When do I need ILMT The IBM Licence Metric Tool

When Am I Obliged to Install ILMT IBM Licence Metric Tool

When Am I Obliged to Install ILMT IBM Licence Metric Tool

When do I need ILMT, the IBM Licence Metric Tool?

Most web sites relating to ILMT will try a lengthy explanation when you do need to use it and maybe an even more complicated list when you don’t. Many consultants say that you only need to use ILMT if you purchased IBM Passport Advantage Agreement Software with sub-capacity pricing (meaning for less than the full server capacity the Software is deployed on).

Fisher Australia says: You always do – If you have purchased or acquired any IBM software with an International Passport Advantage Agreement (PAA). Want to know why but you don’t want to read the long explanations here and instead talk to a real person? We are happy to meet and explain. Just contact us.

For all others, the following is the author’s interpretation and advise on the ILMT situation. This explanation is of general nature and cannot replace an IBM license expert and specific to your organisation’s situation consultation. It cannot provide any guarantees. The author and Fisher Australia will not accept any responsibility for your specific license compliance situation when you take action based on this blog. We like to share our experience and hope to help you maintaining a healthy software estate and vendor relationship.

Back to the exception rules for ILMT. Aren’t there a lot of exception rules which when applied release me of ILMT duties?
Indeed, there are.

But first, what is ILMT and what does it do?

IBMs proprietary software license discovery and management tool is called IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT). It is a non-chargable software application that gathers software and hardware information from agents in your infrastructure and measures processor value units (PVUs) and resource value units (RVUs) that are consumed by each product.

ILMT helps you maintain an inventory of the full and sub-capacity PVU/RVU based software deployed in your environment, and measures the PVU/RVU licenses required by these software products. It is intended to support you in managing your IBM software licensing requirements, and maintaining an audit ready position.

ILMT runs as a limited version of IBM BigFix Inventory which is a chargeable product. As an IBM customer you are responsible for providing the hardware and services required for installing and maintaining the tool. Consider the additional costs when buying and deploying any IBM Software (such as the HW with at least 4 cores, an operating system, network components, setup and configuration costs, as well as regular maintenance). You will have to install IBM Bigfix and deactivate certain modules in order to enable ILMT unless you purchased IBM Bigfix licenses. Additional complexity can be expected if ILMT Server and/or the environments to be monitored are in a virtualised or cloud environment, or make use of dynamic resource allocation or mobility such as partition mobility and VMotion.

So, why do I need it?
To manage your IBM software licensing. Well, to be audit ready, really.

How does ILMT make me audit ready?
This is what IBM says: “ILMT reports must be prepared at least once per quarter. Failure to generate Reports or provide Reports to IBM will cause charging under full capacity for the total number of physical processor cores activated and available for use on the server. Client will assign a person in Client’s organization with authority to manage and promptly resolve questions on Audit Reports or inconsistencies between report contents, license entitlement, or ILMT configuration; and promptly place an order with IBM or Client’s IBM reseller if reports reflect EP use over Client’s authorized level. IBM Software Subscription and Support and Selected Support coverage will be charged as of the date Client exceeded Client’s authorized level.”

Since resource allocations could be changed more often and ad-hoc, and one has little time to adjust and rerun the reports after purchasing additional resources or reducing resource allocations, it is highly recommended to run reports monthly, or even weekly. This will allow ample time to investigate discrepancies and take actions.

What about the exceptions?
A customer who meets the following criteria may not need ILMT:

  • When your organisation has less than 1,000 employees and contractors AND you have not contracted a Service Provider to manage the environment in which the eligible products are deployed.
    Note, the 1000 refers to your total number of employees AND contractors, not just those using IBM technology.
  • When your servers are licensed to full capacity.
  • When you have less than 1,000 PVUs total physical capacity of your servers within your global enterprise – if you use sub-capacity licensing for any IBM software.
  • When ILMT does not yet provide support for the eligible sub-capacity product or your virtualization technology is not supported by ILMT.
    However, you would be required to use ILMT within 90 days of a product or a virtualization technology becoming eligible.
  • If you use an alternative Software Asset Management tool approved by IBM.

For all instances where ILMT is not required and for all non-PVU based licenses, you are required to manually manage and track your licenses as described in IBM’s Compliance Verification requirements in the PAA or use an alternative IBM accepted SAM tool. It does not release you from maintaining documentation as evidence of on-going license compliance management of PVU/RVU capacity available to IBM software. You have to make these reports available to IBM on request by IBM.

