Vendor results can be a telling indicator of what might lie ahead
We regularly connect with the ITAM Review as a reliable source of information in the software domain and of interest this month is a comprehensive report from Rich Gibbons on the financial performance of some key software vendors - from the $5.6B loss of Google Cloud to the 29% rise in operating income (Q2) of Microsoft.
You'll find the full report here.
In summary ...
Some marked differences in performance - particularly in the cloud space, with a watch and ready advice for some of the poorer performers - we all know where they head when times are tight ...
An innocuous Announcement Letter may be more telling than it seems ...
While discounts will remain for hybrid and cloud platforms, as of 1st July these will no longer apply to your on-premise installations. With statements such as:
"where we will continue to focus our investment and innovation"
"it is recommended that your company evaluate and plan a transition to the equivalent, cloud- and/or hybrid cloud-based offering"
The message seems pretty clear that the future as IBM sees it is all in the Cloud, certainly if you're looking for discounts on your next purchase of PA software. It will be interesting to see what might follow in IBM's plans to further 'encourage' cloud migration, and how others might adopt similar strategies.
All might not be as it seems - check this list of ILMT gotcha's
Here are out top five tips for trimming your PVU sub-capacity report counts:
1. Incomplete Vitualisation - the 'TVM' predicament
If your ILMT configuration is not fully or properly implemented you're likely to find incomplete virtualisation heirarchies in your VM Manager connections, which result in every affected VM being treated as a stand-alone physical machine at the highest PVU rating of 120 PVUs per core). This can quickly add up where you might otherwise be entitled to the likes of 70 PVUs per core.
2. Missing Software Classifications
Central to the accuracy of ILMT reporting is the much dreaded 'Software Classification' process. If you choose to ignore this painstaking requirement you can be sure you'll pay the price either in real terms or in time-draining dispute at your next audit. Essentially, every exempt PVU count in your environment needs to be catagorised as such, meaning instances that are to be excluded from PVU counts (which depending on the License Terms are likely Developer, DR, or Test installs) need to be individually identified as such via this (ongoing) activity.
3. Unrecognised Bundling
As a follow-on to the Software Classification issue above, you'll then likely notice that where you have installed Supporting Programs on a different server - where entitled to do so under the License Terms - the program will magically form part of the PVU count, ie. bundling is not recognised across servers. So once again you'll need to identify these instances and exclude them from the relevant count, making sure you add comments to qualify the classification.
4. Reallocation High-Water Marks
So you dutifully maintain your vCPU's to your level of entitlement, which, as you're permitted to do, includes the occasional reallocation across servers to match processing and performance needs. Given you've balanced the core counts out all is good - right? Well ... no, ILMT will track the high-water mark for each server in the 90-day reporting period, so for example a taking a core from a 4 vCPU server to assign to a 3 vCPU server will see both reporting as 4 vCPU servers for that period.
To be in a position to challenge this make sure you have or take - and keep - separate records that evidence the reassignment of cores to negate any double counting.
5. Ghost Decommissioning
Similar to the above, you might think that decommissioning one server to deploy another would be quite within your rights as long as you (as always) don't exceed your level of entitlements. Well ... no, the decommissioned server will also report within the same 90-day period as the new server - potentially a bigger problem than the issue with high-water marks. So again you'll need to either classify the server accordingly, or ensure you have the right artefacts to contest any double recognition, or both.
... a lot of overhead right?
And that's where a secondary source of truth can prove essential ...
IBM Announces its new "Authorised SAM Provider" Offering (IASP)
While it appears the disgruntled messaging from clients is finally starting to register with some major vendors, a recent announcement from IBM (outlined here by the ITAM Review) by no means makes it an all clear.
We're all for any move to make software licensing compliance simpler, and the IASP program for some large IBM customers might just do that - although by invitation only and accomplished by engaging one of just four designated IBM partners:
OKAY, SO WHAT's THE OBJECTIVE?
In a nutshell, to offer those select few an alternative to IBM's License Reviews by operating a managed service that brings SAM expertise, tools, and knowledge to organisations who are perhaps struggling with those skills themselves - which happens to be exactly what we at Software Compliance have been offering our valued clients since 2016!
HOW ABOUT the APPROACH?
Once invited, an organisation selects an authorised partner who will then - through a defined scope of paid work - follow the standard licensing compliance process to create a baseline (using ILMT), perform an initial reconciliation, resolve any issues, and implement an ongoing management and control program, all done under an IASP Agreement that must be executed with IBM (covering a term of up to 3 years).
... And THE Benefits?
The major attraction is that any licensing shortfalls discovered in the initial baseline can be resolved at the customers entitled price without any back-dating of S&S - and - an apparent waiver of any sub-capacity issues (tbc).
... and we all know how problematic (ie. costly) issues in this space can be!
On the surface perhaps an admirable new direction from IBM, but does it really differ to how customers operating under the likes of an Enterprise Services & Software Offering (ESSO) have been treated for the last 10+ years? We think not - baselines were created, shortfalls resolved (albeit perhaps not as transparently), regular reporting was mandatory, etc ... so the only difference seems to be that the customer is required to engage one of just four designated partners.
Contact Us ... (before your Vendors do)
Could the Change to IBM's PVU Core Table Signal a Refreshing SHIFT in Sub-Capacity Licensing?
While some vendors prefer to wallow in the mire of antiquated and irrelevant licensing regimes others seem to be moving ahead with revised models that provide clarity and ease in establishing your licensing and compliance position.
A case in point - IBM - who flagged a rethink with a shift from the messy PVU to Virtual Processor Core metrics (example in the hyperlink).
Starting April this year the x86 PVU Table has been culled down to just 6 entries with the Intel category now much simplified for the Xeon chipset, basically all determined by the number of sockets at 2, 4, and >4 (with the lower models in the listed ranges remaining at 50 PVU's):
There is however one complication - Symmetric Multiprocessing Servers - which you need to factor per definition below:
The PVU requirement for the Intel processor technology indicated is dependent on the maximum number of sockets on the server. If sockets on two or more servers are connected to form a Symmetric Multiprocessing (SMP) Server, the maximum number of sockets per server increases. Example:
Good news from our perspective - anything that removes ambiguity is welcomed (with reference to the linked post at the start of this blog: "oh but you have to count the Physical cores, not virtual, on the Host, in fact all Hosts in the complex, actually in the Data Center, well let's say the Cloud then, so basically ...
... everything, everywhere")
Extended Support for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will end on July 9, 2019.