Sub-Capacity Licensing Using IBM PVU

FlexNet Manager Suite 2019 R1 (On-Premises Edition)
You should understand the following before attempting settings in the IBM PVU scanning section of the Inventory Settings page: For an overview of normal operation of high-frequency subcapacity calculations for IBM PVU licenses in FlexNet Manager Suite, see the chapter Sub-Capacity Licensing with IBM PVU in the FlexNet Manager Suite 2019 R1 System Reference PDF, available 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 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 2019 R1.) 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 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 PVU scanning 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 and Hyper-V servers) for any changes affecting VMs running the software attached to an IBM PVU 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 'blacklist' 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 blacklisted 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 blacklist, 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 PVU 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 PVU 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 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 that cannot be edited:
    • Servers running VMware vCenter — 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). Note that the list of these servers is not presented in the web interface: its use is controlled through a check box described in IBM PVU Scanning. When the check box is selected, 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 PVU license. It is not possible to use alternative targets for this purpose; nor do you need to define a rule for this automated process. However, this hidden target is populated from the discovered device records, so you must ensure discovery of all relevant servers before the hidden target becomes effective.
      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.)
      Tip: IBM also allows that, in addition to VMware 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 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 PVU 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.
    • Computers running software attached to an IBM PVU license (a target called All devices consuming IBM PVU points) — 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 displayed in the targets page for discovery and inventory rules. It is available only in the Inventory settings page, and only when you have first selected Enable frequent hardware scanning for IBM PVU license calculations and clicked Save to store this option.
    • 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 (do not allow adoption on these devices).
      • A target for discovery and inventory of devices running software attached to an IBM PVU 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 PVU license set up is not yet complete. The system cannot use consumption against the missing IBM PVU 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 PVU 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 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).
  • 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 PVU licenses.

Related reports

Specialized reports to assist in managing IBM PVU 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 for IBM PVU licenses. 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:
  • 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 PVU scanning 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 PVU scanning 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.


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