IBM Cloud Pak – diverse packages and their licensing

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IBM Cloud Pak – diverse packages and their licensing

IBM is addressing the expectations of a growing number of clients willing to move their resources to the cloud. Off-the-shelf Enterprise IBM Cloud Pak container packages are to make it easier for them by providing the opportunity to transfer business applications from any cloud with the use of the open source technology.

Why the cloud?

At the end of 2020 Deloitte published its global TMT Predictions 2021 report discussing the key trends impacting the future of technology, media and telecommunications sectors all over the world. Migration to the cloud was one of them. The year 2019 witnessed a 30% increase in cloud-related expenditures, with a slow down in 2020 which comes as no surprise given the COVID-19-induced crisis. Nevertheless, according to forecasts between 2021 and 2025 the expenditures growth will be maintained at the level from 2019. What is the reason behind such trend and what makes the cloud so popular? The following advantages of this solution may serve as an answer:

  • Quick access to the necessary computing resources without the need to make massive investment in traditional IT systems (the IT infrastructure is outside the company’s registered office),
  • Client’s IT infrastructure managed by the service provider,
  • Scalability,
  • The opportunity to adjust efficiency depending on the number of users and their needs.

What is the situation in Poland? The study carried out in 2020 by Deloitte and ICAN Institute with the support of Google Cloud indicated that 31% of Polish companies have already implemented solutions using cloud computing, while 22% are planning to implement them in the nearest future. It also turned out that the companies, which have decided to introduce the cloud, apart from the above-mentioned advantages have also noticed that it increases the innovation level and the operational dynamics of an organization. The security issues and integrating the company’s systems with the cloud are the greatest source of concern. Still, once the cloud is implemented those doubts often prove groundless.

Is secure application migration to the cloud possible? IBM Cloud Paks

The IBM Cloud Pak solution provides the opportunity to move business applications to any cloud in a fast and secure manner. It was introduced in 2019 as ready-to-use, AI-powered packages of Enterprise class containers using the open source technology. Cloud Paks include the IBM certificate to operate on the Red Hat OpenShift platform based on Kubernetes, which allows to implement already developed applications in any infrastructure - from Mainframe computers to commercial public clouds. Moreover, IBM Cloud Paks use AI algorithms, which is possible thanks to the IBM Watson technology.

IBM Cloud Paks solutions share one joint element, i.e. corporate components such as security and identity services, monitoring or audit functions. Such a common set of operational services ensures integrated program solutions servicing AI. They also have a consistent module architecture and help with improving cooperation and efficiency.

IBM Cloud Pak – diverse packages

To meet the requirements of various client environments, IBM offer six different Cloud Pak packages:

  • IBM Cloud Pak for Applications is aimed at supporting programers in developing, implementing and launching native applications in the cloud. The mobility of application and data enables easier modernization of the existing applications.
  • IBM Cloud Pak for Automation helps automate business processes and streamline operations. It covers a wide range of automation functions based on AI. It allows to move the existing automation environments to the cloud without modifying the application.
  • IBM Cloud Pak for Data is designed for individuals working with data. It simplifies and standardizes data gathering, arranging and analyzing process. It enables obtaining data from applications for analytical services based on the platform and ensures easy AI implementation. Integrated cloud architecture helps extract valuable insights from the data.
  • IBM Cloud Pak for Integration designed for integration specialists and programers to support them with easier integration of applications, data, cloud services and API interface. It helps adopt a new approach to integration focused on AI.
  • IBM Cloud Pak for Multicloud Management enables an insight into applications and clusters within the entire enterprise in any public or private cloud. It streamlines automation by simplifying the management of IT operations and applications. It gives the opportunity to manage multi-cloud environment through a consistent and automated set of configuration and security principles throughout all the applications and clusters.
  • IBM Cloud Pak for Security enables fast integration of the existing security tools without the necessity of transferring data. It helps identify threats and take the right decision accordingly. Automates responses to security breaches.

Cloud Paks licencing

Virtual Processor Core (VPC) is one of the licencing measurement units used by IBM to determine the licencing cost of its products. It is based on the number of virtual cores available for a given product. A virtual processor is a virtual core assigned to a virtual machine or a physical processor core if the server is not partitioned for virtual machines. Cloud Pak products licencing is based on this very unit. The Licensee must acquire entitlements to every Virtual Processor Core made available for the program.

Cloud Paks can be implemented either as containers or not. In the first case the usage level is monitored by the IBM License Service Tool. It works both in the cloud and in container environments. It measures and collects information about the VPCs used by programs at the cluster level. License Service is installed automatically as a part of the product and exerts a minimum impact on the cluster capacity. It runs in the background and does not require any configuration or engagement on the part of the user.

IBM License Metric Tool(ILMT) is intended for gathering information on the usage of licenses of products installed locally. ILMT collects and measures the license usage per product according to the Process Value Unit at the level of a virtual machine. It can also be used to measure the level of implementations per the Virtual Processor Core for local products. ILMT registers the product use within the sub-capacity model. This means that instead of defining the usage based on machine specification, the usage can be defined on the basis of the actual use.

All IBM Cloud Paks packages require that relevant entitlements, equal to the licence requirements, are acquired and measured in line with the measurement included in the license document for a given package version. All products included in the Cloud Pak have a predefined entitlement conversion rate. IBM License Service Tool includes conversion automatically, while the ILMT requires that we run the conversion ourselves to precisely monitor the use of products.

For instance, package programs for IBM Cloud Pak for Applications version 4.2.0 include: IBM Cloud Private, IBM WebSphere Application Server Liberty Core, IBM WebSphere Application Server Network Deployment, IBM WebSphere Application Server and IBM MobileFirst Platform Foundation. Let’s take a look at two examples to illustrate how the entitlements conversion works. For IBM WebSphere Application Server Network Deployment the entitlement conversion rate is: 1 VPC /1 VPC, i.e. 1:1 – there is no need for conversion. But for instance for IBM WebSphere Application Server Network Liberty Core the entitlement conversion rate is: 8 VPC / 1 VPC, i.e. every 8 VPC for this product is calculated as 1 VPC. This means that when IBM WebSphere Application Server Liberty Core uses 800 VPC, 100 VPC contributes to the VPC use throughout the entire Cloud Pak package. When calculating the required number of entitlements it should be remembered that the conversion rate may vary for production and non-production program versions.

The entitlements conversion option can be used as part of implementation at one’s own discretion and entitlements conversion between package programs can be performed at any time. The advantage of this solution lies in the possibility of freely distributing the licenses held depending on the current needs. Yet, complicated licensing process presents a considerable challenge as the total number of implementations should not exceed the total number of entitlements to the program.

Summary

Cloud computing opens up a number of possibilities for businesses. Multiple advantages that “migration to the cloud” offers makes this move more and more popular. IBM Cloud Pak packages is a new solution, which has recently appeared on the market. According to IBM it ensures fast and secure transfer of applications to any cloud. The diversity of packages makes it possible to adjust them to the current business needs. Once the licenses have been purchased it is worth remembering to continuously monitor their usage level in order not to exceed the acquired license entitlements. Therefore, maintaining compliance may be challenging. Deloitte offers assistance for companies with regard to licencing IBM products. Our company is an authorized partner of the IBM Authorized SAM Partner (IASP), which ensures licence compliance. During the course of the program no licence compliance reviews are performed. For more details please read the article IBM Authorized SAM Partner Program.

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