10 Questions to ask your IBM ILMT Administrator – to ensure IBM license compliance

Overview

If your company wants to take advantage of the significant cost reductions IBM sub-capacity licensing offers it is important that you have ILMT, deployed, configured, and correctly reporting your usage.

ILMT is a very powerful but complex tool to run.  It requires both technical and license knowledge to ensure it is reporting your license usage correctly.

Below are a list of questions you should consider asking your ILMT Administrator to ensure your instance of ILMT is being well maintained and will pass an IBM license audit.

Questions to ask your IBM ILMT Administrator

#1 What version of ILMT are we on?

You need to be on ILMT 9.x or higher.  If you are not on a supported version, you will have challenges defending any compliance gaps found in an license audit.

#2 How are we storing and managing ILMT Audit Snapshots?

To take advantage of IBM sub-capacity rules on licensing you must have Audit Snapshot at a minimum for every quarter.  You must also have 2 years’ worth of records.  These reports are the proof on which your claim for sub-capacity discounts are based.

Although your ILMT admin is not responsible for submissions to IBM they do have the responsibility to ensure the Audit Snapshots from ILMT are being generated and stored. These reports will be requested in the event of an audit or if you are certifying your ELA.

#3 Are the PVU and Software catalogues up to date?

The PVU and Software Recognition Catalogues in ILMT are updated periodically.  Although they can be configured to update automatically many organizations prefer to do the update manually.

If these are out of date when you are generating your quarterly audit reports they may not be accepted and become a compliance risk.

#4 Are ILMT agents deployed on all servers in scope?

Although you are only required to deploy ILMT agents on servers that you wish to license under sub-capacity it is often very useful to expand the scope beyond this.

The selection criteria for servers in scope should be defined by the SAM team and then it is the responsibility of the ILMT admin to ensure that list is refreshed (it will change) and agents are installed and reporting back.  Ideally all servers running IBM products should be selected.

Also ask against what list (CMDB) the list is reconciled; how do you know you have all the servers

#5 Are all ILMT Agents reporting correctly?

It is common for ILMT agent to stop reporting back.  You need to ask what percentage of agents have reported back in the last 5 days and 30 days.  Anything less than 95% for servers in 30 days is a risk.  If the number of agents not reporting in is rising over time you should investigate immediately.

#6 How are decommissioned servers being handled?

Servers running IBM products are decommissioned on a regular basis.  To avoid over reporting on deployment of IBM products (creating a potential compliance gap) you need to either clean obsolete entries in BigFix Inventory or exclude in ILMT.

The problems will be further compounded in a virtualized environment where “incomplete virtualization hierarchy” errors will occur.  ILMT will then use the default PVU calculation which is often higher that the actual PVU value.

Ask your ILMT administrator how decommissioned servers are handled and how often it is checked (monthly I hope)

#7 How are Server Status changes handled?

ILMT by default assumes all servers have a status of Production.  This is rarely the case.  A server may be used for QA, Development, DR, backup etc.  This needs to be explicitly set in ILMT to avoid over reporting.

Ask your ILMT admin how do they know which servers are Product and Non-Production and what the process for updating is?

#8 How are we implementing Product Bundling?

Depending on the suite of products you buy from IBM you very often get other products “bundled” with them for free. A simple example is DB2 bundled with WebSphere.  Unless ILMT is configured to account for these bundled products it will report a higher demand for licenses.

Getting details of how bundling has been implemented and how frequently it is reviewed will warning you of over purchase or potential compliance risks.

#9 Have we any calls open with IBM in relation to ILMT?

It is common for errors to be found in ILMT scans and reports but unless these have been officially raised with IBM as soon as they are discovered they will not be considered in an audit.

Ask your ILMT admin how are PMRs with IBM tracked and reported in your internal systems?

#10 Do you have any concerns around how we track IBM licensing?

This is an open question but an important one to ask your administrator on a regular basis.  By virtue of their role in IT and the teams they collaborate with they will have early visibility of potential license risk that have not surfaced yet.  By asking and encouraging them to share their opinions you will be surprised by the results.

#11 Does your ILMT Administrator need help or training?

ILMT and BigFix Inventory, the modules used to collect and manage information on IBM deployment are complex and require constant maintenance to ensure compliance with IBM licensing rules.

Does the ILMT administrator need additional training either technical or in IBM licensing?

An investment in training can have a huge impact if it prevents a compliance risk or if the administrator can reduce the number of licenses required.

Conclusion

Administrating ILMT is not a simple task.  It requires both technical and license knowledge to do it correctly.  Whether the administration is done internally or outsourced your organization needs to check the task is being done correctly.  Neglecting to do so will eventually result in a large bill after an IBM license audit.

Depending on whether it’s end of month, End of Quarter (audit snapshot report), just before S&S renewal or before renewal an Enterprise Agreement there will be additional checks.

You need to have governance in place and ask the questions.  If you are not confident in the answer you are getting from your ILMT administrator raise the risk and take action before it’s too late.

How our IBM License Baseline can help

Our IBM License Baseline service includes the checks above and many more.  If you want to be confident you are ready for an IBM license audit click the link and find out more.

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