts.

To improve the user experience, including better informing them of the SharePoint/QueryVision/Cognos status, a number of dynamically configurable features have been added:

  • Maintenance Mode – If in Maintenance Mode, the QueryVision Web Parts will not attempt to logon to Cognos, presenting the user with a SharePoint Administrator configurable error message.
  • Cognos Server Unavailable – Provide error checking and user friendly messaging for Cognos server availability before attempting to log into Cognos – which is particularly important for Single Sign On.

Maintenance Mode is intended for scheduled maintenance and will immediately halt the logon process for any QueryVision Web Part.

Cognos Server Unavailable functionality and message is intended for unscheduled/unexpected Cognos server down time, ensuring that the user is halted within QueryVision Web Parts before Single Sign On or Challenge/Response logon is attempted and presenting them with a user friendly message.

If Maintenance Mode is enabled, then the Maintenance Mode message and behavior overrides the Cognos Server Unavailable message and behavior.

Maintenance Mode and Cognos Server Unavailable messages to the user(s) and QueryVision Web Part behavior can be configured through properties in the QvtDynConfig.xml file. The QvtCynConfig.xml file allows a SharePoint Administrator to update the file and it will be dynamically read by the QueryVision Web Parts application – avoiding the need to restart the associated SharePoint Application Pool or SharePoint server.

The QvtDynConfig.xml configuration file allows for a Maintenance Mode and Cognos Server Unavailable setting and messages that applies for:

  • All Cognos Servers
  • Individual Cognos servers
    • Applies where multiple Cognos Servers are user selectable
    • Overrides the “all cognos servers” settings

The following is the “as shipped” QvtDynConfig.xml sections for Maintenance Mode and Cognos Server Unavailable:

The common configuration properties are as follows:

  • Maintenance Mode
    • InMaintenance [True/False (default] – If True, no web part will attempt to logon or redirect to logon and the Maintenance Message to be displayed
    • MaintenanceMessage [string] – Provides message that will displayed to the user in any QueryVision Web Part if InMaintenance = True
  • CognosServerUnavailable
    • Message [string] – Provides message that will displayed to the user if the Cognos Server is offline or goes offline while user(s) are logged in. If Maintenance Mode is enabled it overrides the CognosServerUnavailable message and behavior
    • AllowManualRedirect [True/False (default] – If True, will all the user to attempt to redirect to logon

Configuration file settings allow for “base” Maintenance Mode and Cognos Server Unavailable settings, plus optional Cognos Server specific messages and behavior.

Where a single Cognos server is available for users, then only the “base” settings (see green box, labelled “1, above) are required to be set. This is typically the case where Single Sign On authentication is used.

If multiple Cognos servers are selectable by the user, or for optional additional detail, each Cognos Server can have their own Maintenance Mode and Cognos Server Unavailable settings (see blue box, labelled “2”, above). If the Cognos Server is known by the QueryVision Web part (e.g. currently only the authentication web parts know which Cognos Server they are attempting to connect to), then it will use the Cognos Server specific settings. Otherwise, the “base” settings will be used.