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With IBM, you’re licensing at full-capacity if you don’t have ILMT

Sharon Trembley, Senior Analyst, Miro Consulting | March 28, 2016
The IBM License Metric Tool ensures you only pay for what you use

There is no downside to a licensing model where you only pay for what you’re actually using and have the ability to increase or decrease licensing. This is what makes the IBM sub-capacity licensing model so attractive.

The advantages of IBM’s sub-capacity licensing model are obvious, but the misinterpretations and misunderstanding of how to deploy sub-capacity happens frequently. In fact, I would say three out of five clients we work with start out saying they are using sub-capacity licensing when in reality they are using full-capacity licenses.

Your enterprise is always at full-capacity with IBM unless the appropriate steps are taken to change that status to sub-capacity IBM licensing. With few exceptions, IBM will consider an organization at full-capacity unless IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT) is implemented. What does this mean? If ILMT hasn’t been implemented, IBM doesn’t recognize your right to license at sub-capacity and will, in fact, view the organization’s license metrics as a full-capacity IBM licensing model. Under full-capacity licensing, you must license all active, physical processors in the server versus sub-capacity licensing where you pay for the virtual cores allocated.

The problem is, sub-capacity licensing has been the predominant issue in IBM software licensing compliance, leading to a greatly increased financial exposure for any organization not licensing correctly.  And with IBM feeling the earnings pinch of late, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the company put an even greater emphasis on audits, meaning that if you’re going to pursue sub-capacity licensing, you better get it right.

The first thing to consider are existing assumptions, many of which may be incorrect. Software license rules are often complex and, in the cases where they are not, people have a tendency not to believe them. This applies to IBM licensing rules, where there has been and continues to be assumptions because “the other software vendors have the same rules” or “because my IBM rep would never steer me wrong.”

Unfortunately, assumptions do happen and the top three most common assumptions we hear are:

1.         We automatically have sub-capacity licensing. This is indeed untrue unless your enterprise has followed steps to ensure sub-capacity licensing. Again, this assumption has been the chief issue found during audits.

2.         ILMT sends the discovery report directly to IBM and IBM will know exactly what is going on in our enterprise. This is completely false. The report that is generated by ILMT goes directly and only to your company.

3.         There is no need for sub-capacity because logical partitioning (LPAR) is present on my IBM hardware. This is a common notion because other software vendors do allow this type of partitioning to limit licensing. This is not true for IBM, even though it seems counter-intuitive.


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