Sub-Capacity Licensing Using IBM PVU or IBM VPC

FlexNet Manager Suite 2020 R2 (On-Premises)
You should understand the following before attempting settings in the IBM reporting and archiving settings section of the Inventory Settings page: For an overview of normal operation of high-frequency sub-capacity calculations for IBM PVU licenses in FlexNet Manager Suite, see the chapter Sub-Capacity Licensing with IBM PVU and IBM VPC in the FlexNet Manager Suite System Reference PDF, available through the title page of online helpavailable through the title page of online help.

IBM requirements for sub-capacity licensing

Using FlexNet Manager Suite data (derived from the 2015 release or later) to determine an IBM PVU or VPC license position on IBM software may be acceptable by IBM for sub-capacity reporting in place of IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT), Tivoli Asset Discovery for Distributed (TAD4D), IBM Software Usage Analysis (SUA), or IBM BigFix Inventory. This requires all of the following:
  • You must be using FlexNet Manager Suite 2015 or later. (This documentation is for 2020 R2.) This product must be installed, configured and maintained correctly.
  • You must have licensed (and use) the FlexNet Manager for Datacenters product.
  • Inventory must be collected by the FlexNet inventory agent, which must be installed directly on the device(s) running (or that may run) the software that is linked to an IBM PVU or VPC license. The method of installation of the FlexNet inventory agent does not matter, and installation may be achieved (for example) by any of:
    • Adoption, using separate inventory rules targeting the servers in question to trigger the adoption
    • Deploying the FlexNet inventory agent independently, using your own preferred infrastructure tools
    • Including the FlexNet inventory agent in the base image used to clone virtual machines that may run relevant software
    • Installing the FlexNet inventory agent manually.
  • You must increase the frequency of hardware inventory scanning on the target device so that it is performed every 30 minutes. The IBM reporting and archiving settings section of the Inventory Settings page contains the settings for the required increased frequency of hardware scanning.
  • On the same frequency, you must check the virtual hosts (VMware vCenter, Oracle VM Manager and Hyper-V servers) for any changes affecting VMs running the software attached to an IBM sub-capacity license.

Performance implications of high-frequency scanning

The following discussion applies only when FlexNet Manager Suite is responsible for sub-capacity PVU points calculations, and high-frequency hardware scanning is enabled. (Of course, when these conditions are not met, there are no additional performance impacts for inventory related to IBM PVU licenses.)

The additional hardware scanning on the target device(s) is low impact and fast. Where none of the relevant hardware properties has changed, there is (by default) no upload and no further processing. If there is any hardware change detected, a hardware inventory file is uploaded; and being hardware only, these zipped inventory files are quite small (order 5KB) and the upload is fast. If this upload to the central server occurs, the new data (which is uploaded only for the IBM servers reporting change) is resolved into the inventory database. Any newly imported inventory is taken into account at the next full compliance calculations, as part of which the region-by-region sub-capacity peaks are recalculated for the entire reporting period.
Tip: If necessary, you can modify a 'blocklist' of hardware properties that are ignored when assessing whether there has been a hardware change. The system uses this list to focus on the hardware properties that are relevant, and ignore ones that are not important and might trigger too-frequent hardware inventory uploads. By default, the blocklisted properties are:
  • Amount of physical memory that is free
  • Amount of virtual memory free
  • Current clock speed
  • Amount of free space on the hard disk.
To change this blocklist, see Agent Configuration for Frequent Hardware Scans.

The collection of hardware information on the target IBM devices, and the direct inventory gathering from virtual hosts, occur independently of the normal software inventory processes. The higher frequency hardware scanning does not block (and cannot be blocked by) normal inventory operations.

Product prerequisites for higher frequency processing of IBM sub-capacity licenses

