Understand the Terms and Conditions of Your IBM Software
I’ve been around long enough to remember when Software Asset Management was the concern only of the ‘data processing’ department. Back then you could count the number of applications in use on two hands (if not one) and many would have been developed in house. The closest the typical user got to the software lifecycle was borrowing a ring bound, impact printed manual (paper documentation, how quaint!) that described the use of the function keys on his or her green-screen terminal. Misty-eyed reminiscences over, the practice of Software Asset Management (SAM) is a serious business these days. So many applications to manage, so many devices to deploy to, so many vendors to work with. Complexity is everywhere.
It’s this complexity when it comes to software license management that drives the need for something to ensure veracity when reporting use to the vendor. It’s their IP after all, so it’s understandable that now and again they might want to check that your usage tallies up with their record of your purchases.
It follows that you need to address all of the following in order to achieve a state of SAM compliance across all IBM technologies:
Yes, it might be a very long document and it won’t be particularly exciting, but it is important and it’s vital to understand your responsibilities. What exactly is the metric that the vendor applies to use? These days it’s rarely the number of installs alone that counts and it may even vary from application to application. Perhaps the number of concurrent uses applies or the number of processors. Under what conditions does this apply?
Understand what software you have installed
Deploy new servers or desktops via imaging software? Of course you do, it’s efficient, but do you know exactly what is deployed on all of your systems? Could you recall it easily if requested? A discovery tool would ease the problem of checking every single system manually.
Understand how much software you are entitled to deploy
Vendors usually provide some method of looking up your entitlements. Without this information, you run the risk of being out of step with the vendor. This works two ways of course. You definitely don’t want to be under-licensed, but being over-licensed isn’t desirable either.
Record and check your usage
So, having determined what you have and what the vendor thinks you have and then having made plans to adjust your installations accordingly if necessary, just how do you control your licensing position? You need a tool that will automate that process too.
For IBM software purchased under a Passport Advantage agreement, IBM provide the IBM Licence Metric Tool (also known as ILMT) for software discovery and licence reporting. ILMT can be obtained without charge by IBM’s PA customers from the same source as your PA licensed applications. With an ILMT deployment keeping an eye on your IBM software and a little regular maintenance, you will be in a position to produce up-to-date reports on your licensing position with confidence.