Latest news 2 years ago

IBM Insight: Why you shouldn’t ignore your IBM non-PVU licenses

Though sub capacity requirements do not apply to IBM non-PVU licenses there can still be significant compliance risk and savings opportunities to be addressed.

Focusing on your IBM non-PVU licenses is more important than you think

Though sub-capacity requirements do not apply to IBM non-PVU licenses there can still be significant compliance risk and savings opportunities to be addressed.

IBM processor based licenses

IBM customers who set up their internal IBM license management program typically start by focusing on the highest compliance risk areas. For most customers, the licenses with the highest compliance risk are those that are licensed based on processors: Processor Value Unit (PVU), Virtual Processor Core (VPC) and Resource Value Unit Managed Activated Processor Core (RVU MAPC). These license metrics are high risk because of the requirements for sub capacity licensing. Mitigating full capacity risk usually involves correctly installing and configuring the IBM license metric tool (ILMT) as we describe in our earlier article: Stay compliant and optimize spend with the IBM license metric tool (ILMT). The newer Virtual Processor Core metric now also requires ILMT for sub capacity licensing.

Non-processor based licenses – risks and opportunities

Once the processor-based licenses are adequately managed, it is important not to overlook the remaining licenses. Even though the sub capacity requirements do not apply to the other types of licenses, there can still be significant compliance risk, and savings opportunity, to address in the other licenses.

A common license metric used for IBM products is the Authorized User. For some products, measuring the number of Authorized User can be relatively straightforward, for example by measuring the number of people who have the software installed on their PCs. Other products are more complex though – Cognos and Maximo are well known examples of products where incorrectly managing user access authorizations can lead to significant compliance exposure. IBM has acquired a large number of software companies over the years, and this also leads to a wide variety of license metrics, including Terabyte, Floating User, other Resource Value Unit (RVU) types, Appliance, Connection, Simultaneous Session and countless others.

Unfortunately there is no automated tool available to measure each of these license types. IBM’s compliance auditors typically use Excel workbooks to request the required data, which will then need to be filled in by IBM product administrators. Finding the right people to fill in the workbooks is often the most time-consuming aspect of any audit.

How to better manage your IBM non-PVU licenses

In order to prevent unexpected license compliance exposure we recommend the following:

  • Don’t ignore IBM non-PVU licenses – and when you measure them, document the procedures performed to collect the necessary data. Technical product extracts are often an excellent source.
  • If you already went through an IBM audit that can give you good insights in how to measure each product.
  • Even within ILMT, keeping track of non-processor based licenses can be essential. Those products can contain bundled components which ILMT may incorrectly report as requiring PVU licenses.

If you have any doubts or questions regarding non-processor based licenses please contact us or reach out directly to our IBM license compliance vertical lead Koen Dingjan (

Transform your business. Find out how we can help.

We’d love to meet. For an interview, a request for a proposal or just a question: Please fill out the form and we’ll be in touch within 24 hours.

    Have a question? Visit our contact us page for more options.

    Talk to us today