In Less than 60 Days you May be Liable to Pay IBM Six Times or More for Your Current Licence


Most customers that run IBM software may be aware of the licensing concession that IBM call ‘sub-capacity’ and from a high level the definitions are as follows:

Full capacity: All physical infrastructure that has IBM deployed on will need licensing to the appropriate values based on the processor value unit calculations.

Sub capacity: All virtual instances that has IBM deployed on will need licensing to the appropriate values based on the processor value unit calculations.

PVU and Sub-Capacity Licensing

Close to half of the IBM software licence portfolio is licensed on a metric known as Processor Value Unit (PVU), modelled after the processing power of a CPU.

To deploy IBM PVU licences in a virtualised environment and to pay only for the virtual CPU capacity allocated, IBM customers need to meet their contractual pre-requisite of deploying and maintaining IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT) with latest updates applied*. Otherwise the IBM customer will need to be licensed on full-capacity and pay for the underlying physical capacity, which is typically 6 to 10 times higher than the relating sub-capacity figures.


* Some IBM customers may be eligible for ILMT exemption if they qualify for certain exceptions, as defined by IBM here. IBM customers who have successfully negotiated away from the standard Passport Advantage terms may qualify for additional exemptions.

These types of concessions do require some effort from the customer to enable these significant licence reductions:

  • Run the latest supported version(s) of ILMT
  • Run and update the latest patches as soon as possible
  • Retain reports quarterly
  • Ensure compliance is maintained by placing corrective orders quarterly

IBM Passport Advantage Agreement Terms, Clause 1.14

ILMT v7.5.x going out of support by 30 April 2017

IBM will end its support for the last version of ILMT v7.x (v7.5.x), one of the two major ILMT releases currently available for IBM customers, by 30 April 2017.

As a result, IBM customers must install a supported version of ILMT, v9.x, in order to receive and apply future updates to ILMT and to ultimately ensure the accuracy in the report generated by ILMT.

IBM customers who fail to do so may have their sub-capacity eligibility void under an IBM licence compliance audit. They can subsequently face compliance exposures that are typically 6 to 10 times higher than the value of their existing PVU licences, as their consumptions of IBM PVU licenses would be measured on full capacity terms.

No upgrade path

The current version of ILMT (v9.x) is based on a completely different technology framework, BigFix, compared to the earlier v7.x versions which are built on the Tivoli common framework.

As a result, IBM customers cannot simply upgrade or even migrate from their existing v7.x deployments. Instead, all existing v7.x agents need to be removed first before v9.x can be deployed. The ILMT server including its database also needs to be re-built with no historical capacity data transferable.

For customers that have invested heavily in ensuring software recognition (bundling) accuracy in ILMT v7.x, the rule sets manually created can be migrated but would require extremely delicate treatment to avoid corrupting the new install.

What next?

We recommend all IBM customers that have deployed PVU-based IBM licences in virtualised infrastructures to review their requirement and status on sub-capacity eligibility.

SCC offers our ILMTaaS service offering that can offer either on-premise or hosted ILMT deployment, configuration and reporting services to ensure you maintain your obligations to IBM and minimise your audit compliance exposure.

SCC also offers our Audit Defence Services for IBM customers that have an existing concern regarding their IBM licensing status or face active IBM compliance audit / audit threat.

Please email us at [email protected] or complete the details below to request a call back, please note that all conversations and information shared will be under strict customer non-disclosure agreements and no information will be discussed or shared in any format with IBM.

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