Cognos Analytics

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I'm ready to upgrade Cognos Analytics. Which release should I upgrade to?

By Tim Aston posted Mon April 15, 2024 09:42 AM


For so many of you, Cognos Analytics is a critical part of running your business.  You rely on it to deliver analytics you can trust, and you can't afford downtime.  So naturally, when it comes time to upgrading Cognos, you prefer to proceed with caution.  And part of that caution is making a very considered choice about what version to upgrade to.

Long-Term Support Releases vs. Innovation Releases

The Cognos Analytics team generally releases delivers 2 types of releases from 2 branches or streams.  We call one of these branches the Long-Term Support Release (LTSR), and the other the Innovation Releases.

Long-term support releases are specific versions of Cognos that we declare we will provide ongoing support for.  By support, we mean that critical fixes will be released for this version for at least 2 years in the form of fix-packs, and that you will be able to get customer support for this version for at least that length of time, with extended support options being available beyond that time frame.  No new features will be delivered, and nor will fixes for non-critical defects.

Innovation releases is where all the action happens.  This is where we deliver all new features.  And these releases also receive all the same critical fixes as long-term support releases, plus many non-critical fixes as well.

That's how the 2 branches differ.  But they also have some important similarities.  As mentioned, both releases will have the latest critical fixes available in them.  While the release cadence varies, both branches see multiple releases a year.  Innovation release and fix packs for long-term support releases are packaged in the same way, and both have the same installation process including support for over-the-top installs.  And most importantly of all, they are both subjected to the same degree of rigorous and comprehensive quality control before they are made available.

What are the current LTSR and Innovation Releases?

At the time of writing, our latest LTSR branch is 11.2.4, and the latest release is 11.2.4 Fix Pack 3.

The current innovation stream is 12.0, and the latest release is 12.0.2.

Which stream do I pick?

The rule of thumb is: Upgrade to the latest innovation stream release, unless functionality has been deprecated from it that you rely on and that is available in the LTSR.

For example: three legacy components Query Studio, Analysis Studio and Cognos Workspace have been deprecated from 12.0.  If you have not been able to transition away from these components yet, then 11.2.4 is the best choice for you until you can make that transition.

Another consideration is if all the data sources you rely on are supported in the innovation stream.  Cognos supports a massive set of versions of different data sources.  But as the vendors for these data sources drop their support, we generally deprecate support for those versions in Cognos as well, while continuing to maintain all versions that are supported by their vendor.   Here are the latest DQM supported data source versions.

Is it somehow riskier or more work to go with the innovation steam over the LTSR?  Absolutely not.  As mentioned earlier, both are tested just as thoroughly, both are installed with the same process, and both receive the same critical fixes.  And being with the latest release can be hugely advantageous to make sure you get the latest features, for things like self-service dashboards, AI and much much more.  You can read more about the advantages of upgrading to the latest release here.


Whatever version you choose, you can be confident that you've got chosen the only BI solution that can meet all of an Enterprises needs.  The latest release in the innovation stream is the option for most of you to choose, but there are some valid situations where LTSR is the right choice.