Technical implications when moving to PAL: A TM1 upgrade checklist

Oct 26. 20184 min read
Markus Fynmore

With just under one year left of IBM supporting TM1 version 10.2.2, it can be assumed that most TM1 customers have at least started preparations for an upgrade to Planning Analytics (PA). The support aspect appears to be an underlying driver for the version upgrade, particularly if corporate policy prohibits the use of unsupported software. However, Planning Analytics offers other features such as alternate hierarchies, new clients (PAX, PAW), improved clients (TM1 Web), performance boosts following new configuration parameters, or the option to move to a cloud-based system.

Most of these features can but don’t have to be used, which leaves TM1 customers with some decisions to make (see upgrade decision tree). It will be the case that certain customers will, at least initially, only require the base upgrade without any additional features. This may be because transitioning to the full spectrum of features would introduce unwanted risks to the ongoing operation of their existing TM1 model. Other customers might prefer a step-by-step approach, starting with a base upgrade, in order to gain sufficient time to ascertain whether, for example, enabling alternate hierarchies, provides clear benefits to their model.

Irrespective of the upgrade strategy, a defined test concept is useful to mitigate risks involved in the process. This article provides a checklist for a base upgrade to Planning Analytics Local (PAL) which can be used to define such a test concept. The checklist addresses technical implications of a base upgrade to your TM1 model and should contain, but is not limited to, the following questions:

Checklist: Minimal upgrade

TM1 version to upgrade from

Rationale: In version 10.2.2 FP7 IF4 a change was made to the format of .cub files with regards to the storage of string data. The same change was performed in Planning Analytics 2.0.2 IF4. As a consequence, downgrading from either of these models to a previous version is not possible.
Recommendation: Prior to upgrading to PAL, upgrade to a version equal or higher than 10.2.2 FP7 IF4 to create a safe base to which a backwards migration can be performed if necessary.

Current memory consumption

Rationale: PAL requires up to 50% more memory than 10.2.2
Recommendation: Make sure sufficient memory buffer is in place.

Number of cubes and amount of rules

Rationale: This provides an indication of the model size and the amount of testing necessary as PAL appears to be stricter on certain aspects of rules (i.e. using incorrect no. of arguments in DB function). In general, silent errors in 10.2.2 seem to turn into explicit errors in PAL.
Recommendation: Create PAL test instance to test rules which are critical to operation. Furthermore, carefully analyze server startup in log file.

Number of TI processes

Rationale: This provides an indication of the model size and the amount of testing necessary as experience shows that TI processes can run slower and / or lead to different results after the upgrade.
Recommendation: Create PAL test instance to test processes which are critical to operation. Specifically check correctness of results and compare run times to previous run times. In case problems are detected, identify where workarounds are feasible and where an escalation to IBM is necessary.

Number of TI processes that are part of chores for daily maintenance batch updates

Rationale: TI processes which are part of chores performing daily maintenance updates are of critical significance as they are connected to the core maintenance and setup of the TM1 model.
Recommendation: Allow for sufficient time to test such TI processes.

Number of Websheets / Excel Sheets which are part of the application

Rationale: Websheets / Excel Sheets need to be verified as working in PAL especially when containing active forms. The more complex or custom active forms are the more likely they might not work perfectly in PAL. Furthermore, the new TM1Web was primarily designed for PAX, so Excel-based templates which work in Perspectives might not fully work in TM1Web anymore.
Recommendation: Create PAL test instance to test Websheets / Excel Sheets which are critical to operation.

Current user authentication mode

Rationale: In case Cognos BI is being used for user authentication, an upgrade to Cognos Analytics will be required, as support for Cognos BI 10.2.2 ended in April 2018.
Recommendation: Upgrade to Cognos Analytics if Cognos BI is used for user authentication.

In summary:

Recognizing any technical implications should be the first step when planning to upgrade your TM1 model to PAL. A defined test concept which addresses these implications should then follow to determine necessary test resource allocation and ultimately to mitigate risk. The checklist in this post can be incorporated into test concepts for a base upgrade of your TM1 model. It is recommended to use test concepts for other stages of the utilization of PAL, especially before enabling alternate hierarchies.

An in-depth analysis on the technical implications resulting from enabling alternate hierarchies can be found here

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