Miro Consulting, Inc. Audit Trails

Saving on PVU-based IBM software

IBM accepts a wide variety of virtualization technologies including VMware.

With IBM allowing subcapacity licensing, there is a misconception that this method of counting licensing is automatic. Please refer to IBM’s licensing rules. Currently the Passport Advantage agreement is in effect and it is only 9 pages long –


With subcapacity licensing, you have reporting responsibilities. Either use IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT), or if exempt follow the alternate reporting method described by IBM.

Once you’ve passed this hurdle, you are now a subcapacity customer of IBM’s for your software that is licensed based on the hardware it’s installed on. Now you can dive deeper into controlling licensing costs for this type of software or at least avoid a rude awakening following a hardware refresh.

You can check out the IBM PVU table to compare the PVUs required per core for your current or future hardware. If your old hardware was 120 PVUs per core and if you just copy the partitions on the hardware that’s 80 PVUs per core you’re now ahead of the game! If your environment is 80 PVUs and you’re moving to 120 PVUs per core that’s not in your best interest unless you have a lot of extra licenses.

Let’s say you’ve decided to outsource your environment for a different sort of cost savings. This can be a whole other beast to tackle. Your hosting company may not be under any obligation to inform you of any of their hardware changes; their obligation to you, as the customer, may be to only meet their contractual Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

Will the hosting company run ILMT for you? If they won’t, do you have an exemption to manually report your software usage? Do you need to ask IBM for a specific exemption for your new hosting set-up and are you ready with a plan to measure that software usage?

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IBM Audits – Timing and Reporting

How far back does an IBM Audit go? Typically IBM Audits look at two time periods.

The initial look at your environment is a point-in-time review, like a snapshot. The auditor will review your last quarterly ILMT report besides running scripts against today’s set-up.  They would also expect answers to their questions to regard the current state.    The script outputs for some products may have historical data such as high water marks for concurrent or floating users.

If there is further information needed, the auditor may request the complete two years of ILMT history that a client is required to have on hand per the IBM Passport Advantage Agreement (IPAA).

Two years is also the back support ‘penalty’ for license shortfalls, unless the client deployed the excess within the last 24 months.

For more resources on IBM audits, you can request a copy of our comprehensive white paper here. We also have upcoming IBM Webinars on our events page at various dates throughout the year.

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If you’re heavily using IBM in your environment and that’s your main line of business software and you plan to continue with that investment, we recommend taking advantage of IBM ELAs as they contain many favorable options such as:

  • Enterprise License, more fondly known as ‘All you can eat’ – we have seen ELAs for a limited software product that you can download and install as much as you want and then at the end of the ELA, you report the number deployed to IBM.
  • License swapping – allows you to retire your shelfware. This is mostly applicable to the same product family, but IBM has granted rare dollar for dollar swaps.
  • Enterprise CAP – if you have trouble forecasting what you’re going to need in the future, you can give IBM the list of the products you need and they could put into your ELA what they call an enterprise CAP system or CAP where you pre-pay for the software and then as you install it you draw down and report to IBM what’s been deployed and apply it against your pre-paid dollar limit as you’re working through the course of the ELA.

Another advantage of IBM ELAs is that most support costs are known for the length of the ELA. Prior to the start of any ELA, you could ask for any of your current IBM software to be excluded for the long-term contract and renew support annually. Annual renewal allows the potential to drop support. For example, one of our clients pulled Lotus Notes out of their ELAs because they planned to transition to Microsoft Outlook during the course of their IBM ELA.

There are many advantages to an ELA, BUT it will not protect you from a software audit. All IBM software is auditable.

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Embedded versus Full Use Oracle License

There’s no technical difference between an embedded version of an Oracle license and a full use version of an Oracle license.  It’s essentially the same product.  The only difference is the licensing definition and rules that pertain to each.  When you purchase an Oracle license, you do not own the license; you just simply own the right to use the software in a very specific way.  When you have an embedded license versus a full use license, it’s the same software.  Essentially, the only the difference is what you have rights to do with that software which could be radically different.  With an embedded license, you’re essentially restricted, in some cases, to use only the application in which the embedded license is supporting and there’s typically usage boundaries of the embedded license that are negotiated during purchase.


Again, there is no technical difference, but traditionally there are licensing definitions and/or restrictions on embedded versus full use.

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Is ILMT implementation a catalyst for an IBM license review?

First, let’s define ILMT. ILMT is short for IBM License Metric Tool that helps organizations to track and maintain PVU deployed software for full and sub-capacity environments. Secondly and a very important point, any software customer of IBM’s under the Passport Advantage Agreement is eligible for a license review, or in other words, an audit.   

IBM audits customers regardless of their ILMT use or non-use including the following scenarios:  

1 – An enterprise that claims they have never heard of ILMT

2- Organizations that say they have no license entitlement to ILMT

3- Companies that have downloaded ILMT

4- Clients frequently updating ILMT table definitions

If you would like to opt for sub-capacity licensing, you can and must, with little exception, install the IBM License Metric Tool. The reports are kept on-site, not transmitted to IBM. You would have to manually submit them to IBM or the company’s auditor. In a virtualized environment, sub-capacity licensing is more advantageous and requires fewer licenses most of the time. If you do not want to install ILMT, there is no penalty. You can continue to license IBM software at full capacity, the default licensing method.

