How to identify machines not covered through ILMT and therefore subject to full-capacity pricing?
Sub-capacity and full-capacity are calculation methodologies that do apply to two specific metrics at IBM, namely the PVU metric which means Processor Value Unit and the RVU metric which is the Resource Value Unit.
We can say that the PVU metric is the number one cause of incompliance for IBM. It is a metric that is used in the majority of server based IBM products and a very common metric for high cost IBM products in brands such as Websphere, DB2 and Tivoli.
The number of licenses required for a PVU based product is based on the processor technology defined within IBM’s PVU Table. In fact PVU is in some way comparable to a core factor, where a weight is given to the performance of a machine. A PVU requirement is calculated per processor core assigned to the machine and will vary based on the Processor Vendor, Brand, Type and Model Number of the processor as well as the number of processors that are made available to the Program.
So you can say that the PVU factor is impacted by the number of processors and the specifics of those processors, but the actual calculation will be based on the number of Processor Cores.
Now that you understand that the calculations are based on the processor cores made available to the program, let’s address the calculation methodologies:
Similar to some other vendor products, there is a difference between the virtualized capacity and the physical capacity and the corresponding license requirements. In IBM terms this means that PVU’s or RVU’s can be calculated in two ways: Full-capacity versus Sub-capacity.
Full-capacity means that PVU entitlements are required to cover all activated processor cores in the physical hardware environment whereas sub-capacity means that we are looking into the Virtualization Capacity. Sub-capacity allows customers to license less than the full capacity of the server so basically only the partitions that are assigned to the software product, and not for the entire physical machine. This can reduce licensing costs for the customers significantly and we have seen scenarios where sub-capacity license requirements are +5 times lower than the corresponding full-capacity calculations.
It is important to know that for a specific product in a virtualized environment the sub-capacity calculations can never exceed the corresponding full-capacity license requirements. For example, if you would have a physical host with a lot of virtual machines underneath, the sub-capacity calculations will be capped to the limitations of the physical machine, which is full-capacity. This is typically the case for products that are installed on almost all machines in the datacenter, such as back-up software or monitoring software.
Sadly, many customers are not even aware of the concept of sub-capacity versus full-capacity. They already thought everything would be calculated based on the virtualized capacity and that can lead to very unpleasant surprises during an audit, because a customer needs to comply to some specific requirements in order to be eligible for sub-capacity licensing.
The criteria to fulfil sub-capacity eligibility are the following:
The last one is definitely the most important one… using one of the three mandatory IBM technologies. For all of these three IBM tools we have out-of-the-box SIM connectors.
The first three points are typically met and they basically are what they are, but the last point about the mandatory technologies, let’s simplify it to ILMT, is exactly the key requirement that can lead to serious incompliance if it is not met.
In case ILMT is not used at all or if it is not installed on all machines having PVU based IBM software this will lead to full-capacity license requirements. All machines having IBM PVU software in virtualized environments, need to have the ILMT agent installed, otherwise this means full-capacity license requirements on those machines that lack the ILMT agent.
So this means you need to get to know your unknown unknowns, i.e. those machines where ILMT should have been installed but where it currently is not installed at all.
And exactly that, the mitigation of your highest risk related to PVU based products, is what we can achieve through Snow License Manager. We have a report in Snow License Manager that highlights all virtual machines where we see PVU based products but where we did not get the PVU data from ILMT, TADd or Bigfix Inventory:
The information in this report will give our customers insight into where they should rectify the situation by installing the ILMT agent, before they become the victim of an audit where the consequence would be full-capacity calculations on those machines.
Many customers are wondering whether there any exceptions to those mandatory IBM technologies.
In reality there are no real exceptions to the mandatory IBM technologies (ILMT, TADd or Bigfix Inventory). We have seen competitors (i.e. Flexera) claiming to have technology that is eligible for sub-capacity. Please refer to the topic ‘Is it possibly to use an alternative technology for Sub-Capacity?’ to better understand the current situation on this.
However, note also that the sub-capacity eligibility criteria do not apply in case of the following exceptions:
In case a customer qualifies for one of the exceptions above, the following is the requirement:
“Generate manual Audit Reports at least each calendar or fiscal quarter and retain for a period of not less than two years the Audit Reports and make these reports available to IBM upon notice…”
Note that the exception related to 1000 employees or 1000 PVUs is not very common and only applies to customers for which IBM licensing is typically not a focus area. Be aware also that the manual audit report requirement is rarely applied, which means such customers are still at risk if they don’t have such manual reporting in place (or use ILMT).
If there is additional inventory on top of the ILMT data (such as the Snow agent) there will be an automated alert on the Snowboard stating that there are devices running PVU based products with no data from ILMT.
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