Livingstone Knowledge

Update your IBM licensing now! Unless...

Author: Cristóbal Medina Colmenero
Principal Consultant at Livingstone Group


…Unless you like the adrenaline rush of becoming non-compliant and, by a bit of a margin!

I am talking about 6 or 7 figure liabilities here depending on your IBM software footprint… and all at a snap of a finger, or most accurately defined, by not moving a finger at all.

Eligibility for IBM Sub-Capacity licensing

I would like to discuss Eligibility for IBM Sub-Capacity licensing or how can your servers, products and hosts go from being eligible one day to ineligible the next. For context, you could end up having to license most of your IBM software estate in Full Capacity terms, which is not pleasant nor cheap. Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to scare anyone or make you fear IBM licensing, look hard enough and it can also be fun, the more you know about it!


There is an overarching principle that drives me to continue working in this industry after more than 15 years: Software is to be celebrated, its developers and manufacturers respected, and Intellectual Property must be protected. This is if we are to continue depending on it for every business need and for our own amusement and technological desires or in order to improve our quality of life. I am also driven by fairness and I have this crazy idea that you should only pay for what you are using or obtaining benefits from, and not be penalised for a set of very-difficult-to-follow and everchanging rules that makes IBM compliance seem like a utopia in your organisation.

Let me explain a little bit - surely, if you are reading this, you are interested in IBM licensing and making the most of your software investment in this tech giant. You may have read from the wise words of my colleague Alicia about how we can help to keep ILMT in your company configured correctly and reporting accurately, but, if you’ve been long enough in this industry, you know that’s not enough.


Why updating?

New security threats are created and improved, so software evolves as it needs to tackle those quickly enough. Enhanced functionality and advanced usage experience is necessary to continue being successful in whatever business your company happens to be trading. For those reasons, and others that are more obvious to the cynic eye, the manufacturers of Operating Systems continue improving and releasing new versions of their products. Subsequently discontinuing the support from their older software to enable them focusing on the new.

Well, take that and think IBM software, and how many of its products are dependent on the underlying hardware and the OS software that they are run on. I'd like to focus on one of the most left behind aspects of Virtualisation Capacity licensing, the Eligibility issue.


IBM Virtualisation Capacity (Sub-Capacity) licensing and Eligibility

As a refresher (I even remind myself every [working] day), please remember we need to overcome four requirements to enable our IBM products to be Sub-Capacity ready and licensed as such. For clients to qualify for and take advantage of Sub-Capacity licensing:

  • The IBM program must be eligible.
  • The virtualization technology and operating system must be eligible.
  • The IBM program must be running on a processor model that is eligible.
  • An approved tool must be used to meter the license usage (i.e. ILMT, Flexera, etc.).

Calling out the second point above, because it is quite broad, and it will affect every company. The OS and virtual technology must be eligible. It is quite easy to be left out on this… software changes and, remember, we are in 2024, things have sped up a bit these days.

To be fair, IBM gives you some notice period, and publishes the changes on their portal, but I don’t believe this is publicised loud enough or given the right attention by any companies with IBM software, hence my motivation to write about this today.

Here is where you can keep up with their changes on that respect.


What is your case?

Now, reflecting on your Company’s estate, I may suggest asking yourself the following:

  • Do you struggle to have full visibility of your assets?
  • Is your company’s OS and IBM software deployment a bit of mystery?
  • Any Windows 2000/2003/2008/2012 with IBM software?
  • What about your RedHat Enterprise Linux servers with IBM software, any with versions 5 or 6 present and still active?
  • And, what can you say about your Virtualised Environment… Do you have any VMWare ESX/ESXi Hosts running on version 5, 6, 6.5 or 6.7 still?

If any of those questions happens to be answered affirmatively, then let’s not stress too much about it and come talk to us. We’ll support you to understand the problem, the consequences and most importantly, the solutions for your particular case. We love to help, and we do it every day with our customers and partners.


In the meantime, check out some interesting license guides and documentation that IBM has made available to everyone in the recent years here.


If anything we've discussed here resonates with you, don't hesitate to reach out.




Topics: IBM Licensing, Eligibility, ILMT, IBM