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IBM licensing and eligibility for sub-capacity licensing

Jan 26 2015: Published by under IBM

IBM is a leading expert with partitioning and server virtualization technologies.  They recognize non-IBM technology also, like VMWare, as a way to meet the demand for flexibility.  They introduced subcapacity licensing in 2005 as a tool to assist customers in maintaining compliance in a dynamic environment.

Subcapacity  for IBM software with PVU (core-based) licensing metrics is desirable because only the capacity used needs licensing.  This would work well for partitioned, virtualized, dynamically allocated, or even cloud-based environments.

The default for IBM software licensing is full capacity.  That’s licensing for every activated, physical processor core on the server(s) where the software is deployed.  Clustering would dramatically increase the software licensing burden with full capacity.

The condition for sub-capacity licensing from IBM is utilization of one of their tools, such as ILMT or TAD, and retaining a minimum of quarterly reports for two years.  Some clients have asked for an exception based on using a non-IBM comparable tool and have received subcapacity entitlement from IBM.

Why does this matter?

If you have a couple 4-core max partitions of WAS on a Power 6 with 64 cores with full capacity, all 64 cores would be used to calculate the PVU licenses in a full capacity scenario – 64 x 120=7,680 PVUs.

With sub-capacity, only 8 cores would be counted for licensing – 8 x 120 =960 PVUs.

How much is that in terms of list price?

Full Capacity = $400,000 for 7,680 PVUs.
Sub Capacity = $50,000 for 960 PVUs.

 

 

 

 

IBM WebSphere Application Server Processor Value Unit (PVU) License + SW Subscription & Support 12 Months (D55W8LL) is $52.25 list price  on IBM’s web site Oct. 11, 2013.

 

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PVU licensing for DR with IBM DB2

Jan 22 2015: Published by under IBM

PVU licensing for DR with IBM DB2 by Sharon Trembley

Some vendors and products need fully licensed Disaster Recovery.  Not so with PVU licensing for IBM’s DB2.

I’ll explain, but first let me explain IBM-speak regarding DR servers.  The IBM Software Group describes servers as Hot, Warm, and Cold, and those terms have been adopted where DB2 is installed.

HOT/Full License Required
Active
Live
Production

 

Database software installed on another server intended for failover purposes. At the same time this server maintains partner high availability, it is servicing other applications as a primary data server.  In other words, there is end-user access to this standby database even when no failure has occurred. DB2 HADR + read on standby, DB2 + replication reads or writes on both sides , DB2 pureScale or replication scheme.

 WARM/Partial License Required
Log Ship Standby
Idle (started DB2 instance)
HADR
Passive (started instance)

Using the PVU model a warm DB2 standby server, physical or virtual, is licensed for 100 PVUs regardless of processing architecture or processor count.

 

COLD/No License Required
Powered off (DB2 installed)
Idle (DB2 instance not started)
Backup
Passive (DB2 instance not started)

For the cold conditions listed above, IBM does not require any licensing.

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Microsoft Windows 10 truly mobile: Optimism as a renewable resource

Jan 21 2015: Published by under Compliance,Microsoft Licensing Compliance,Microsoft Windows,Microsoft: News You Can Use,Windows

Microsoft is making good on its move into mobile after its acquisition of Nokia. The company continues to move towards the present as it bolts into true mobility. Today’s NY Times article – Microsoft Looks to Windows 10 for a Jolt in the Mobile Realm shows Microsoft’s continued evolution away from the Ballmer era under Satya Nadella and the new, very relevant Windows 10. Given his cloud and R&D background, he is making a push toward the consumer space, possibly as the re-making of Microsoft given its flagging enterprise sales.

The article notes that people don’t buy iPhones or Androids for the apps, but apps are a huge part of the reason they do buy them. Microsoft has over 500,000 apps (according to the company) versus the millions for iPhone and Android. More importantly, Microsoft’s suite lacks apps like Snapchat. Microsoft was way too early in the cell phone industry and then way too late. In the meantime, its competitors timed their pounce just right and now Microsoft finds itself playing catch-up from an appreciable distance.

Nonetheless, I think they’re on the right track. Nadella has quickly realized that the same ol’, same ol’ won’t work anymore. And he’s working to change things.