What is IBM’s Compliance Verification?
IBM states in the PAA: “Client will i) maintain, and provide upon request, records and system tools output, and access to Client’s premises, as reasonably necessary for IBM and its independent auditor to verify Client’s compliance with this Agreement, including Machine Code and Program licenses and metrics, such as sub-capacity usage, and ii) promptly order any required entitlements and pay additional charges at IBM’s then current rates, (including uses in excess of Client’s authorizations or entitlements, and associated IBM Subscription and Support and Selected Support), and other liabilities determined as a result of such verification. These compliance verification obligations remain in effect during the term of this Agreement and for two years thereafter. Client is responsible for retaining adequate records. If Client’s records are inadequate to determine IBM Subscription and Support or Selected Support charges, IBM’s charges for any excess usage will include two years of associated maintenance and IBM Subscription and Support or Selected Support.”

Is your head spinning? Remember the start, when we said, you always need ILMT if you have IBM PAA software? This is why. Yes, there are exceptions, but the reporting requirements are so tedious, work intensive and time consuming (and you need to know where you kept the information even up to 2 years later) and the audit risk is of such nature that you are better off using ILMT anyway and make use of its side benefits.

If you want to use an alternative Software Asset Management tool be aware:

At the time of writing this post, only Flexera FNMS was acknowledged by IBM as a potential replacement of ILMT for compliance reporting. You do need to contact IBM in writing providing a reason and your plan what to use instead of ILMT to ensure reporting. IBM will reserve the right to accept or decline your proposed alternative depending on each individual circumstance. Fisher Australia can assist with the exception application if you have or plan to use Flexera FNMS, just contact us.


Many consultants say that you only need to use ILMT if you purchased IBM PAA Software with sub-capacity pricing (meaning for less than the full server capacity the Software is deployed on) and you have more than 1000 employees.

Fisher Australia recommends to always use ILMT if you do not have another IBM accepted Software Asset Management tool (like Flexera FNMS) already with monthly reporting on your IBM license situation.

This will not only make it easier to manage your IBM software licenses, it will also:

  • help identifying savings
  • give you early warnings when you might be out of compliance
  • alert you when it is time to prepare for renewal activities
  • give you confidence in your license situation and future contract negotiations
  • most importantly: prepare you for the IBM audit

If you believe that excellent vendor relationships or a small vendor software stack will protect you from audits, read our blog on vampire audits and be assured you were not the first one to believe it and not the last one who regretted to have believed it.

Last but not least:

If you are a Service Provider, you must use ILMT. IBM defines a Service Provider as “an entity that provides information technology services for end user customers, either directly or through a re-seller.” If you use a Service Provider, please, make them aware and demand regular ILMT reports on your IBM license situation.

Fisher Australia understands the complexities of IBM’s licence metrics and can advise you on the best course of action to ensure you have proper governance of your software estate and meet your obligations in order to use IBM software products. We assist organisations with all the steps required to meet your compliance obligations. We offer:

  • ILMT-as-a-service cloud offer – a confidential and fully managed service in our Australian cloud making reporting and compliance assurance simple and quick for you. See our ILMT as a service blog
  • Analysing your environment – baselining
  • Proposing alternative methods to meet reporting requirements
  • Identifying risks and proposing mitigation strategies based on your current reporting and licensing situation
  • Installing and configuring ILMT and BigFix
  • Assisting and supporting with regular updates and maintenance of ILMT and BigFix
  • Generating the required reports within your ILMT environment according to IBM requirements on a regular basis
  • Assisting you with the necessary information in order to respond to an audit or baseline review by IBM



For independent advice and a complimentary initial assessment of your ILMT situation and your existing software estate please email us at contact@fisheraust.com or call us at:

Melbourne: +61 3 9036 9960  |   Sydney +61 2 9045 8804

IBM License Metric Tool is property of IBM. © Copyright IBM Corp. 2002, 2011.
IBM, the IBM logo, and ibm.com are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corp.

The content of this site represents Fisher Australia’s interpretations and does not represent any guarantees nor warranties on your IBM Software environment licensing.


  1. Michael says:

    Truly quite a lot of beneficial info!

  2. Michael says:

    Nicely put. Many thanks!

  3. Alldaychemist says:

    Keep up the good work!