March 26th, 2021
If you use IBM Cognos or Planning Analytics you are subject to an IBM audit. You might not have realized when you purchased your Cognos you agreed to the terms of the IBM International Program Licensing Agreement.
You were agreeing to allow IBM to Audit your Cognos and Planning Analytics software usage. Last week we shared Six Things Every Cognos and Planning Analytics Client Needs to Know About IBM Audits. This week here are four more things every Cognos and Planning Analytics client needs to know about an IBM audit.
1. IBM requires many Cognos and Planning Analytics clients to order and install a tool to monitor core processing usage (ILMT Tool).
If you have Cognos Analytics or Planning Analytics in a virtualized environment and your licensing includes Processor Value Unit licensing (PVU) you will be required to install the IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT).
Over the years IBM changed their agreement and introduced the requirement to install their IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT). This happened when more clients moved to virtualized environments. And if you think about it, it makes sense. In a virtualized environment it is easy to allocate more cores to your environment to increase performance. Since the PVU licensing is by core, IBM needed a way to monitor the core usage to ensure people who had PVU licensing were not exceeding their licensing.
See our earlier blog ILMT Tool Questions and Answers for more details on the ILMT.
What’s the Penalty?
If you have virtualized your Cognos environment and are only using a fraction of the cores for your Cognos or Planning Analytics solutions, then you fall under IBM’s sub capacity rules. The IBM contract language states that if you do not install the ILMT then IBM reserves the right to charge you the full capacity of your environment. That can be HUGE!
Lodestar Solutions has seen well intending IT professionals increase the cores used for Cognos and Planning Analytics only to cause the organization to fail an IBM audit.
Candidly IBM did not do a good job of informing Cognos and Planning Analytic clients of this new requirement, but it the client’s responsibility to ensure they do not accidentally become out of compliance. Ignorance of the rules is not a defense.
How Do I Know If I Have the ILMT Installed?
Lack of having the ILMT tool installed is a primary cause of audit failure.
2. Upgrading Your Cognos or Planning Analytics environment could affect your Cognos licensing needs.
When you upgrade your Cognos or Planning Analytics environment it is recommended to put the new environment on new hardware. This could result in the PVU rating of your machines to increase from a 70 rated machine to a 100 PVU rated machine. (To see the latest machine ratings from IBM check out Processor Value Units)
If this happens you will need more PVU licensing to have the same number of cores assigned to our Cognos system.
Additionally, clients moving from older TM1 or BI versions to the latest may find that they need additional cores assigned to the new Cognos environment. Remember if you are on the PVU licensing and you allocate more core processing power, you will need to buy additional IBM Cognos licensing.
Lodestar Solutions fully appreciates how confusing the PVU licensing can be. Here is an earlier blog on What the Heck is an IBM Cognos PVU? Just know you don’t have to figure this out alone. Lodestar is here to help.
Email Services@lodestarsolutions.com and we would be happy to share our PVU calculation tool so that you can ensure you are not overusing and subject to failing an IBM audit.
3. Many clients are in an outdated licensing model which may result in paying more than you should for IBM support.
Over the years IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics licensing has changed many times. Some clients purchased their licensing many years ago but have not updated their licensing. As a result, they could be paying more than they should for their Cognos or Planning Analytics system.
Cognos Express Licensing
Lodestar Solutions has helped many clients that have smaller deployments under 100 users move into the Cognos Express and Planning Analytics Express licensing model which is designed for mid-market clients and smaller deployments. The Express licensing is the same software just a different licensing.
Moving Cognos Analytics clients from Authorized Users to Processor Value Unit Licensing
For other Cognos Analytics clients who had a lot of casual Cognos users and owned authorized user licensing, Lodestar moved them to a PVU licensing. The PVU licensing model for these clients saved the Cognos client significant support dollars and allowed them to add more users at no additional cost. Typically, this is an option to be explored when a Cognos Analytics client has over 500 Cognos authorized users.
Moving Planning Analytics clients from server plus user licensing to PA Advanced
The majority of IBM Planning Analytic clients are on a server plus user licensing model. This model does require PVU licensing for production and non-production along with individual user licenses. A few years back, IBM introduced a new license called the Planning Analytics Advanced licensing that has two flavors; PVU based, or Users based. This is a fabulous and more simplified licensing that Lodestar recommends all Planning Analytic clients evaluate. The best time to migrate your licenses is at renewal time.
If you want to discover what your licensing option are, Lodestar Solutions is here to help. Email us at Renewals@lodestarsolutions.com to set up a free Cognos licensing consultation.
4. Cognos clients cannot maintain support on a portion of the authorized users installed and in service. It is all or nothing.
Cognos and Planning Analytics clients that want to decrease their user counts can do so, but there may be a hidden penalty. If you are currently paying below IBM list price for your Cognos or Planning Analytics support, and you want to decrease your user counts, you may see a greater uplift on the ones you keep. This is because you are no longer qualifying for the same IBM volume discount.
The second thing to know is that if you decrease the number of users you are paying to support, you MUST delete the unsupported users from your system. You are not allowed to pay for support on a portion of your licenses and keep using all your original licenses.
For example: If you owned 2 Cognos Administrators and 100 Cognos Analytic users but at renewal time you wanted only to renew 1 Cognos Admin and 50 users, you must remove the 1 admin and 50 users you discontinued support on.
It’s important to know that if you have on-premise, perpetual licensing, it is an asset. And you have a legal right to use your Cognos licenses indefinitely without support. Although Lodestar does not advise that. However, IBM does not allow you to try to cheat the system and pay support only on a fraction of your licenses and use all the licenses originally purchased.
Lodestar’s recommendation is to always keep your Cognos and Planning Analytics users under IBM’s support and maintenance program. This ensures that if 3rd party software sends an update that breaks connections to your Cognos, you will be able to get the fix pack.
We realized our list of ten things every Cognos client needs to know about IBM audits may have just created more questions. Oh, if you missed the first 6 things you need to know about an IBM Audit, click here to see our earlier blog.
Lodestar Solutions is here to help you answer all your IBM Cognos and Planning Analytic licensing and IBM support questions. But you should also check out our recent webinar on How to Avoid Failing an IBM Analytics Audit. This is now available on our Lodestar Solutions YouTube channel. You might want to subscribe to our Lodestar Solutions YouTube Channel while you are there.
For your complimentary What the Heck Do I Own Cognos Consultation and to ask questions you may have, reach out to Sales@lodestarsolutions.com or call 813-415-2910. We are here to show you a better way.