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ILMT no longer a Get Out of Jail Free Card in IBM audits

Don’t get caught in a trap, ensure you’re compliant

This article has been contributed by Eric Chiu of FisherITS

Customers can still be fined for violating IBM’s Sub-Capacity licensing terms even after deploying the ILMT tool. This article takes a look at the areas on which organisations must focus to ensure license compliance.


The IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT) is a tracking tool published by IBM. It is designed for IBM software customers to report consumption of IBM software licensed under Processor Value Unit (PVU) metric.

ILMT is one of the compulsory requirements for IBM customers who want to benefit from IBM’s Sub-Capacity (virtualization capacity) licensing terms.

No ILMT means big audit fines

Unless certain exception criteria are met, IBM software customers will be required to license all IBM PVU software under IBM’s Full-Capacity terms without ILMT deployment.

Instead of paying for only the virtual core capacities consumed by IBM PVU applications, all available cores in physical hosts or clusters that can ‘theoretically’ be accessed by IBM applications are subject to licensing under Full-Capacity terms.

If the situation is identified in an IBM license review, IBM customers can be exposed to license liability that is typically 8 – 12 times higher than their existing spend on IBM PVU software (depending on the ratio between virtual capacity assigned to IBM software and the physical capacity available).

Based on industry experience, Sub-Capacity violation caused by absence or misconfiguration of ILMT is one of the most common compliance violations.

ILMT may no longer be your “Get out of Jail Free Card” in IBM audits

IBM customers are increasingly aware of the importance of deploying ILMT to remain compliant with IBM’s software license agreement terms.

However, ILMT deployment alone is not sufficient for a customer to meet IBM’s Sub-Capacity eligibility criteria. The common violation of Sub-Capacity terms for IBM customers with ILMT deployment are summarized below:

Summary Table of Sub-Capacity Violation Risks

Issue Impact
No quarterly reports Entire estate
Outdated ILMT Entire estate
PVU software instance not cover by ILMT Impacted instances
ILMT Scan failures Impacted instances
Incorrect bundling Impacted instances
Old OSes Impacted instances
Breaking 90-day deployment rule Impacted instances


  1. Not keeping quarterly reports

As part of the eligibility criteria for Sub-Capacity licensing discounts, IBM customers need to generate, verify and store ILMT reports quarterly. If they don’t, the entire customer estate will lose Sub-Capacity licensing eligibility.

  1. Running outdated version or configuration of ILMT

If a customer is using a version of ILMT that is not up-to-date (e.g. version 7.5 which is no longer supported by IBM), the entire customer estate will risk losing Sub-Capacity licensing eligibility.

  1. Missing a server where IBM PVU software is deployed (coverage)

IBM software is often deployed on non-Windows infrastructure, making its detection and identification challenging for IBM customers who wish to selectively deploy ILMT agents only on servers with IBM software. If an instance of IBM PVU software is not captured by ILMT, it is not eligible for Sub-Capacity licensing.

  1. Scan failures

ILMT agent scans and capacity scans can often fail due to disk space, compatibility, and credential issues. Any instance of IBM PVU software not correctly reported by ILMT due to these issues may no longer be eligible for Sub-Capacity licensing.

  1. Incorrect software classification (“bundling”)

ILMT detects IBM software signatures but cannot automatically “bundle” most of them into accurate license titles “out of the box”. Knowledge of specific license entitlement, license restrictions and signature dependency is required to accurately “bundle” IBM software signatures for reporting. If an instance of IBM PVU software is not correctly reported due to an error in bundling, it is not eligible for Sub-Capacity licensing.

  1. Deploying IBM software on Operating Systems not supported by ILMT

    Eric Chiu of H W Fisher’s IT Asset Consulting practice (FIAC)

If customers deploy PVU software on Operating Systems that are no longer eligible for Sub-Capacity (e.g. Windows Server 2003), all instances deployed on the impacted OSes are not eligible for Sub-Capacity licensing.

  1. Not deploying ILMT agent within 90-days

If a customer fails to deploy the ILMT agent within 90 days after they deploy IBM PVU software on the same virtual server, this instance of IBM PVU software will no longer be eligible for Sub-Capacity licensing. 


The opinion expressed in this article is based on FisherITS’ interpretation on various software licensing terms and conditions published by IBM and may differ from IBM’s own interpretation of such terms and conditions.

FisherITS shall not be held responsible for any action taken as a result of the information or advice shared in this article.

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  1. Eric,

    Could you please produce current IBM software licensing documentation in support of your assertion made in point 6.

  2. Suhail says:

    Bruce, if you review the link below you will see Windows 2003 is no longer in the table, It used to be. if you review you will see that one of the conditions is that customers must use eligible virtualisation technologies.

  3. […] licensed at Full-Capacity. If IBM finds that you have software that has been deployed for 90 days or longer and you have neither ILMT monitoring for Sub-Capacity or the software licensed at […]

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