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Battling IBM licensing challenges – 5 tips to help you!

Every once in a while, all ITAM managers face challenges when managing IBM licensing. To help you on your way, we have gathered 5 practical & useful tips from our webinar on managing IBM licensing in ServiceNow SAM.

Pay what you use & Use what you pay!

In our daily activities, we help you optimise and reduce yearly cost, and make sure that you run smoothly through an IBM audit. Doing this, we often experience customers could save tons of money, but often do not realise it.

Pay what you use: be compliant and avoid non-budgeted, sometimes huge, penalties in case of an audit. And here, measuring is knowing! It provides greater insight into the IBM software licenses with all associated problems and increases the degree of control for the IBM software products. In short: When you know your software consumption, it will strengthen your future negotiating position with IBM.

Use what you pay: customers often “just” renew their subscriptions on a yearly basis without further analysis. This can be due to lack of time or to other priorities. But, with better analysis and better insights you can significantly reduce your yearly Subscription & Support (S&S) costs.

A single IBM software product can be licensed by multiple metrics

IBM uses over 150 different licensing metrics, such as, for example, core based (PVU), user based or capacity based. One single product however, can be licensed by multiple metrics. So, always check your Proof of Entitlement (PoE) to see which metric you bought. You can even choose which metric is the best fit for your environment, before you buy the product!

Once you understand what metric you have licensed, check the IBM License Information Document for specific consumption measuring. This contains license charge metrics, bundled SW data (supporting programs + conditions), and other product specific conditions, which can vary significantly between software versions.

The IBM License Information Document is the most important document for your IBM product, apart from the Passport Advantage Agreement

Don’t forget about your bundling!

Almost all IBM software contains bundled software programs you can use for free, of course while respecting the conditions of how to use them. Be aware that, when it comes to audits, it can be difficult to have the correct bundling in place.

Even customers with only 1 IBM product, need to be careful with Sub-capacity!

Even organisations with the smallest environments with only 1 IBM software product run high financial risks with IBM audits, when they don’t comply with IBM Sub-capacity conditions. IBM’s default is based on Full-capacity conditions. If you do not adhere to these conditions, like installing ILMT or BigFix, and if you are not running the eligible virtualisation technology or processor technology, then you will not be eligible for Sub-capacity conditions.


Sub-capacity metrics

Products priced on a per-core metric are supported for Sub-capacity pricing - there are three metrics:

  • PVU: Processor Value Unit, the most common
  • RVU MAPC: Resource Value Unit (Managed Activated Processor Core)
  • VPC: Virtual Processer Core – manual reporting is allowed (until today), but VPC will soon require ILMT
  • The most important are PVU and RVU (both are supported in ServiceNow SAM)!

IBM IASP – what is it and are you eligible for it?

When it comes to audits, IBM sends audit notification letters to all customers registered with IBM software. Traditionally, these audits are run by KPMG or Deloitte. This is a high-risk approach, because it is difficult to predict the outcome and it is very difficult to predict if you are eligible for Sub-capacity conditions.

The last three years, IBM started offering (invitation-based) alternative audits: the IBM Authorized SAM Provider Offering (IASP). This differs from the traditional audits because:

  • The customer pays for the service provider of their choice: KPMG, Ernst &Young, Anglepoint or Deloitte (whereas traditionally these are paid for by IBM)
  • During the contract period of max. 3 years, no IBM audits will take place
  • License shortages will be resolved on regular commercial conditions (instead of IBM entitled pricing plus a two-year back maintenance penalty)

ServiceNow is now an eligible tool for reporting when choosing the IASP option for audits!


ServiceNow Software Asset Management publisher pack for IBM

First of all, you will have to integrate the ServiceNow Rome release. For the ILMT integration, the ServiceNow Rome release requires ILMT version 9.2.8 or later.

  • Set up ILMT and BigFix Inventory integration for IBM compliance reporting
  • If you're using an HTTP connection or you've finished the initial configuration for HTTPS, establish a connection in the ServiceNow Platform
  • When you import data from the ILMT or BigFix Inventory, your ServiceNow instance uses transform maps to process this data into ServiceNow tables.


Supported by ServiceNow:

  • PVU
  • RVU
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server & Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Virtual Datacenters products


Please note! IBM Container Licenses: IBM does not support the use of 3rd party tools (yet) when you are running container licenses. You need the IBM License Service Tool!

Want to learn more about IBM licensing in ServiceNow SAM?

  • What challenges are you facing managing license compliance of your IBM products? 
  • What do you need to take into consideration to manage IBM properly and without compliance risks? 
  • How can ServiceNow SAM help you to avoid risks and reduce spend all together?


Request IBM webinar on-demand