Interested in further reading on ILMT? Request our white paper  IBM ILMT: Clarifying Misconceptions & Anxieties. Request white paper

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Short-Sighted to Call IBM and Its Employees Obsolete

Because I still bleed blue as a former IBMer, articles were emailed to me regarding this current round of resource actions. These layoffs do not penalize poor performers because recipients of a 1 PBC (gold star employees) are part of the action; also the internal advocates who publicly blog about IBM’s products or run the official IBM wikis to deep dive into the beauty of IBM’s products are also released into the wild.

One article in particular by Dana Blankenhorn caught my attention, on a financial investment site – Avoid IBM: It’s Over. After my initial annoyance over a typographical error (it’s IBMer, not IBM’er with an apostrophe), Blackenhorn stated:

Could IBM be bought? At its valuation of $132 billion, the largest U.S. tech employers, like Google (GOOG, GOOGL) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), could easily buy the company for cash. But if they were interested, it would be for the employees – older programmers, many of them in obsolete areas. Tech is a young person’s game. Such an acquisition would be silly.

Employees are one of IBM’s greatest assets, but before I get to those let’s address IBM’s patents. For the 23rd year in a row, IBM has led with the number of patents granted in 2015.
Are these patents for outdated technology? I may be ‘older’ but I adopt technology when it makes makes things easier. Judge for yourself IBMers James Kozloski, Cliff Pickover, and Irina Rish’s US Patent 9177257 –

Obsolete?  I could use this product now.

And what about Watson?  Relegated to only ‘interesting’ by Blankenhorn?  Watson’s just getting started.  Is Watson as obsolete as ‘older’ Carrie Fisher (currently 59)?

Or even more ancient Ridley Scott (78)?

While some of IBM’s technology may be as obsolete as the floppy disk, ATMs, hard drives, magnetic strip cards, virtual machines, and relational databases are still used heavily today.

IBM’s employees, past and present, are quite good at what they do. IBMers are nimble, despite their physical age.  There’s always new clients, new projects, new deliverables, and new technology.   Who do you think IBM tests out the new versions of Lotus Notes on?  Its employees.

Although there are a lot of ‘older programmers’ within IBM, IBM has a diverse work force.  More than half of IBM’s employees are IBM Global Services (my old division 07), the world’s largest business and technologies service provider with 190,000 employees.

Additionally, last year 8,500 individual IBMers were responsible for those 2015 patents.  In its history, IBM employees have achieved five Nobel Prizes, six Turing Awards, five National Medals of Science, and ten National Medals of Technology.

Today, I am not able to speak with other IBMers daily as a Miro employee, but I feel they still represent values I continue to employ today.  Number 1 – ‘Dedication to every client’s success.’  Maybe that’s why Salesforce’s Marc Benioff welcomes CVs from laid off IBM workers.



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Hybrid Databases: Key to Your Success (ReBLOG)

Re-blog from Pythian.

Almost every company’s success is contingent upon its ability to effectively turn data into knowledge. Data, combined with the power of analytics, brings new, previously unavailable business insights that help companies truly transform the way they do business—allowing them to make more informed decisions, improve customer engagement, and predict trends.

Companies can only achieve these insights if they have a holistic view of their data. Unfortunately, most companies have hybrid data—different types of data, living in different systems that don’t talk to each other. What companies need is a way to consolidate the data they currently have while allowing for the integration of new data. Read more.

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Will choosing Cloud hurt my licensing position with IBM?

Thinking about moving to the cloud and curious about its effect on your software license position with IBM? No need to worry, IBM will work with you.  The Cloud has a lot of flavors that might seem confusing, but if you understand what you are responsible for and how it’s deployed, you will not end up in a difficult situation with IBM down the road.

Some things to consider:

Make sure your cloud host will allow you to run ILMT. This is often an issue since you choose what to run in your virtual environment, but it may be overlooked as a requirement during set-up or your hosting company may have a concern.

Once you’re past the ILMT hurdle, your cloud provider should have some SLAs in place with you regarding up-time and other expectations that their performance should meet or exceed.

To meet those service levels, they may be moving your virtualized environment that could influence your software licensing.

You might save initially if your old on-site hardware required 120 PVUs per core, and you copied the partitions onto your host’s hardware that may be 70 PVUs per core – you’re now ahead with licensing and moving to the Cloud seems like a wise move.  But later, let’s say those lower end processors aren’t keeping up with your production and your host increases your virtual server from 2 virtual CPUs to 4, then 6 during peak periods like quarter close.  Your host meets his SLA obligation to you, but you are responsible for licensing those 6 virtual cores with 420 PVUs (6 cores times 70 PVUs).

And if ILMT is not running, you would be responsible for full capacity of the server. If it’s 40 cores for each physical server in the VM farm, that’s 2800 PVUs for every virtual server you have. And that’s each one because the possibility exists that at any time each of your virtual servers could be on a separate physical server if the VM farm is big enough.

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