IBM – Software License Management Services

IBM software is strategic and transformational for your business but creates a significant challenge to managing your licenses and optimizing your investment. IBM, like many software companies, has grown through acquisition. Growth brought complexity with a large number of products that introduced perplexing usage rights and requirements, varied license metrics, frequent usage right updates and complex product bundling. As a result, organizations struggle to manage their IBM software estate. Organizations often find themselves over-purchasing licenses to cover their lack of deployment and licensing knowledge, over-renewing software not even in use only to protect themselves, and regularly out of compliance which can result in millions of dollars of unexpected and un-budgeted costs. High risk factors for organizations include rapid growth, hardware refreshes, IT restructuring, decentralized IT environments & management, and mergers & acquisitions. These organizations should ensure they have appropriate processes, controls, policies, tools, and specialists in place to effectively manage their software estate. True software license management will lead organizations to significant cost reduction, risk avoidance, and cost avoidance.



Inventory, license consumption & contract/entitlement reconciliation to establish license position and identify any compliance issues. OPTIMIZATION SERVICES Optimization modeling to identify cost savings, cost avoidance, and usage efficiencies. Requires baseline services.


Scalable and customizable outsourced services from Anglepoint for a contracted period of time. Includes ongoing discovery, reconciliation, and optimization of your IBM software estate.


Instructions, strategies, and guidance through a compliance audit to minimize time, resource and cost impact to your organization. Requires baseline services.


Optimization modeling to identify cost savings, cost avoidance, and usage efficiencies. Requires baseline services.


Avoid time-consuming, resource-monopolizing and costly audits. Avoid buying unnecessary licenses and maximize your current entitlements. Reduce renewal costs by renewing only what you actually consume. Surveyed had 6-10 audits requested/conducted in last year Surveyed had 10+ audits requested/conducted in last year Software product announcement letters released in 2015 Increase your leverage in contract negotiations with knowledge of what you actually need and use. Leverage licensing experts to optimize your deployment and reduce costs.
Complexities Surrounding IBM Licensing Agreements, Contracts and Letters
One of the most challenging aspects of IBM software is understanding what is owned and your organization’s license rights. To control usage rights, IBM utilizes multiple contractual documents including the IBM Customer Agreement (ICA), International Product License Agreement (IPLA), Passport Advantage (PPA) and License Information (LI). Each document can play a role in determining your organization’s license rights. Understanding which agreement is applicable under different circumstances is confusing and leads to incorrect usage of product and compliance true-ups. Information Documents (LI) are web-based and can be modified at any time. Announcement letters are also released throughout the year (nearly 3,000 in English alone) that modify your license rights. Organization’s are required to track and interpret implications on their software estate.
Sub-Capacity Usage
A common pitfall of IBM licensing is understanding PVU sub- capacity licensing. Customers regularly take advantage of virtualization software for sub-capacity usage and will only purchase PVUs for the cores assigned to the virtual machines hosting the IBM software. However, customers often overlook the sub-capacity requirement to utilize the IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT) for quarterly sub-capacity reporting. If ILMT is not installed, the customer will be required to purchase PVUs for all physical processor cores and not only sub-capacity usage.
Metric Conversions
Periodically, IBM product license metrics will change forcing a license conversion from one metric to another (e.g., Per user to Processor Core). Conversions may drastically impact your current usage scenario and force environmental change. While IBM typically will do a dollar-to-dollar conversion, the new metric may not always be in your favor resulting in the need to buy more licenses or renew more licenses than what was previously needed. Organizations often try to negotiate conversion ratios to be more favorable and have less impact on their environment but while they may be successful in getting more licenses out of the negotiation it usually results in higher renewal costs. Organizations that do not understand their metric conversions are usually found out of compliance and far from a maximized and optimized state.
Open Licensing
Many IT organizations struggle with the freedom IBM offers with installing their products without license restriction. IBM licenses are not limited to a single product activation, which puts the responsibility on the customer to ensure they are buying all the licenses they need to match their installations. This can become very challenging to control if purchasing and management is decentralized.
License Metrics
Many of the common compliance issues stem from misunderstanding how the product is licensed. To give some perspective, IBM utilizes over 270 license metrics across their product families. In many cases, the same product can be licensed in multiple ways while utilizing the exact same installation file. For example, CEO and Domino Server utilize the same installation file but have different paper-based licensing that grant different license rights. license metric for different product editions but the user must configure product features correctly (i.e., turn off default features) at the time of installation to match the edition purchased. This is seen with Notes Enterprise & Notes Messaging. Units (RVUs). The RVU metric is commonly defined differently depending on the product while it retains the same metric name. Situations like these lead to product misuse and costly compliance true-ups.
Product Bundling
Many IBM products are sold as bundles. It is common to find the same bundled components (software products) included in many different bundles. For example, WAS ND 7.0 is included in more than 1,200 different IBM product bundles and DB2 ESE 9.1 is included in more than 1,300 IBM bundles. When an organization performs basic software discovery, products are regularly mapped into a bundled license incorrectly or mistakenly counted as a stand-alone installation of the software. Both scenarios lead to an increase of costs through either over-purchasing or over- deployment resulting in costly compliance true-ups.
Discovery & Management
Probably the hardest process an organization must do with their IBM software estate is to have an accurate and complete knowledge of what is deployed and be able to reconcile it accurately to correctly interpreted license entitlements. This can result from a lack of knowledge, skill, and/or tools. It’s almost always less expensive to engage subject matter experts than to pay a costly compliance true- up.

IBM Licensing Leadership


Michael (Mike) Sarna

Vice President

Kevin Rieske