It would be foolish of us not to point out – you still have to pay attention to mobile licensing. Mobile licenses in conjunction with the enterprise can get complex.

 

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Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 Licensing

Nov 12 2014: Published by under Microsoft,Microsoft Enterprise Agreements,Microsoft Licensing Compliance,Microsoft Licensing Tip,Server CAL

Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 comes with the availability of two primary editions – Standard and Datacenter. The versions are identical from a technical perspective with the only difference being virtualization rules. Both primary editions can only be licensed in the Processor Plus CAL metric . . .unlike the limited functionality editions for Windows Essentials and Window Foundation that are licensed by Server with CALs included.

So, which do you choose?

Since the functionality levels are equal, it’s something of an arithmetic issue.  The licensing for Datacenter Edition is about 5½ times that of Standard Edition. Keep that in mind as we walk through the example.

Microsoft requires all physical processors on the server be licensed. Let’s assume that we have a four-processor device. Each license covers up to two processors. For this server, for either edition, two licenses are required.  For Datacenter Edition, the number of virtual instances on this server would then be unlimited. It would also cost nearly $10,000 at a Select Plus Level A pricing without Software Assurance for those two licenses. It costs less than $2,000 to license it with Standard Edition, but we only get four virtual instances because with Microsoft’s Standard Edition you only get one physical instance and up to two virtual instances per license.

Now, in this example, we’re not talking about these huge servers so spinning up just four VMs might be all it can handle, but what if there was enough cycles,say, for two more?  The answer is simple. From a Microsoft perspective, you just stack licenses. What Microsoft allows you to do is allocate more licenses on Windows Standard on a device than it would otherwise call for simply for the purpose of adding more virtual instances. 

With this third license on that server, two more VMs can be spun up and the cost is just another $900 or so. If you still have some more room, add another for another $900. For an investment of around $3,500, a total of eight virtual instances can be deployed on that server. If that is all you could ever be on that server, you made a really good decision about going with stacking the Standard Edition licenses.

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Microsoft License Mobility and Limitations

Nov 12 2014: Published by under Microsoft Audit,Microsoft Software Assurance,SQL

What is License Mobility?

License Mobility refers to the ability to move virtual instances from host to host and between server farms without the constraints of Microsoft’s license reassignment rule. Microsoft restricts reassigning a license from one server to another or from one device to another more frequently than every 90 days (This is often referred to as Microsoft’s “reassignment rule”). License Mobility is a Software Assurance benefit.

The limitations of License Mobility

Microsoft’s Product Use Rights state very clearly that you may not reassign licenses on a short-term basis (within 90 days of the last assignment). However, licenses can be reassigned sooner if the licensed device or server is retired due to a permanent hardware failure. That’s a constraining and very strict rule that talks about when the 90-day timeframe is set aside and it talks specifically about hardware failure.

Given the strictness of that rule, without License Mobility you could only move the licenses to a server every 90 days. What that means then is that in order to be properly licensed amongst the hosts in a cluster, you would have to have enough licenses assigned to each of those nodes to cover the peak number of virtual instances that could be moved to that server at any given time. While the licenses or environment may call for, say, half a dozen licenses, you might need 20 simply because you’ve moved these instances from physical node to physical node within the cluster.

Now, looking at SQL Server as an example, all of the cores on all the hosts in the cluster must be licensed and covered by Software Assurance. This now expands your rights to allow any number of instances of that software to run in any number of virtual machines within that farm. In the case of SQL Server that is not covered by Soft Assurance, you’re limited to the number of licenses that you’re actually running (core licenses). If you have a total of 16 cores within that cluster, License Mobility rules without Software Assurance state that you can only have 16 instances of support SQL Server. 

It’s complex and easily misconstrued but it’s a trend that we’re seeing over and over again. Microsoft is associating Software Assurance to many, many new benefits – License Mobility is just one of them.

