True-ups are no longer true
IBM and a few other software vendors have a history of tolerating certain non-compliant areas of licensing and would simply true up licenses when a problem was discovered, but those days are long past. Post-audit shortfalls are not so easily resolved today. In fact, IBM’s audit can be a long and arduous process that lasts up to two years.
The kicker here is that it’s not IBM doing the audits. The audit responsibility is given to external, third party auditors. Any antagonistic relationship that might develop is therefor with the third party auditor, and possibly the IBM audit team, and not with your IBM sales rep, who is not directly involved in the audit and can do little during the process.
And while ILMT can help safeguard you during an audit, it isn’t as simple as downloading a discovery tool. The implementation can be confusing and unwieldy, requiring downloading table updates, verifying product bundling is performed correctly by ILMT, running reports, and ultimately signing off that the reports are correct and so on. Working with IBM support to fine-tune ILMT can also be time consuming.
With that said, it’s better than being surprised during an audit. The difference between licensing all activated processor cores in a physical server versus licensing only the virtual cores allocated can be big. Let’s say you have a pSeries server with 62 activated cores and only a single dedicated and capped LPAR with an entitled capacity of 0.2 running a particular IBM product such as DB2. Even after rounding up the micropartitioned LPAR, licensing 1 core of DB2 versus 62 cores is a huge difference. On a p770, for example, this difference could be as much as $2.9 million.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In the case of IBM’s sub-capacity versus full-capacity licensing, it’s absolutely true.
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