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IBM |  5 min read

Frequently Asked Questions About IBM Licensing & IBM Audits

IBM’s licensing requirements can be complex to understand but are critical to comply with to avoid any costly errors. 

Here, we’ve answered the most common questions we receive about IBM licensing and IBM audits. 

What is ILMT and why do I need it for IBM software licensing?

The IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT) helps you maintain an inventory of the PVU based software deployed for your Full Capacity or Virtualization (Sub-) Capacity environment, and measures the PVU licenses required by a software product. Using ILMT will ensure you effectively manage your IBM software licensing requirements, and help you maintain an audit-ready posture. 

What are my risks of not having ILMT for quarterly reporting for PVU licenses?

If you are audited by IBM, you can be penalised for breaching agreement terms. You will be charged full capacity for all deployments, plus you may also be liable to pay up to 2 years back maintenance, which can result in millions of dollars of non-compliance.

I believe I am exempt from running ILMT as I have less than 1000 employees, or I’m using fewer than 1000 PVU, is this correct? 

IBM’s wording in their Passport Advantage Agreement has varied regarding the exemption clause. However, since the most recent release of the agreement in November 2017, clause 1.14 (IBM Passport Advantage Agreement) outlines the exceptions to run ILMT as below:

  1. When ILMT does not yet provide support for the program.
  2. The client must meet ALL four separate criteria simultaneously to be considered exempt from using ILMT to measure virtual capacity of PVU. ALL criteria a client must meet simultaneously are:
  3. Client’s enterprise has fewer than 1000 employees and contractors
  4. Client is not a service provider
  5. Client has not transacted with a service provider to manage client’s environment where the programs are deployed
  6. Total physical capacity of all servers in a client’s enterprise is less than 1000 PVU.
  7. When client’s servers are licensed to full capacity.

A client who is exempt from utilising ILMT for any sub-capacity deployment is still required to track virtual usage and produce manual reporting evidence to support compliance.

Flexera FlexNet Manager is a software asset management tool with the ability to measure processor/PVU based usage metrics. For any client who utilises this Software Asset Management tool and wishes to use it instead of ILMT, approval must be obtained directly from IBM.

Do I have to keep paying annual Support & Subscription to keep using the product?

Having current IBM annual Support & Subscription (S&S) provides the ability to:

  1. Upgrade to the latest release of an IBM program at no extra license cost
  2. Access IBM technical support for all currently supported versions

If you are running an unsupported version of IBM software, and don’t plan to upgrade in future, you are not gaining direct benefit from paying the annual S&S fee. 

For IBM Perpetual licensing, you own the rights to use the license up to the version available at the time you cease S&S. IBM fixed-term licensing is a subscription-based license that you pay to use and must uninstall if you stop paying the annual licensing fee.

Note: if you stop paying S&S but wish to upgrade at a later time, reinstatement licensing would be required which is approximately 3X the annual S&S cost.

Where do I send my ILMT reports each quarter?

You are not required to send ILMT to IBM on a quarterly basis. You are required to retain a minimum of 2 years of quarterly reports which IBM may request from you upon audit. 

I no longer pay maintenance (S&S) on my PVU based software, does that mean I don’t need to run ILMT anymore?

Whilst the software is running in your environment, you are still bound to the license terms and the requirement for quarterly reporting remains until your software is decommissioned.

I have just received an audit letter from IBM, what should I do? 

If you’ve just been served a letter, the first thing to do is to understand your deployments and your risks. To help you do this, it’s best to bring in an IBM licensing specialist to help you navigate the complex audit process. 

How can Certus help with an IBM audit? 

Certus has a team of dedicated IBM licensing specialists each with over 8 years experience. We’ve helped many clients save millions of dollars by guiding them through an IBM audit so they can get back to business.

Learn more about our IBM Audit Response Service HERE.

How can Certus help companies with their IBM licensing needs? 

Certus has a specialist IBM licensing team that can:

  1. Provide an independent review of a client’s IBM footprint current licensing position to uncover any areas of risk
  2. We are specialists in ILMT implementation, management and reporting so we can help you comply with the mandatory requirements set by IBM
  3. We can provide ongoing quarterly reporting which includes recommendations to optimise software deployments plus give a view of any financial exposure.

With Certus’ expertise, our clients can be confident in where they stand with IBM licensing.

Learn more about our Assured IBM License Management Service HERE.

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