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CCL Report – Oracle Auditing Process Bad, Confusing

Nov 10 2014: Published by under Compliance,Oracle audit,Oracle license,Oracle Licensing Compliance,Oracle: News You Can Use

The Campaign for Clear Licensing (CCL) has published a report on Oracle’s auditing processes, and the results aren’t good.
• 92% of customers surveyed believe the company does not communicate its licensing changes clearly
• 88 % believe Oracle’s audit requests are difficult to manage and respond to

The conclusion is drawn that Oracle conducts audits for revenue purposes only, not with compliance in mind. Read more here.

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Microsoft Earnings – Much Improvement, Thanks to Nokia

Oct 24 2014: Published by under Microsoft

Microsoft is having a good first fiscal quarter, with an increase in sales by 25%, much in part due to the recent purchase of Nokia. The company is definitely showing signs of progress, but still has some strides to make in the mobile business.

Read more about their earnings report here.

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Microsoft Audits – What is worth fighting for?

Oct 23 2014: Published by under Microsoft Audit,software asset management,Software audit

Most common questions we get during a Microsoft Audit:

  • What are the primary points to negotiate with the supplier or their agent when an audit notice is received?
  • What are the points to fight for?
  • What are the points that are most important?

There are many, many moving parts involved in a Microsoft audit because of the many and varied products, license metrics, volume license programs, and Software Assurance considerations. 

There is a central set of principles in responding to audits that have been blogged about and spoken about and presented about from many software asset management professionals. They involve communication protocols, date of delivery, settlement, negotiation, et cetera, and these are well known; but to these, we can add or perhaps maybe just reemphasize some other points.

Ensure that the audit scope is explicit and written. The auditor will prefer to dictate schedules and priorities and it’s important that you, as a representative of the organization, control that process.

Scrutinize the findings. Understand that the findings, especially the initial findings, are going to require some adjustment and warn your teams not to take any action based on the initial findings.

Data from automated tools is only as good as the interpretation. The audit scripts and SAM tools gather the deployment information. The Microsoft license statement details the entitlements and the comparison between them is not simple arithmetic. There is a big chasm that exists between these two data points and it needs to be accurately and very effectively navigated.

Buyer Beware. Another point to mention is that your reseller (now referred to as a License Solutions Provider or “LSP”) may offer this service for free, but be aware that there is an incentive for them to complete a licensing transaction.

 

 

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IBM audits: complicated and getting nasty

Oct 22 2014: Published by under Compliance,IBM,IT Asset Management,Software audit

IBM audits are never welcome, but they are increasingly becoming part of the norm. Why? IBM has targeted software to comprise 50% of its total revenue by 2015– this growth is not from SoftLayer or Watson’s cognitive computing alone.

In the past, long-time IBM customers who have been audited felt that they did well even if they needed to true-up. Things have changed. The settlement process has taken on an adversarial tone with repeated threats of theft of intellectual property, rather than a civil discussion regarding usage and a straightforward cost for over deployed licenses plus two years back support.

IBM insists it could ask for a settlement in excess of current usage if its licensing measurement tool is not in use, and then applies some shady methodology called ‘sharing the burden’. However it’s presented, the settlement amount is in excess of a straight true-up and may include a new license purchase unrelated to the client’s current usage but bundled as part of the settlement. The client is prevented from settling without the new license purchase which by itself could financially exceed the true-up license cost multiple times over.

It may be a company will not be subjected to this new audit method. Or, a company could be a fully compliant IBM customer that runs ILMT or a Tivoli tool, looks at the reports for accuracy, and if a purchase was necessary will make the purchase. If a company is IBM loyal, perhaps there is a deeper understanding of IBM’s licensing language. With all that said, in today’s enterprise, with the vastness of IBM products and its aggressive auditing techniques, it’s not impossible to remain compliant, just complicated.

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Microsoft’s New Volume Agreement Isn’t As Short And Simple As Advertised

Oct 15 2014: Published by under Microsoft,Microsoft Enterprise Agreements,Microsoft Licensing Compliance,Microsoft Licensing Tip,Microsoft: News You Can Use,Uncategorized

Microsoft debuted a new volume licensing agreement earlier this year – Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA). Tim Hedegus of Miro was asked by CRN Magazine to shed some light on this new agreement and debate whether its really as simple as Microsoft claims. If you are interested in finding out more about this topic, you can read his comments here. 

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