ILMT in practice
As compared to other software developers, IBM offers relatively clear licensing terms and conditions, which require considerable accuracy, though. Products licensed based on IBM’s proprietary model known as the Processor Value Unit, commonly referred to as PVU, are particularly interesting as the majority of IBM licenses are sold in exactly this model. To put it simply, PVU is a value assigned by IBM to specific processor cores used by the systems in which its software is running, depending on the processor type and the computer architecture. Simple? In theory, yes.
Full-capacity and sub-capacity
This has to be considered in the context of licensing terms and conditions in the full-capacity or the sub-capacity mode. And again, to cut a long story short, full capacity means the full computing capacity of the machine or machines on which IBM software is running, while sub-capacity is the capacity of the virtualized environment that may be used by the IBM product. Logically speaking, the second model should deliver more benefits as it requires fewer licenses. IBM clients may decide themselves which licensing model suits them better. Needless to say, to obtain sub-capacity pricing an organization needs to satisfy specific conditions first. These include the deployment and configuration of the latest version of ILMT, in addition to tracking IBM PVU-based software license consumption.
IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT) is a no-charge tool, or better, a no-charge system, designed to track and report on PVU license consumption. Currently, IBM’s licensing terms and conditions take account of the multitude of processor and virtualization technologies, offering at the same time detailed rules for determination of the licensing requirements for each of them. These rules require the collection of up-to-date information about the hardware and processor configuration at each virtualization level. This, combined with the necessity to identify the installed IBM software precisely, makes this seemingly charge-free process quite complicated.
The ILMT system consists of three components, namely the Agent, the BigFix Platform and the relevant ILMT application. The role of the Agent is to scan servers regularly so as to identify any IBM software deployed and the values of hardware metrics assigned to each device and virtualization. IBM requires that ILMT be installed on each computer with software that has been purchased under a PVU sub-capacity licensing metric. If the Agent is not deployed, the organization runs the risk of calculation of the license fee for the full capacity. Differences may be several dozen and cost several hundred million in extreme cases. Unfortunately, a vast majority of IBM clients are not aware of the requirement to have the Agent installed also in systems where IBM software is not deployed directly but instead are used as resource and virtualization controllers. These may include Solaris Global Zone or Control Domain for Oracle Virtualization for SPARC (LDOM). In practice, some organizations make a decision to install the Agent in each server system, thus reducing the risk of having IBM software which is not accounted for with the use of ILMT.
Installing ILMT is only half the effort. ILMT requires significant manual configuration and validation in order to align the reports to the true configuration of the environment.
Frequently, IBM software is sold in bundles, i.e. packages offering access to some features, such as IBM DB2 Workgroup Server Edition or IBM WebSphere Application Server Network Deployment without an additional fee under the license agreement for the main software, e.g. IBM Websphere Portal. It is often the case that the same software is installed in the environment in the licensed version separately, which necessitates categorization and assignment of each identified instance to the relevant license. ILMT provides mechanisms that support the decision-making process and components are assigned to the license by default. However, this may lead to incorrect PVU reporting at times.
An understanding of the server environment and the architecture of the IBM solutions that have been deployed is the key to success in assigning individual components to the relevant license. Such knowledge facilitates effective categorization of detected components, in addition to the establishment of automated ILMT rules which, if properly used, reduce the workload required for standard application component validation/assignment.
In order to generate a correct ILMT report, one needs to be aware of the types and number of IBM licenses within the organization. Not only does ILMT enable the import of data containing the part numbers of each IBM product which has been purchased but it also uses them to facilitate the default component – license assignment. Such a list may be prepared on the basis of the history of purchases that is available on the IBM Passport Advantage website as well as the organization’s own sources of information concerning software purchases.
The next step, which is optional, is recording the number of purchased licenses in ILMT. This way ILMT may be turned into a simple Software Asset Management system for IBM products and used for license consumption tracking, in addition to generating automatic alerts whenever missing licenses are identified.
Deloitte’s ILMT readiness services help organizations realize sub-capacity licensing benefits and maximize ILMT value through six key areas:
- Installation and Configuration – Install and configure the key parameters of the ILMT server and its agents in the client’s environment.
- Data Capture and Reporting – Analyze and classify identified hardware and software information to improve reporting accuracy and completeness.
- Product Status Validation – Identify idle or misconfigured software that can be adjusted to potentially reduce licensing requirements.
- Audit Report – Reconcile IBM software deployed to IBM license entitlements to identify potential license exposure or shelfware where the organization could redeploy licenses to reduce software cost.
- Sustainable ILMT Management – Assist organizations in development and implementation processes and procedures to maintain IBM software and ILMT and employ strategies to improve license consumption as the IT environment evolves over time.
- Overall ILMT Maintenance – Deliver services managed in the client’s infrastructure or through ILMT in the infrastructure of Deloitte.