The following technical conditions must be satisfied before you can use this facility:
  • Permission: You have licensed the FlexNet Manager for Datacenters product.
  • Inventory: Inventory must be collected by the FlexNet inventory agent locally installed on the devices that are (or may be) running software attached to IBM sub-capacity licenses. While you may use targets to trigger adoption of these devices, you may alternatively use any deployment method. For example, you might install the FlexNet inventory agent in your base image used to clone virtual machines.
  • License with consumption: You have at least one IBM PVU or IBM VPC license linked to one or more applications that have installations shown in inventory.
  • Reconciled: You have run a Reconcile since inventory was collected, triggering consumption from the above license. The initial gathering of this inventory and calculation of consumption is used to trigger operation of two specialized and normally hidden targets, described next.
  • Targets: FlexNet Manager Suite automatically maintains two relevant targets:
    1. Servers running VMware vCenter and Oracle VM Manager (OVM Manager) — these servers (which may also manage clusters) do not expose their VM management to a locally-installed FlexNet inventory agent. For FlexNet Manager Suite to gather data about the VMs under management, this target must be used for inventory gathering by the inventory beacon remotely accessing the management API (this is called 'direct' inventory gathering, since it does not involve any form of the FlexNet inventory agent).
      Tip: Note that the list of these servers is not visible on the Discovery and Inventory Rules page in the web interface, but functions as a hidden target called Known vCenter or OVM Manager servers in the web interface: its use is controlled through a check box titled Collect inventory from VMware vCenter or Oracle VM Manager servers which is described in IBM High-Frequency Scanning.
      When the Collect inventory from VMware vCenter or Oracle VM Manager servers check box is selected and the default Known vCenter or OVM Manager servers option is selected in the accompanying drop down list, this automated inventory, used to track the movement of virtual machines, is collected on the same frequency as the inventory of the devices running software attached to an IBM sub-capacity license. This target is populated from the discovered device records, so you must ensure discovery of all relevant servers before the target becomes effective. This hidden target automatically updates to include all discovered vCenter or OVM Manager servers, so that newly-installed sub-capacity-related software can be identified in dynamic environments. Alternatively, you may prefer to create your own custom target(s) that identify only those vCenter or OVM Manager servers known to manage VMs running PVU-related software. This enables you manage scanning, limiting it to only managers of inventory devices relevant to IBM sub-capacity licenses; but it also means that if you later deploy additional managers of VMs that should consume from IBM sub-capacity licenses, you must remember to update your targets to avoid creating an audit risk. (For details about creating targets, see the Creating a Target page.)(For details about creating targets, see the Creating a Target page in the online help.)
      Remember: Remote inventory gathering from virtual hosts requires that you have saved credentials for these servers in the Password Manager on the inventory beacon accessing the servers. (For details about using the Password Manager, see Password Management Page.)(For details about using the Password Manager, see the Password Management Page page in online help.)
      Tip: IBM also allows that, in addition to VMware and Oracle hosts, several other virtual hosts are acceptable for sub-capacity consumption of IBM PVU licenses. However, these hosts do not require the same direct inventory gathering as the VMware vCenter and Oracle VM Manager servers described above. For example:
      • For Hyper-V hosts, the FlexNet inventory agent locally installed on the host server is able to collect all required information about the deployment of VMs. These hosts are automatically included in the target described below, rather than in the target for direct inventory.
      • For partitioned technologies other than Solaris zones, the FlexNet inventory agent gathers sufficient information from the partition, and separate inventory of the host is not required for IBM sub-capacity calculations (although, of course, you may have the FlexNet inventory agent installed on the host to gather regular software and hardware inventory for that device). As you expect, partitions reporting inventory from the FlexNet inventory agent are also included in the automatic target described below.
      • For Solaris zones, it is critical that the FlexNet inventory agent is installed in the global zone as well as in the non-global zones. Only the global zone inventory reports the required number of processors and cores. If inventory from the global zone is missing, the non-global zones on this host do not contribute to the peak consumption calculations (because of the missing core and processor counts), and this represents an audit risk. When the FlexNet inventory agent is correctly installed in all zones, they are all automatically included in the following target.
    2. Computers running software attached to an IBM sub-capacity license (a target called All devices consuming IBM PVU points, which, despite the name, actually collects all devices consuming IBM sub-capacity licenses, both IBM PVU and IBM VPC where applicable) — these computers require the FlexNet inventory agent installed locally (called 'adoption' when you are defining targets, although you may use other methods of deployment). In production, use of this target is required for compliance with IBM's conditions.
      Tip: The special target All devices consuming IBM PVU points is not visible on the Discovery and Inventory Rules page in the web interface. It is available only in the IBM reporting and archiving settings section of the Inventory Settings page, which is described in IBM High-Frequency Scanning, and only when you have first selected Enable frequent hardware scanning for IBM sub-capacity license calculations.
    These two automated targets rely on data already reaching the central application server. To 'seed' these automated processes, you need rules that execute the initial discovery actions on the target devices. Naturally, these rules require additional targets manually prepared:
    • A target for discovery of the servers running VMware vCenter and Oracle VM Manager (do not allow adoption on these devices).
    • A target for discovery and inventory of devices running software attached to an IBM PVU or IBM VPC license. In the case of (only) this target, you may also choose to configure the target for 'adoption' of devices (that is, automatically installing the FlexNet inventory agent locally on the target devices); or you may prefer alternative deployment methods.
    • Hyper-V hosts may be included in the previous target; or you might prefer a separate target for managing these virtual hosts. You could allow adoption of these devices; or use third-party methods to install the full FlexNet inventory agent locally on the Hyper-V host.
    During development or testing, you may need extra targets in special circumstances, such as:
    • Your inventory management team is ahead of your licensing team, and wants sign-off that they are collecting all required inventory, even though IBM sub-capacity license set up is not yet complete. The system cannot use consumption against the missing IBM sub-capacity licenses as a data source to update the list of computers that need special, more frequent hardware scans. If the inventory team knows of computers that have relevant software installed, which in due course will be linked to an IBM sub-capacity license, you can create a temporary target for those computers so that frequent hardware scans start as quickly as possible, for compliance with IBM's requirements.
    • Your licensing team is ahead of your inventory team. The IBM PVU and IBM VPC licenses all exist, and a complete list of the computers to manage with frequent hardware scans could be generated; but permission for increased hardware checks on some of the target devices has not yet arrived. In this case, do not use the built-in target All devices consuming IBM PVU points, but instead manage your own targets that include only computers where hardware inventory gathering is permitted. This could be a politically useful temporary measure; but you should not allow it to continue, as it does not meet IBM's conditions. You can identify computers that are consuming from IBM PVU licenses, but not yet subject to high-frequency scanning, in the IBM PVU Out-Of-Date Inventory report (see below) – there is no equivalent report for VPC licenses.
  • Scheduled: While the schedule for inventory gathering by the installed FlexNet inventory agents is determined when you enable high-frequency scanning, you can separately configure your schedule for reporting periods (which govern how often you need to archive reports for IBM), for the switch-over date for reporting, and the length of time to retain historical data.
  • Enabled: When all else is ready, you must enable high-frequency inventory mode for IBM sub-capacity licenses.

