Operation in High-Frequency Mode

FlexNet Manager Suite 2022 R1 (On-Premises)

Later topics give details about how to set up high-frequency inventory checking and peak consumption calculations for IBM PVU and IBM VPC licenses, allowing you to use FlexNet Manager Suite to calculate sub-capacity license consumption.

Before starting on those details, here is an outline of the normal operation of this process, starting from when set-up is completed. This overview helps you understand the set-up steps in the following topics. The overview starts with the time of transition, and continues into the period when you are operating in full high-frequency mode.

  1. As part of your preparation, you have deployed the FlexNet inventory agent to all target inventory devices where sub-capacity licensing applies. To get matching results from the two inventory systems, you need matching coverage with the two separate agents (at least during transition).
    Remember: The FlexNet inventory agent must also be installed on the host for Hyper-V and in the global zone for Solaris zones.
  2. When you enable the high-frequency facility (as will be described in Turn on High-Frequency Mode), you choose one or more targets that identify the inventory devices running software attached to IBM sub-capacity licenses. In normal operation, you require only one target, since this target is automatically maintained to include all devices known to be running this software.
  3. As the facility is enabled, the device policy is updated for all those devices within your chosen target(s), and downloaded to all inventory beacons (technically, the setting IBMPVUEnableScanning=true is added to the BeaconSettings.xml file, which embodies the change to inventory beacon policy). By default, the inventory beacons are updated every 15 minutes, an interval you can modify in the Beacon settings section of the Inventory Settings page (Discovery & Inventory > Settings).
  4. As each installed FlexNet inventory agent requests its latest policy, each inventory beacon updates any instances from which a request was received (that is, policy updates are not restricted by the subnets assigned to each inventory beacon).
  5. This policy update triggers the installed FlexNet inventory agent to check for changes to the hardware configuration on the device where it is installed, and to report any changes in a hardware inventory file uploaded on the schedule you selected (the IBM requirement is every 30 minutes).
    • By default, an inventory file is uploaded only when there is a change in a relevant hardware property.
    • Each device also has a blocklist of hardware properties for which changes do not trigger an inventory upload. If need be, you can customize the list of ignored hardware changes (provided that you do not conflict with your amended license from IBM). For details, see Advanced Agent Configuration.
    • If there is changed hardware, but a transient failure causes the resulting inventory upload to fail, the archived inventory file (.ndi.gz) is stored locally on the inventory device. Further hardware changes in the same day overwrite this stored data with the latest inventory; but more typically, every 30 minute check finds no further hardware change, and the stored inventory archive persists until the uploader component (ndupload) of the FlexNet inventory agent attempts a scheduled catch-up overnight.
      Note: The uploaded data is time-stamped at the date and time it is resolved into the inventory database, not at the time the inventory was collected on the target inventory device. Network up-time is a valuable asset in this mode.
    • On Hyper-V hosts and Solaris global zones, the locally-installed FlexNet inventory agent uploads details of the guest VMs managed by the host.
  6. The uploaded hardware inventory data travels up through the hierarchy of inventory beacons to the central application server, where it is immediately resolved into the inventory database.
  7. On the same high-frequency schedule, appropriate inventory beacons remotely access your VMware virtualization hosts, and check for any changes to VM hosting. Any relevant inventory is also uploaded to the application server and resolved into the inventory database. (This inventory rule uses a separate, hidden, and automatically-maintained target of all relevant VM hosts identified from the All Discovered Devices listing.)
  8. Once per day, the full license reconciliation process is performed:
    1. Software data and hardware data from all inventory sources are imported and merged. For accurate merging, it is critical in this mode that FlexNet inventory is registered as the primary data source.
    2. The optimal assignments of software installations to available licenses are calculated, linking the inventory device for each installation to the appropriate license.
      Note: In the special case of IBM PVU or IBM VPC licenses, the availability of unused entitlements (or excess purchases) does not affect the assessment of a target license to which to link a device. Other remaining factors which do affect the linking of inventory devices to licenses include:
      • Any enterprise group restrictions on the license and inventory device
      • The availability of hardware details (such as core counts) required to calculate consumption for the inventory device
      • Whether or not the inventory device is hosted offsite by a cloud service provider – for an instance hosted in a cloud service provider, the core count is typically replaced by the vCPU count (thread count) assigned to the instance, where the vCPU count is available.
      When all appropriate factors are considered, the link between a device and a license is made, and the choice of license may (or may not) affect the outcome of the regional peak consumption.
    3. For every inventory device now linked to an IBM sub-capacity license, the FlexNet process now calculates two consumption figures:
      • The current full capacity consumption by that device for the license
      • The current sub-capacity consumption for the device. (For stand-alone physical devices that are not eligible for sub-capacity calculations, this is a duplicate of their full capacity figure.)
