The Challenges of Using the IBM License Metric Tool

6 Mar 2017 | Data Center, SAM/SLO

Why do you have to use ILMT?

Utilizing the IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT) is a mandatory IBM requirement for all customers who take advantage of sub-capacity licensing on their software products. As the majority of IBM customers benefit from sub-capacity licensing it means that you are highly likely to be faced with the challenges of implementing and using ILMT.

So, what are these challenges? Firstly, there are two supported versions – 7.5 and 9.x. The support for ILMT 7.5 ends on April 30th 2017, so you will need to consider switching to v9 if you have not already done so. Just to make matters more complicated, V9 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 V9 as new to remain compliant in case of an IBM audit.

What are the other key challenges in using ILMT?

ILMT is complex and time consuming to manage and maintain

Faced with installing ILMT for the first time, you will quickly discover it is difficult to do so, complex and time consuming to configure, manage and maintain. According to Eric Chiu, an independent IBM licensing specialist, “In IBM’s eyes’, ILMT does not make mistakes. If it is not reporting accurately, it is your fault in not configuring the tool properly.”

(Thankfully, help is at hand in the form of Certero for IBM, but more on that later)

Once you have actually got it setup and working, you are then faced with interpreting the information it produces. Sadly, ILMT is prone to false positives. This is because it uses heuristics (including file scanning techniques) to identify the applications installed on your network.

One particular error we have come across a number of times concerns media servers. These are where media is stored for installation across the network, but the software is not actually used by anyone. ILMT frequently picks this up as requiring a license. So, if you do not spot this and manually correct it in the ILMT report, you could quite easily end up being wrongly charged for software.

License bundling identification is prone to error

Problems also frequently occur with ILMT’s identification of license bundling. You may only have one product from a bundle installed and correctly licensed. But, ILMT will wrongly identify this as being part of the much more expensive bundle. Again, without this mistake being spotted and manually corrected, you will end up needlessly paying more than you should.

After you have made these corrections, it can take ILMT up to 24 hours to generate a new report so that you can check everything is now OK. As part of your license agreement you have to sign off the reports ILMT produces every month. This will confirm that the data it has produced is correct and will then be sent to IBM. All this historic data will be kept by IBM and utilized at the time of an audit to prove non-compliance and a demand for unbudgeted licensing costs.

Independent and verifiable inventory of software assets

If you are responsible for Software Asset Management (SAM) within your organization, you will be dependent on ILMT being setup and operating correctly to ensure IBM compliance. If you are a global organization, the chances are that each ILMT configuration will have been setup locally.

So, there will be no global QA or a centralized view of your entire IBM license position, leaving you wide open to non-compliance issues at the time of an IBM audit. As, by under deploying ILMT you are in breach of your sub-capacity license terms.

IBM sales staff will use your ILMT reports to identify shortfalls and generate new revenue, so you need to ensure you can rely on the information it produces. Without independent verification of ILMT’s output you are effectively ‘shooting in the dark’.

How can you overcome ILMT challenges and stay compliant?

Fortunately, help is at hand with Certero for IBM. This product has been designed to produce an independent and verifiable inventory of your IBM software, including sub-capacity processor allocations.

By utilizing the IBM product part number it can recognize the product you have installed and understand its upgrade, downgrade, virtual environment and general product usage rights. This will enable you to quickly produce an Effective License Position (ELP) to defend an audit. The next great challenge which Certero for IBM helps with is reconciliation of software, primarily component-to-product-to-bundle. Certero for IBM has an intuitive, easy to use user interface which provides a quick and simple method to perform the reconciliation process.

Furthermore, Certero for IBM can take a direct feed from ILMT, allowing you to enjoy the rich reporting and scenario modelling it offers on your ILMT produced data.

Need a better understanding of IBM software licensing? Download – The Guide to IBM Software Licensing – to improve your understanding of the IBM environment, how the software is licensed and how to better manage the IBM software environment.


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