Related reports

Specialized reports to assist in managing IBM sub-capacity licenses are also available.
Tip: Although some of the following reports are very similar to those from ILMT, there are acceptable presentation differences between ILMT and FlexNet Manager Suite reports of sub-capacity licensing. IBM's sub-capacity reporting requirements do not require exact copies of the ILMT reports (nor is FlexNet Manager Suite intended to copy ILMT).
After your next full license reconciliation, switch to Reports mode, and explore:
For IBM PVU licenses:
  • IBM PVU License Consumption (in the License Compliance, Licenses group), listing the software covered by these licenses and the license consumption resulting from inventory imports.
  • ILMT and FlexNet Manager License Positions (in the License Compliance, Compliance group), which can compare the sub-capacity consumption calculated by ILMT with the current calculations by FlexNet Manager Suite (either full capacity or sub-capacity, as determined by the combination of the settings both in the IBM reporting and archiving settings section of the Inventory Settings page, and in the license properties).
    Note: This report is helpful when you have deployed both the ILMT agent and the FlexNet inventory agent to the same target inventory devices, and ILMT remains available as an inventory source. Even after you have switched over to the high-frequency scanning mode in the IBM reporting and archiving settings section of the Inventory Settings page, the above comparative report remains available.
  • IBM PVU Overrides (under Discovery and Inventory > Inventory), showing computers consuming from IBM PVU licenses where the computer inventory has been manually modified, or the calculated consumption has been manually edited.
  • IBM PVU Out-Of-Date Inventory (in the same group), showing computers with incorrectly configured inventory agents, or those for which there has been no inventory gathered in the previous time interval you select for the report.
Tip: To meet IBM's reporting requirements, the following classes of data should be saved and safely archived for each reporting period (typically each month, but least once each quarter):
  • Export the following reports/view from FlexNet Manager Suite as both PDF and XSLX (or CSV). Use CertUtil on Microsoft Windows (or a similar utility of your choice) to store a checksum for each spreadsheet so that you can demonstrate the integrity of each report under audit. Archive these reports (and checksum files) in a safe location against a possible future audit:
    • IBM PVU License Consumption
    • IBM RVU License Consumption
    • IBM PVU Out-Of-Date Inventory
    • Unlicensed Installations (in Management views, under License Compliance in the Compliance group), filtered by Publisher = IBM.
  • Records substantiating any license consumption details that have been manually calculated and stored in FlexNet Manager Suite.
  • Records of outputs of any scripts or other tools that may have been used to gather license consumption details.
For IBM VPC licenses:
  • IBM Cloud Pak License Consumption Report (under License Compliance > Licenses) lists the product(s) licensed, their product conversion ratio (of VPCs to license entitlement), and the per-region peak consumption breakdown – this report should be archived for submission to IBM
  • IBM Cloud Pak License Current Consumption (in the same navigation group) lists the consumption results for the most recent license reconciliation calculation (at the date/time shown at Reconciled in the top right corner of the screen, but by default overnight each night).


When you have satisfied all prerequisites (as documented earlier in this topic), step through the configuration process outlined in IBM High-Frequency Scanning.

FlexNet Manager Suite (On-Premises)

2020 R2