The following is an adaptation from a transcript of one of XTIVIA’s helpful webinars. The video is available at the bottom of the page, where you’ll also find a form to contact us should you have any questions or are interested to learn more! This is the second of three articles adapted from this informative conversation, and the first part can be found here. Stay tuned for further updates!

Amir Shalev is the CEO of the STONS division at XTIVIA, and ITAA Director Koen Din Jung joins him.

Myth or Pitfall? “The IBM system will probably block me from using more than I purchased.”

Amir: This is a huge pitfall. Let’s say that the number of software products protected by license key restrictions is around 5%. So, most of the products are unprotected, and you can use them as much as possible. You can buy 100 users and have 1000 users. You can buy 200 PVUs and use 2000 PVUs. Nobody will stop you. IBM believes that you use the exact amount that you have purchased. And by that approach, IBM saves the plan for a multimillion audit business.

Myth or Pitfall? “Upgrading or changing hardware has nothing to do with software quantities.”

Amir: This is a mega myth. If the last one was huge, this is a mega one. Let’s run an example. You purchased, five years ago, one hundred PVU of an IBM software. You pay at the moment $20,000 annually for maintenance.

Now, due to a hardware change, you move to a quad-core server. Let’s just say, for example, this is a 280 PVU server, but you only have 100, right? If IBM catches these small, tiny differences, you will get a bill of $252,000: a quarter of million dollars.

So you budgeted 20K and got the bill of a quarter of a million dollars? This is like a 1300% difference. I’m familiar with people that lost their job for less. The IBM audit will ask you to buy the missing 180 PVU and add to that at list price, no discount, et cetera, and add two years of back maintenance. And bear in mind that this is a small example of a small change in a very small environment.

Now, do the calculation, what is the exposure at your company, and can you avoid this unpleasant surprise? First, download our helpful Upgrade Tips document. Learn it and follow the tips. Second, and more importantly, book a meeting with us. We will do a free meeting and assess your situation. We’ll be happy to try and avoid these unpleasant surprises.

Myth or Pitfall? “Non-production environments are free of charge.”

Koen: This is indeed a very common misconception. A lot of customers believe they have their production servers, and that’s basically all they need to license. But I always say the best starting assumption is that everything has to be fully licensed unless you can find a reason it does not need to be fully licensed.

There are a few cases in which something can be free of charge or where you can buy a more inexpensive license to cover the installation. A common scenario that applies to all IBM products is the hot, warm, and cold standby scenarios. That applies to backups. So if you have a production machine and a warm or a cold standby installation that functions as a fill-over, it can be free of charge. Whereas a hot standby needs to be fully licensed.

Those definitions are somewhat ambiguous, but at least that’s one scenario where you can try to find free installations. And for other non-production machines that develop and test by default, all of those need to be fully licensed.

What you can consider is that there are non-production part numbers for some products. For example, for Cognos, there are non-production licenses. And another alternative you can consider is a different metric. So you could license some products, you can license the production machines with PVUs, but then you buy authorized user licenses for your development work if that’s less expensive.

To me, the most important source to use in all of these matters is the License Information Document. Those are the licensing rules for each version of the IBM program. Because when you do have non-production part numbers, or you have a different metric, there you can find the exact rules that apply to any, let’s say, non-production use and what the limitations of that use are.

So overall, definitely a myth. Non-production is not free of charge by default. By default, everything needs to be fully licensed unless you can find a reason to be either licensed differently or require no licenses.

Myth or Pitfall? “We’ve just decommissioned a server. So we are safe.”

Koen: That’s another important myth, to some extent. So indeed, when you decommission a server, that will positively affect your compliance position. Still, there are some things to consider, especially if you have the IBM license metric tool deployed. What happens in that tool is a historical record of all of your IBM software installations and the server they’re running on. Those are all kept by ILMT, and records of installations are not automatically purged when servers are decommissioned.

Now, there are settings where you can enable that automatic purging, but in a nutshell, servers will continue to be counted in that system, even after they’re decommissioned, unless you take action to ensure that they’re no longer counted. So, just because a server is decommissioned or you have to remove the IBM software installation is not sufficient. You have to check your ILMT BigFix reports to ensure that moving forward, those installations are no longer counted.

For any additional questions, please reach out to XTIVIA by filling out this form. For nearly three decades, XTIVIA has been providing a variety of expert IT services to hundreds of businesses in countless industries. If you can imagine the business outcome, XTIVIA can create it with technology.

Watch Part 2 of IBM Audits: Myth, Pitfalls, Tips & Tricks here.

Part 1 of IBM Audits Audits: Myth, Pitfalls, Tips & Tricks.

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