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From Burden to Benefit: IBM's License Metric Tool - PT II

In the final instalment of his two-part blog, Ruben Claes, PreSales Consultant at Snow, explains why IBM’s License Metric Tool needs to be managed carefully to control compliance risk, and that the key to creating value is to integrate it with all existing SAM processes and technologies. 

Successful organizations have to go through various and distinct steps with ILMT.

The first, which I discussed in Part I of my blog, are burden and benefit. The stages that follow are an understanding of risk and value, which I explain here.

Why is ILMT a risk?

As customers begin to see the strengths and benefits of ILMT, they also start to realize it’s not simply about quickly installing something. The tool needs to be managed. Without proper management of your ILMT deployment, a customer will face compliance risks that include under-reporting, over-reporting but most importantly, the full-capacity risk! Let’s discuss these different risks:

  • Under-reporting. Machines with an ILMT agent that do not report to the ILMT server due to network/firewall/agent problems are at risk of under-reporting. The effective license requirements are understated due to certain machines not or no longer reporting to the ILMT server, with a direct impact on the (understated) high watermark calculations;
  • Over-reporting. Although ILMT already has some decent bundling capability, manual corrections are still required in specific scenarios:
  • Warm/cold standby servers to be excluded
  • Specific bundling, sometimes in place over multiple servers, need to be manually updated
  • Since multiple metrics can co-exist for a single IBM product, ILMT would by default calculate license requirements for all deployments of that product. Therefore, the non-PVU installations need to be excluded (e.g. Informix: PVU vs. Concurrent Session vs. Authorized User and so on).
  • Full-capacity risk. This is definitely the biggest risk, leading to the most unpleasant surprises. It is very common that ILMT agents are ‘forgotten’ to be deployed on machines with PVU/RVU- based products. The correct template or image was not applied, or the procedure was not correctly followed. Whatever the reason, almost all IBM customers face this ‘incompleteness challenge’ some day.

The problem here is that it’s difficult to control what you don’t know. The ‘finding’ typically only appears in an audit report, where full-capacity conditions were applied to your costly WebSphere product on those machines where the ILMT agent was not installed. It is not uncommon for the PVU requirements in such scenarios of a 10% ‘full-capacity’ environment to be more costly than the 90% ILMT managed ‘sub-capacity’ environment. It would be regrettable to say the least to have to pay for the full physical hardware behind a simple VM or LPAR that is not even using a fraction of the capacity … yet it remains the top issue in most IBM audits.

How do we create value?

Unfortunately, many IBM customers never reach this last maturity level in their ILMT journey, but it’s only at this stage that ILMT starts paying off. It’s only at this point that most risks are mitigated and ILMT data starts enriching your SAM processes. The key is to integrate the ILMT data in your existing SAM technology and processes. In this way, you enjoy the best of both worlds. Snow offers out-of-the-box ILMT and TADd integration based on its Snow Integration Connector technology, allowing you to:

  • Manage all your IBM contracts and entitlements in one single platform. Snow will automatically read and import your detailed ILMT reports at the desired frequency. An almost unreadable document for IBM customers is automatically transformed into normalized data in your Snow platform.
  • Mitigate the highest risks. The powerful ILMT data will be combined with your existing Snow discovery and intelligence, reducing your risk of under-reporting, over-reporting and full-capacity requirement to the absolute minimum:
    • Reduce full-capacity risk: Automatically flag those machines not having an ILMT agent but with PVU/RVU-based products identified by Snow Inventory.
    • Reduce under-reporting risk: Identify machines that have both PVU/RVU-based software and an ILMT agent, but are not part of your PVU/RVU reports.
    • Reduce over-reporting risk: While your ILMT data arrives into the Snow platform, Snow will automatically apply a second round of license intelligence on your ILMT data. 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 risk, where product versions are deployed without the necessary entitlement, are also flagged up.

Based on my background as an IBM auditor, I would encourage all IBM customers with virtualized PVU/RVU products to deploy ILMT. This is a first important step towards getting control and reaching compliance for IBM in an area that is the most difficult to manage: your virtualized environments. Integrating with your SAM technology is the logical next step and will finally create value for your organization.

As I have outlined above, that value is not created by merely merging data, but by combining inventory technology and license intelligence through the Snow Integration Connectors, allowing your Software Asset Management in one single platform, Snow License Manager. Snow Software is continuously investigating and improving its licensing algorithms and believes that SAM tools will one day be able to deliver the same data quality in PVU requirement calculations as technology such as ILMT today.

However, as long as IBM customers remain required to deploy ILMT (or TADd / BigFix Inventory) to obtain sub-capacity eligibility, Snow will provide integration functionality to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Speak to one of our Licensing Experts today to learn more.