      Tip: For individual devices that are not known to be Eligible for sub-capacity (so that this column in the Consumption tab on the license properties is either blank or displays No), you can manually enter an Overridden consumption figure. (Best practice is that you then document your reasons for this highly unusual behavior in either or both of the license properties and the inventory device properties.) If you have done this, the overridden figure is always used, regardless of any of the following logic.
    4. Consumption is then summed, taking into account the settings in the license properties sheet, on the Use rights & rules tab, in the Rights on virtual machines and hosts area:
      • If the radio button Always use full capacity license calculations is selected, the full capacity consumption figure is used for every inventory device.
      • If the radio button Use sub-capacity license calculations where available is selected, for every device where inventory was collected by the full (and up-to-date) FlexNet inventory agent locally installed, the sub-capacity consumption is included in the summing process. (If, as required, the inventory device has been assigned to a location which is a child of one of the mandatory IBM regions, its sub-capacity consumption is added into its region's subtotal.)
        Tip: If you are using a custom points rule, and that custom rule includes fractions of points (such as "15.25 points per core" for a particular host type), be aware that the fractional results of consumption on all servers are maintained throughout this summing process. Ultimately, rounding up is applied only to the final regional total, where it may be reported to IBM. For example, in an IBM region with just two VMs running software under a PVU license, and using 2 cores (30.5 points) and 5 cores (76.25 points), the regional total is 106.75 points, which is then rounded up to 107 points for the regional report. This is just less than would be the case if rounding were applied to the individual devices (108 points).
        If the inventory device is not yet assigned to an appropriate location, its consumption is included in Devices not assigned to any region, and you should correct its location assignment as soon as practical, and certainly before submitting any report to IBM. In this mode, for inventory devices found in any source other than FlexNet inventory agent, the decision rests on the additional check box:
        • If Allow sub-capacity licensing for sources other than FlexNet Manager Suite is clear (not selected), the figure used for inventory devices from other (non-approved) inventory sources is their current full capacity number.
        • If Allow sub-capacity licensing for sources other than FlexNet Manager Suite is selected (checked, or ticked), the figure used for each inventory device linked to this license is its current sub-capacity number.
          Important: Use this setting with care. It is not normally an option approved by IBM. If you have due cause and approval for this setting, be sure to archive written justification that can be provided in an audit. Also be aware that historical inventory is maintained only for inventory collected by the locally-installed FlexNet inventory agent. Therefore, for these other inventory sources, only the figure from the most recent license compliance calculation (whether sub-capacity or full capacity) is available, and used. Normal practice is to ensure that the Allow sub-capacity licensing for sources other than FlexNet Manager Suite is clear (not selected).
    5. The sum of consumption across devices for the license becomes the current Raw consumption figure.
    6. The 30-minute-interval calculations of sub-capacity points consumption are re-evaluated for the entire data retention period, taking into account all the latest retroactive data corrections.
      Data corrections that are retroactive include:
      • Ownership of devices by locations
      • Mapping of locations to one of the three mandatory IBM regions.
      • License allocations
      • Changed inventory device exemptions (for example, correctly identifying testing servers)
      • Manual overrides on inventory-reported core counts (edited on the Hardware tab of the inventory device properties)
        Tip: These hardware overrides are retroactive and permanent (until manually changed). However, in the absence of manual overrides, a change in raw incoming inventory data is not retroactive, but takes effect only from the inventory date when it was recorded. This is because the historical, time-based data for PVU consumption calculations includes processor/core changes (as well as factors like virtual hierarchy changes). For example, suppose that:
        • Your reporting period starts on January 1
        • Inventory device A is then reporting 2 processors, each with 8 cores (total core count is 16)
        • On February 3, you populate two empty sockets with 2 more processors, each also with 8 cores (total core count is now 32)
        • The reporting period ends March 31.
        The peak consumption calculations for device A in this reporting period use 16 cores between January 1 and February 2 inclusive, and 32 cores between February 3 and March 31 inclusive. So changes in incoming inventory values are not retroactive, but take effect only from the dates when the changes occurred; and this contrasts with manual overrides of inventory values, which are retroactive and permanent.
      As a result of any such retroactive data corrections, this reassessment during the full compliance calculations may result in changes to the regional peak consumption values, or the dates on which they fall. Naturally, these adjusted values are also available in the appropriate reports, ready for you to produce as required for archiving and potentially presenting to IBM:
      • IBM PVU License Consumption
      • IBM Cloud Pak License Consumption.
    7. The Consumption tab of the license properties is updated with the current points consumed by each device; and the Compliance tab is updated with the peak results for the three IBM regions (and a fourth result for any consuming devices not yet owned by a location that is mapped to an IBM region — you should attend to these devices and locations as soon as possible, and certainly before archiving any reports for IBM). These regional peaks at their independent dates (and any unassigned peak) are added together to produce the global peak value for the IBM PVU or IBM VPC license in the reporting period, shown as Peak consumed in the Compliance tab.
