What to know before IBM Audits Your IBM Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics Licenses.

IBM Audits
IBM Audits

Have you ever received a notice that IBM is auditing your IBM Cognos Analytics and/or Cognos Planning Analytics licensing?  Did you get a hot flash of adrenaline?  You know the oh sh*t moment?  Today, I’ll share some valuable information on what you should know before IBM audits your IBM Cognos Analytics (BI) and Planning Analytics (TM1) licenses.

Last week I was talking to a Business Intelligence (BI) Manager at a client.  This individual was relatively new to his company and within a month of taking the job he received a notice from IBM that they were auditing him. He was very frustrated because this was the third company that he had join and every time he received a notice of audit from IBM shortly after starting a new job.  I explained to him, he’s not being targeted, but IBM audits regularly, and it doesn’t matter how big or small your IBM Cognos deployment. Everyone who is a client, is subject to an audit.  And so are you!  

Cognos IBM Audits should not be a big deal if you understand the licensing and are compliant! 

Here’s what you should know before IBM Audits Your IBM Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics Licenses along with links to more detailed blogs on related topics.

What type of Licensing Do You have?

The two primary types of IBM Cognos licenses are Authorized Users and Processor Value unit.  Many Cognos Analytics (BI) clients have only authorized users licensing but some clients with a large number of users may have some users as authorized users like their administrator as well as some users as PVU (server) based licensing.  Whereas, Cognos Planning Analytics (TM1) is typically sold as a server + user licensing model where both PVU’s and authorized users are required. 

Authorized User Licensing

An authorized user is a unit of measure by which the Program can be licensed. An authorized user is a unique person who is given access to the Program. The Program may be installed on any number of computers or servers and each Authorized User may have simultaneous access to any number of instances of the Program at one time. Licensee must obtain separate, dedicated entitlements for each authorized ser given access to the Program in any manner directly or indirectly (for example: via a multiplexing program, device, or application server) through any means. An entitlement for an authorized user is unique to that authorized user and may not be shared, nor may it be reassigned other than for the permanent transfer of the Authorized User entitlement to another person.

For more license definitions see http://www-01.ibm.com/software/passportadvantage/about_software_licensing.html#types

In other words, every user needs to have their own license! This includes your consultants regardless if they are IBM Consultants, an IBM Partner like Lodestar, or an independent.  Yes, as partners we pay to have access to the software through our partnership, but it prohibits us from using our licenses in your environment.

More information you should know about the authorized user model


Processor Value Unit (PVU) Licensing

 A Processor Value Unit, PVU,  is a unit of measure used to differentiate licensing of software on distributed processor technologies (defined by Processor Vendor, Brand, Type and Model Number). Simply put, it is a calculation of power and speed that is translated to a licensing model and thus licensing cost.   For Cognos Analytics (BI) licenses that are PVU based have unlimited number of users provided you are experience good performance.  You can read more about IBM PVU by clicking this link to our blog https://lodestarsolutions.com/what-the-heck-is-an-ibm-cognos-pvu/or going to the IBM site at http://www-01.ibm.com/software/passportadvantage/pvu_licensing_for_customers.html#fullsubcap

Watch out for server upgrades if you have PVU licensing. 

A common situation for clients that fail an audit is that at some point in time they upgraded their servers to get better performance without ever thinking about the licensing ramifications.  Upgrading our servers may result in the server having a higher PVU rating and therefore requiring you to purchase additional IBM Cognos licensing. So, before you upgrade your servers always check if the PVU rating of your new servers is higher than your old and check how many cores you have allocated. 

How do I count my PVU’s for IBM Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics?

Before you are audited you want to make sure you know how many PVU’s you are using.  We recommend you review your PVU usage at least annually with your support renewal.  To calculate the PVU’s you look up the PVU rating of your server on IBM’s website and then multiply that buy the number of core processor you have allocated. In order to get the PVU rating of your server go to the IBM website here .

http://www-01.ibm.com/software/lotus/passportadvantage/pvu_licensing_for_customers.html But wait, if it could only be that easy. There are a couple of points you must note.
  1. If you don’t have the ILMT (IBM License Monitoring Tool) installed, IBM might determine you need licensing for the entire server, even if you virtualized it. (More on this later)
  2.  You need to know what servers to count to calculate the PVU.  We have another blog written on this topic with more details. https://lodestarsolutions.com/calculating-pvu-processor-value-unit-in-ibm-cognos/
I have a mixed environment consisting of authorized users and PVU. 

