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From Burden To Benefit: IBM’s License Metric Tool

By Ruben Claes | November 02, 2015

In the first of a two-part blog, Ruben Claes, PreSales Consultant at Snow, dispels the commonly held notion that IBM’s mandatory License Metric Tool is an unnecessary drain on IT resources In order to benefit from sub-capacity pricing, an IBM customer is required to deploy IBM’s License Metric Tool (ILMT).

ILMT remains the only tool accepted by IBM to obtain sub-capacity eligibility, along with IBM’s commercial equivalents TADd 7.5 and IBM BigFix Inventory 9.2. As the IBM Licensing Jargon-Buster makes clear, sub-capacity pricing of your deployed IBM software is based on the capacity in your virtualized environment, whereas full-capacity takes into account the physical hardware behind your virtualized environment. There is no reason why an IBM customer would want to opt for full-capacity pricing, since sub-capacity requirements can never exceed full-capacity calculations. However, many IBM customers don’t realize they are (partially) subject to full-capacity conditions.

The terms ‘full-cap’ or ‘sub-cap’ are rarely heard during contract negotiations or audit discussions; it’s a way of calculating your license requirement based on meeting or failing to meet the ILMT requirement ... with a huge impact! Based on my previous experience as an IBM auditor and working with numerous IBM customers on a daily basis, I believe that successful organizations go through various and distinct steps with ILMT.

The first, which I discuss in Part 1 of my blog, are burden and benefit. The stages that follow are an understanding of risk and value, which I explain in my next instalment. So it seems that the implementation of even such a ‘small’ and mandatory tool as ILMT is part of a SAM journey to maturity.

Why is ILMT a burden?

Most customers initially experience the implementation of ILMT as a burden and this feeling may last for some time until the benefits start to appear. ILMT is a mandatory tool, leaving a disgruntled IT team to manage yet another tool (for which they don’t see much added value) with yet another agent. On top of that, the performance of the agent is usually considered to be heavy, leading to some organizations to schedule the software scan on weekends only.

Once implemented and running, IT has difficulties identifying and rectifying agents that are not reporting properly into the ILMT server. Even if everything is working smoothly, software asset managers have a hard time understanding ILMT reports. 

User-friendliness is poor, they claim. The other complaint is that ILMT is merely a discovery tool since the comparison against existing entitlements needs to happen outside of ILMT. Compliance cannot be managed within ILMT.

Why is ILMT a benefit?

Once installed and running properly, IBM customers start to realize that ILMT is in fact a decent piece of technology. As a former IBM auditor, I can confirm that:

  • No single tool is able to better recognize IBM’s PVU/RVU-based products. The same goes for the complex bundling patterns within IBM’s ever-increasing software portfolio;
  • Mapping PVU requirements for a core type is easy, and basic PVU calculations are not too difficult to understand. However, calculating the PVU high watermark requirements in multi-platform environments with complex bundling in different virtualization technologies is extremely complex.

IBM went through a lot of trouble creating and maintaining a reliable algorithm that takes into account all exceptions and capping scenarios. Even today, although very rarely, IBM licensing experts do manage to find errors in the calculation engine, highlighting the complexity of PVU/RVU calculations. So when all is said and done, ILMT is still the only reliable and IBM-approved tool for sub-capacity eligibility. And even if minor errors do creep in from time to time, there is always a party to blame, since you as a customer attended to your duties by deploying the required IBM technology.

In my next instalment, I will explain that ILMT needs be managed carefully to mitigate compliance risk, and that the key to creating value is to integrate ILMT with your existing SAM technology and processes.

Meanwhile, why not talk to one of our SAM experts and get your software estate optimized?

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