      Tip: Because you are now in high frequency scanning mode, any imports from ILMT of consumed points for IBM PVU licenses that it has calculated are no longer used to calculate license consumption within FlexNet Manager Suite. However, while ILMT remains available as a secondary inventory source, the consumed points imported from ILMT are available for comparison in the ILMT and FlexNet Manager License Positions report (in the License Compliance, Compliance group when you are in Reports mode), which can compare the sub-capacity consumption calculated by ILMT with the current calculations by FlexNet Manager Suite for IBM PVU licenses. (Recall that there is no equivalent import of ILMT consumption results for IBM VPC sub-capacity licenses.)
      Note: When using high frequency scanning mode (so that FlexNet Manager Suite is the source of truth for sub-capacity PVU points calculations) and ILMT remains as a secondary inventory source, devices marked within ILMT as deleted are never imported. In the special case where:
      • A device has previously been imported, but only from ILMT, and therefore
      • There is a computer record for this device within FlexNet Manager Suite, and
      • The device is subsequently marked as deleted within ILMT, so that it is no longer included in future imports from this inventory source
      the device record within FlexNet Manager Suite is given the special status of Archived. A record with this status is used only for calculations of peak consumption in the current period. Typically, at the start of the next reporting period, the device is no longer relevant, and is automatically removed from FlexNet Manager Suite.
  9. For both IBM PVU and IBM VPC licenses, the value of Peak consumed is always reflected on the All Licenses page in the Consumed column, being the license metric of interest to IBM for these license types.
  10. As a business process, regularly check IBM PVU and IBM VPC licenses for any new devices in the Consumption list, and ensure that any applicable optimizations are applied promptly.
    For example, brand-new inventory devices can be identified in the Active Inventory page, by adding the Created column from the column chooser, and sorting or filtering for the date(s) of interest. You can then double-click the name of any new device to open its properties. Glancing at the Licenses tab shows whether the most recent reconciliation linked this inventory device to any license of License type IBM PVU or IBM VPC.
  11. On the dates configured for your reporting period roll-over (in System Settings > Licensing tab), the peak consumption calculations switch over to the new period (peak values are reported independently for each reporting period). On the first day of the new period, therefore, the current peak values (from the overnight compliance calculation) are also the period peak.
    Tip: Where a region's peak consumption value is sustained over multiple days, the date reported for the peak is the last day within this reporting period when the peak applied. Therefore if consumption has not yet fallen below the peak, the date shown is when the most recent compliance calculation was run (typically yesterday or today). If a region's consumption is steady-state, the peak date may continue to show today's date throughout the entire reporting cycle.
  12. At the end of each reporting period (typically a quarter, although IBM may sometimes require monthly reporting), access and archive each of the following reports or data views:
    • Reports > License Compliance > Licenses > IBM PVU License Consumption, and Reports > License Compliance > Licenses > IBM Cloud Pak License Consumption: Each lists the software covered by the appropriate IBM sub-capacity licenses, and the license consumption resulting from inventory imports. The dates for these reports default to the current reporting period, but at run-time, you can configure each report for the start and end dates of your choosing. Because FlexNet Manager Suite saves all the required historical data, and uses the current configuration to recalculate the daily peaks for the entire data retention period as part of each day's full compliance calculations, the peak consumption values are correctly reported for whatever period you choose for these reports.
    • Reports > Discovery and Inventory > Inventory > IBM PVU Overrides: Lists computers consuming from IBM PVU licenses where either the computer inventory has been manually modified, or the calculated consumption figure has been replaced with a manual override. As noted below, you may need documentary support for each change.
    • Reports > Discovery and Inventory > Inventory > IBM PVU Out-Of-Date Inventory: Lists computers with incorrectly configured FlexNet inventory agents, or those for which there has been no inventory gathered in the preceding time interval you select for the report.
    • Management > License Compliance > All Licenses, filtered by License type = IBM RVU: Lists consumption for RVU licenses, which may also be required as part of an audit of PVU licenses, to validate appropriate use of license types.
    • Management > License Compliance > Unlicensed Installations, filtered by Publisher = IBM: Lists installations of IBM software for which an applicable license has not been identified.
    Tip: Remember to safely archive your reports in case of a future audit. Do this shortly after you roll over to a new reporting period, archiving the reports for the period recently closed. This is because the default data retention period is twice your reporting cycle, meaning that you can always report on the previous reporting period; but using the default settings, you are not able to report on the period before last (that is, two periods ago). To limit database growth, historical records are automatically deleted during the full compliance calculation after they fall outside the data retention window. Once you have archived your reports, IBM requires that you preserve them for a minimum of two years.
    Further details about archiving materials for IBM are available in Reporting to IBM.

FlexNet Manager Suite (On-Premises)

2022 R1