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Simplified management of PVU licensing

Much like other vendors in the datacenter space, IBM has a comprehensive and complex set of rules governing the licensing of its software, designed to ensure that organizations pay according to the value that they are deemed to realize from the applications in use across the organization.

In this blog, I explore how using ILMT, TADd or Bigfix Inventory in conjunction with Snow License Manager 8 can help to right-size overall cost of managing IBM PVU-based software. By integrating ILMT (or TADd/ Bigfix Inventory) with Snow License Manager, you have a dynamic overview of your sub-capacity related compliance position to understand the cost profile of IBM software across different organizational units. I will explain how the data insights provided by Snow License Manager 8 enable various stakeholders to understand the bigger picture of resourcing, managing and licensing IBM software.

Roles and Responsibilities

Let’s consider the roles involved in resourcing, managing and licensing IBM software across an organization’s estate.

There are those involved in resourcing the datacenter on which the IBM software resides. Traditionally, they may not be software licensing experts and thus might not be aware of the full impact of their software deployments and changes.

Next there are those in the IT department who are involved in the maintenance of ILMT (or TADd or Bigfix). In my experience as a former IBM auditor, I expect that they will often see ILMT as a burden. Even when ILMT is implemented and running, IT has difficulties identifying agents that are not reporting properly into the ILMT server.

By consolidating data from Snow License Manager 8 which has information about all software installed on managed devices, reports will highlight machines that are either missing the required ILMT agents or are not reporting properly into the ILMT server.

Finally, the SAM team is in charge of correctly licensing IBM software and remaining compliant in the face of constant change. Even if everything is working smoothly, software asset managers have a hard time understanding ILMT reports and user-friendliness is generally perceived as poor. Another objection is that ILMT is merely a discovery tool since the comparison against existing entitlements must be calculated outside of ILMT. Compliance cannot be managed within ILMT and it is certainly limited in terms of license optimization. Nevertheless, it is robust technology and remains an IBM requirement for sub-capacity eligibility.

Risk management of PVU full- and sub-capacity licensing

Through the IBM SKU entitlement import in Snow License Manager 8, and integration of multiple discovery technologies, an organization can manage and optimize the compliance position of its IBM estate. Entitlement data is linked with discovery data from the IBM PVU measurement tools (ILMT version 7.5 and version 9, Tivoli Asset Discovery for Distributed (TADd) and IBM Big Fix Inventory). This enables full management of IBM PVU-based products, allowing an organization to mitigate the highest risks.

The powerful data from ILMT is combined with existing Snow discovery and intelligence, reducing the risk of under-reporting, over-reporting and full-capacity liability to the absolute minimum. The following outlines this in more detail:

  • Reduce full-capacity risk: Automatically flag those machines which do not have an ILMT agent installed but do run PVU-based products. I provide an example below of the financial implications of full-capacity vs sub-capacity liability.
  • Reduce under-reporting risk: Identify machines that have PVU-based software and an ILMT agent, but are not part of existing PVU reports.
  • Reduce over-reporting risk: When ILMT data is imported into the Snow platform, it is validated against inventory and licensing data within Snow License Manager. Examples include license metric mapping, automated bundling and the ability to exclude warm/cold stand-by installations. Upgrade and downgrade rights are applied automatically, giving you the ability to fully utilize your IBM entitlements across all editions and versions. Potential reinstatement risks, where product versions are deployed without the necessary entitlement, are also flagged up.

An example of full-capacity risk

To understand financial implications of full-capacity vs. sub-capacity liability, let’s consider the following example:

IBM Websphere Portal is installed in a VMware cluster with 4 ESX machines (4 Quad Core Xeon E7-8850 each). The software is installed on 4 different VMs and each VM has one vCPU allocated.

Full-Capacity liability is: 4 ESX x 4 CPU x 4 Cores/CPU x 100PVUs/Core would have a license requirement in the range of $10 million.

Sub-Capacity: 4 VMs x 1 Core x 100PVUs/Core would have a license requirement in the range of $0.5 million.

This example illustrates that a customer would be liable to almost 20 times the expected cost of the virtualized environment. Admittedly, this is a particuarly expensive scenario, but the cost of full-capacity is typically in the range of five to 10 times higher than the sub-capacity equivalent.

Passport Advantage Integration

The Entitlement Management feature in Snow License Manager 8 enables an organization to import their IBM entitlements from Passport Advantage through IBM SKU numbers. This makes for vastly simplified IBM entitlement management, reducing the risk of manual entry error. By including vendor purchase records, organizations are not only able to simplify entitlement management, they can also improve accuracy of reporting information. This in turn enables gap identification, such as ensuring that upgrades are correctly tracked alongside existing base licenses.

IBM customers with distributed environments typically have master agreement(s) with multiple underlying locations called ‘sites’. This contractual structure is managed in Snow License Manager and linked with the organization structure that is set up in the solution. Licenses under each site are linked with the respective organization units (OUs) where the deployments reside. This allows organizations to manage compliance both on a local and consolidated level.

IBM entitlements from Passport Advantage can be uploaded along with financial information related to the respective purchases and underlying periods. This gives insight into the cost of IBM software for different organizational units and on a consolidated level for the global organization.

Snow License Manager provides actionable intelligence. Thanks to the cost management functionality, an organization also has the mechanism to apply a risk-based compliance approach for IBM which focuses on high cost, high risk products first within its SAM program. Other advantages of cost management include:

  • A forecast and budgeting mechanism for IBM contract renewals
  • Identification of exposure due to non-compliance
  • Identification of potential savings
  • Trend analysis

With all of the PVU deployment details flowing in through the IBM connectors, the compliance situation can be automatically reconciled with the entitlements that are uploaded into Snow License Manager.

All or nothing

One of the specific risks related to versioning of IBM software is the ‘All or Nothing’ rule. All or nothing is based on the restriction that an IBM customer cannot have partial maintenance (Subscription & Support) per site for a specific product (note that this will typically only be highlighted in an audit). In such a scenario the organization has the choice to either maintain all of its deployments or none of them. If the organization opts to maintain nothing it is not eligible to have a higher version deployed than it was entitled to during the last applicable maintenance period.

If an IBM customer is using a version (even just one single installation) that is higher than the version it is entitled to, it will need to reinstate the full quantity of deployments within the site, even if a large majority of the deployments would be an ‘old’ version. Such a reinstatement requirement can be very costly at roughly 40% of the license price.

Thanks to Snow’s Product Use Rights intelligence, the compliance engine will automatically take into account the highest entitled version based on the available license entitlements and release dates of the IBM applications. These release dates are available through Snow’s Software Recognition Service. This allows the organization to identify potential deployment risks and to proactively manage these risks before they arise during an audit.

4th Generation SAM

At Snow we cannot recommend enough that your organization aims for “4th Generation SAM”. This is a position where all stakeholders take ownership for their part in the SAM process. We know that this can only be achieved through the combination of people, processes and technology. Indeed, the new features that I have discussed have been designed precisely with this in mind.

The infrastructure manager can create resource-optimized environments that are also cost-optimized. The SAM manager is empowered with simple-to-use insights and can keep on top of changes in the environment which may affect the compliance position. And the IT department tasked with maintenance of ILMT can easily keep on top of it because of the visibility that Snow License Manager 8 brings them. Make sure your organization makes the most of these benefits!

We’re sure you’ll be interested in more of what’s coming, so make sure you keep an eye out for subsequent articles on the exciting new features of Snow License Manager 8.

If you’d like to speak to one of our licensing experts contact us here.

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