Avoid Pitfalls When Deploying ILMT for IBM Software

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IBM software is expensive. In some cases, very expensive. While this may represent a necessary cost of doing business for many companies with mission-critical software solutions developed on or using IBM applications, all IBM customers clearly are incentivized to maximize the value of their software expenditures with Big Blue. For an increasing number of those customers, sub-capacity licensing represents an attractive solution. (More general information on sub-capacity licensing and other IBM licensing topics is referenced below).

However, as discussed previously, sub-capacity licensing is not without its risks, and one of the biggest challenges for businesses wanting to take advantage of sub-capacity terms is the IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT). Here are three critical points to keep in mind when contemplating deploying ILMT in your company’s IT environments:

  • It is Mandatory. In general, if you intend to deploy any IBM software licensed on a processor-capacity basis on any server partition representing something less than the full processing capacity of the physical host server, then you must deploy ILMT in order to take advantage of sub-capacity licensing. The exceptions to this requirement are very limited (and are described here). Therefore, if your company is considering licensing on a sub-capacity basis (or if it believes it already is licensing on that basis), then it needs to ensure either that ILMT is correctly deployed and configured on affected systems or that it qualifies for one of the ILMT exceptions.
  • It May Crash. ILMT requires a software agent to be deployed in connection with each operating system to be monitored, along with an administration server containing associated databases and reporting functionality. ILMT is designed not to be resource-intensive, but the agent-based nature of its architecture means that the deployment process can be complicated. Scott & Scott has had several clients who reported significant technical challenges when trying to deploy ILMT, and those technical challenges have included significant service disruptions in monitored environments. When deploying ILMT, companies should take advantage of any and all technical support offered by IBM in order to avoid or work around the technical obstacles that may arise during the deployment process.
  • It Must Be Used Regularly. IBM’s sub-capacity licensing requirements do not stop at mere deployment of ILMT. The software must be used on a regular basis to generate reports showing the deployment levels of software running on affected systems. The licensing terms require those reports to be run at least quarterly and retained for two years, but IBM considers that frequency to be a bare minimum. Companies with particularly dynamic server environments should plan on running more frequent reports in order to ensure that deployments do not exceed entitlements during the quarter. Monthly or even weekly reports may not be out of the question. This means that license-cost savings associated with sub-capacity licensing in most cases are offset by the costs of internal resources needed to monitor the deployments.