If your company uses IBM solutions with sub-capacity entitlements, then you must know about ILMT (IBM License Metric Tool), as this is a mandatory IBM requirement for customers who want to take advantage of sub-licensing. capability in your software products.
Since most IBM customers benefit from sub-capacity licensing, this means that you are very likely facing the challenges of implementing and using the IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT). So, this guide shows you what these challenges are for IBM licensing and maintaining the IBM license metric tool ILMT.
IBM licensing models can be confusing, especially with the proliferation of virtualization, so we'll discuss some of them in a little more detail.
There are 3 basic models that IBM uses to license its software (There are other models, but for the purposes of this discussion we will only cover the most common ones)
- Session / User
- Processor Value Units (PVU)
Each of these models have specific requirements and also according to each contract, we will therefore clarify the confusion surrounding the differences.
Compared to other software developers, IBM offers relatively clear licensing terms and conditions that require considerable precision. Products licensed based on IBM's proprietary model known as the Processor Value Unit, commonly referred to as the PVU, are particularly interesting as most IBM licenses are sold in exactly this model.
Simply put, PVU is a value that IBM assigns to specific processor cores used by the systems your software is running on, depending on the processor type and computer architecture. Simple? In theory, yes.
Total capacity and sub-capacity
This must be considered in the context of full capacity or sub-capacity licensing terms and conditions. And again, total capacity means the total compute capacity of the machine or machines that the IBM software is running on, while subcapacity is the capacity of the virtualized environment that can be used by the IBM product.
Logically speaking, the second model should offer more benefits as it requires fewer licenses. IBM customers can decide which licensing model suits them best. Needless to say, to obtain sub-capacity pricing an organization must meet specific conditions first.
These conditions include deploying and configuring the latest version of ILMT, as well as tracking IBM's PVU-based software license consumption.
ILMT – IBM license metric tool
The ILMT (License Metric Tool or IBM License Metric Tool) is a no-cost tool or rather, a no-cost system, designed to track and report consumption of PVU licenses.
IBM's current licensing terms and conditions take into account the multitude of processor and virtualization technologies, while providing detailed rules for determining the licensing requirements for each.
These rules require the collection of up-to-date information about the hardware and processor configuration at each level of virtualization.
This, combined with the need to accurately identify installed IBM software, makes this seemingly cost-effective process quite complicated.
Architecture ILMT technique
The ILMT system consists of three components:
- the agent;
- the BigFix Platform;
- and the ILMT application or agent.
The Agent's role is to regularly inventory servers to identify any deployed IBM software and the values of hardware metrics assigned to each device and virtualization.
IBM requires that ILMT be installed on every computer with software that has been purchased under a PVU sub-capacity licensing metric. If the Agent is not deployed, the organization is at risk of calculating the license fee for full capacity.
The differences can be several tens and cost several hundreds of millions in extreme cases. Unfortunately, the vast majority of IBM customers are not aware of the requirement to have the Agent also installed on systems where the IBM software is not directly deployed, but instead are used as resource and virtualization controllers.
These can include the Solaris Global Zone or the Control Domain for Oracle Virtualization for SPARC (LDOM).
In practice, some organizations make the decision to install the Agent on each server, thus reducing the risk of having IBM software that does not count using ILMT.
Bundling or Bundling in ILMT
Installing ILMT is only half the effort. ILMT requires significant manual configuration and validation to align reports with the actual configuration of the environment.
IBM software is often sold in bundles, that is, bundles that provide 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 core software, for example, the ibm Websphere Portal.
It is often the case that the same software is installed in the environment in the separately licensed version, which requires categorization and assignment of each identified instance to the relevant license.
ILMT provides mechanisms that support the decision-making process and components are licensed by default. However, this can sometimes lead to incorrect PVU reporting.
Understanding the server environment and the architecture of deployed IBM solutions is key to successfully assigning individual components to the relevant license. Such knowledge facilitates the effective categorization of detected components, in addition to the establishment of automated ILMT rules that, if used correctly, reduce the workload required for validation/assignment of standard application components.
To generate a correct ILMT report, you need to be aware of the types and number of IBM licenses within your organization. ILMT not only allows the import of data containing the SKU numbers of each IBM product that has been purchased, but also uses them to facilitate the standard component – license assignment.
Such a list can be prepared based on the purchase history that is available on the IBM Passport Advantage website, as well as the organization's own sources of information about software purchases.
The next step, which is optional, is to record the number of purchased licenses in ILMT. In this way, ILMT can be transformed into a simple system of Software Asset Management or Software Asset Management SAM for IBM products and used for tracking license consumption, as well as generating automatic alerts whenever missing licenses are identified.
4Matt Tecnologia's ILMT managed services help organizations realize sub-capacity licensing benefits and maximize the value of ILMT through six key areas:
- Installation and Configuration – Install and configure key parameters of the ILMT server and its agents in the client environment.
