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SAM tools & IBM sub-capacity reporting

Nearly all IBM customers find that sub-capacity licensing is a highly preferable way to license IBM’s Processor Value Unit/Resource Value Unit, Managed Activated Processor Core/Virtual Processor Core (PVU/RVU MAPC/VPC) based products. Sub-capacity licensing has several requirements, however. One of which is the use of the IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT) or BigFix Inventory (BFI, now an HCL product) for sub-capacity reporting. This general requirement applies to all IBM customers.

ILMT/BFI are specifically designed for tracking IBM PVU/RVU MAPC/VPC product deployments, and meet IBM’s underlying sub-capacity reporting requirements, which include, amongst others, continuous measurement of high-watermark processor quantity allocated to each instance, using a 30-minute sampling interval.

That said, IBM allows two exceptions to the ILMT/BFI requirement:

1. Flexera: Customers who prefer to use Flexera instead of ILMT/BFI may do so if BOTH of the following conditions are met:

– The Flexera setup meets IBM’s sub-capacity reporting requirements
– Execution of special PPA addendum with IBM

2. IASP: Customers included in IBM’s Authorized SAM Provider (IASP) initiative who prefer to use Flexera, ServiceNow, Snow, or USU (formerly Aspera) instead of ILMT/BFI may do so if BOTH of the following conditions are met:

– Execution of an IASP agreement with alternative sub-capacity reporting tool addendum with IBM
– The customer’s IASP service provider is comfortable that the end result is complete and accurate, and meets IBM’s sub-capacity reporting requirements. This may require the IASP service provider to perform customizations and/or additional procedures

The relationship between IBM’s general ILMT/BFI requirement for sub-capacity reporting and the two exceptions is depicted in the following chart:


The following are FAQs we have received from our clients about the above rules:

Why is IBM treating Flexera, ServiceNow, Snow, and USU differently than other SAM tools?  Is IBM planning to add other SAM tools for any of the two exceptions listed above?

We cannot speak for IBM. That said, these are the four leading SAM tools in Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant Report for SAM Tools. We are not aware that IBM is considering adding other tools at this time.

Is IBM planning to grant ServiceNow, Snow, and USU the same exception Flexera has today (i.e. will there eventually be ServiceNow/Snow/USU addendums for customers NOT under IASP like there is for Flexera today)? 

We cannot speak for IBM. That said, we are not aware that IBM has such plans at this time.

Can ServiceNow, Snow, or USU do everything ILMT/BigFix/Flexera do, and satisfy IBM’s sub-capacity reporting requirements in an out-of-the-box implementation?
Currently not. That said, some of these tool vendors are actively working to add these capabilities. This is why ServiceNow, Snow, and USU are currently NOT approved for customers outside the IASP initiative. Under IASP, an authorized provider can perform any customizations and additional procedures that may be necessary to ensure the result is complete and accurate.

Do IASP customers who want to use Flexera need to sign the Flexera PPA addendum in addition to the IASP agreement & tool addendum?

For customers who are both using Flexera and have signed the IASP agreement, only one of the two addendums (Flexera PPA addendum or IASP agreement tool addendum) is required.

Why would IBM customers under IASP find the option to use ServiceNow, Snow and USU attractive, if additional procedures and cost are involved?  Why would they not prefer to keep using ILMT/BFI instead?

While the IASP provider may need to perform customizations and additional procedures, and these will invariably come at an incremental cost to the customer, some customers find the benefit of tool consolidation (using fewer tools across the environment with a fewer discovery agents to deploy and maintain) to be worth the additional cost, and to justify signing up for the IASP initiative by itself.

Let’s start a conversation.