- Capturing and issuing reports – Analyze and classify identified information about hardware and software to improve reporting accuracy and completeness.
- Validation of the status of the product – Identify idle or unconfigured software that can be tuned to potentially reduce licensing requirements.
- Audit Report – Reconcile deployed IBM software to IBM license entitlements to identify potential license or shelfware exposure where the organization could redeploy licenses to reduce the cost of the software.
- ILMT Environment Support – Assists organizations with 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.
- Full ILMT maintenance – Deliver managed services on customer infrastructure or through ILMT on 4Matt Technology infrastructure on Microsoft Azure or Amazon AWS.
ILMT, its versions and supported operating systems
On January 14, 2020, the Support to Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 and Windows 7 has been terminated. That means the end of regular security updates as well as any support from Microsoft.
Keeping track of all the changes happening at the vendors is a critical role for software and security governance, a role today that also expands to IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS cloud cost governance.
Many companies still rely on Windows Server 2008 for basic business functions like Directory Server, File Server, DNS Server, Email Server and also for specific applications like ILMT or BigFix.
Given this changing landscape, this week IBM reported that due to the end of operating system support,
“…all customers who have ILMT or BigFix on these unsupported operating systems must update their installations within 180 days, in order to take advantage of undercapacity measurements”.
Maintenance, support and versions of ILMT
There are two versions of ILMT most commonly found in use:
- Version 7.5;
- Version 9.x.
Support for ILMT Version 7.5 ended in 2017, so you will need to consider moving to Version 9 if you haven't already. To make things more challenging, Version 9 uses technology from another IBM product – Big Fix – and as a result there is no easy upgrade option available. You will basically need to install Version 9 of Zero to remain compliant.
In addition, there are other key challenges to using IBM's License Metric Tool (ILMT), which we will now explore:
The complex installation, deployment, and maintenance of the IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT)
When you install the ILMT IBM License Metric Tool for the first time, you'll quickly find that it's hard to do, it's not just NNF (next, next, and finish). It's complex and time-consuming to set up, manage, and maintain, but help from a company that specializes in managed services for IBM can help – we'll talk more about that later.
Once you have the ILMT Ibm License Metric Tool installed and with full coverage across your entire environment, you need to be confident that you are reporting exactly what you have deployed in your IT infrastructure.
However, ILMT is known among experts to provide inaccurate or incomplete reports. For example, it might misreport the Tivoli Storage Manager and Spectrum Protect products separately. Likewise, our own consultants have identified bugs around media servers. If not checked, these errors will increase your usage reports and your license costs.
Bundling is not simple
As you may know, correctly classifying IBM software can reduce maintenance bills by up to 50%. More expensive products can be bundled with lower priced products, and customers can also often exclude IBM software cases that meet the DR Cold or Warm Standby definition.
However, most customers are not aware of this and the direct impact it can have on IBM software fees and audits.
ILMT “automatically bundles” the software in accordance with the inventory from the client, but this is not always correct and, in most cases, requires further investigation.
For example, the ILMT Ibm License Metric Tool will not automatically package an instance of the Websphere application server network deployment, which is being used exclusively to host Business Process Manager. The first costs about US$ 2,500 per year in maintenance per core, so finding and bundling it can save you thousands of dollars.
Likewise, ILMT has no way of determining whether IBM software is in a DR Cold or Warm Standby configuration.
If you are confident that your software is in a DR Cold or Warm Standby configuration, and the IBM software in question can be classified as such, you can delete it.
Using the Business Process Manager example again, if you identify a core of this product, which is configured in a DR Cold or Warm Standby configuration, you can save about US$ 13K per year.
How can you overcome the challenges of maintaining IBM ILMT environments and stay compliant in the event of audits?
Our services are designed to produce an independent and detailed inventory of your IBM software, including sub-capacity processor allocations.
Through a highly intuitive interface, our services for IBM automate the mapping of components to products, but with a level of precision that ILMT cannot match.
The effective license status (ELP) ensures that you only pay for what you use when you renew your licenses and contracts with IBM.
Our services for IBM can also pull reports straight from ILMT, allowing you to enjoy the complete reporting and scenario modeling it offers on your data produced by ILMT.
Keeping your ILMT and BigFix environment up to date isn't always easy, but we've put together a checklist so you can meet all the requirements requested by IBM:
- Install and configure ILMT/BigFix within 90 days of deploying software that has Sub-Capacity features;
- Download and run the latest version of ILMT /BigFix from the IBM portal;
- Use the latest version of the Software Catalog for ILMT;
- Use the last PVU table;
- use only Hardware (processor) approved;
- use only the operational system approved;
- Use only software from virtualization approved;
- Identify if the SubCap products are eligible.
- Create and maintain ILMT quarterly reports;
So, count on us in this IBM governance work and focus on your core business.
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