For some of you, you have a mixed environment of authorized users and PVUs. For Cognos Planning Analytics this is almost always the case as the typical enterprise (not Express) licensing model for on premise software is server + authorized user.  But if you have BI licenses you may have what I call a creative environment.  Creative because someone that was trying to save as much money as possible may have decided that light weight users didn’t need as much processing power so they decide to have those users be under a PVU licensing model, maybe for the Information Distribution licenses.  Where as other users are authorized users so they can be routed to more powerful servers. This is accomplished by leveraging dispatchers. .  We have another blog written on this topic with more details.


THE Big Gotcha for many clients facing IBM Audits is not having the ILMT Tool installed. 

The IBM Licensing Monitoring Tool, ILMT is typically required for enterprise clients that have virtualized their environment and have IBM Cognos Analytics BI PVU licensing or Cognos Planning Analytics (TM1). The IBM License Metric Tool [ILMT] helps maintain an inventory of the PVU based software deployed for your Full Capacity or Virtualization (Sub-) Capacity environment and it measures the PVU licenses required by software. It is intended to help you manage your IBM software licensing requirements and help you be ready if you get audited. Customers are responsible for supplying hardware and installation services required for installing the tool. It is not part of the software download and not typically installed by IBM partners implementing BI or TM1. It’s up to you to know if you need it and get it installed.

Here’s a few links to other blogs on this topic.
Another common issue is not having licensing for non-production environments: 

Here the deal if you have PVU licensing and you have a non-production environment like test, dev, QA you most likely need to pay for licensing for your non-production environment too.  You do not need additional licensing if you are a authorized users licensing model without any PVU licensing.  Now there are a few exceptions and if you are wondering it they apply to you, just email us your configuration of licensing and we will let you know our thoughts. Email Services@lodestarsolutions.com

What if I suspect I have a licensing issue? 

If you suspect you may need more licensing your options are contingent on if you already received a notice of IBM Audits. 

  • If you have already received the notice, my advice is to clean up end former employees in your system and keep open lines of communication with the auditors.  IBM will not let you buy additional licenses at a discount from IBM or a partner before the audit is over to resolve an anticipated audit issue

Note IBM reserves the right to charge clients list price plus back support for any licenses they deem you are using beyond what you own.

  • If you have not received an notice of audit, call us at Lodestar Solutions 813-415-2910 or email Sales@lodestarsolutions.com We will help you understand where you stand and provide a plan to make sure you don’t have any licensing issues, while getting you the best price possible.
  • Are you in the optimal IBM Analytics licensing model?

    If your IBM licensing is complex and you have either a lot of Cognos Analytics (BI) users or if you have Cognos Planning Analytics (TM1) with a lot of PVUs and relatively small number of users or if you have a lot of users and a relatively small number of PVUs, there may be a more advantageous licensing model for you.  Let’s chat.  Email Sales@lodestarsolutions.com and get a free initial consultation. 

    A word of caution

    Don’t avoid the auditors. The more open you are with them, the better off you will be. If you are a jerk, they may be too. 

    The best way to avoid issues with IBM Audits

    Lodestar Solutions offers all of our clients a free annual review with your renewal.  In this review we will help you understand what the heck you own. Contact Lodestar for more details. 

    One more word of caution. 

    Don’t avoid the auditors. The more open you are with them, the better off you will be. If you are a jerk, they may be too. 

    Why have I never heard about the IBM ILMT Tool for Cognos BI or TM1?

    Old TM1 clients could fail an audit!

    You have been working with Cognos for years.  Recently a Lodestar Solutions team member called you and said, “I am concerned that you may have an IBM compliance issue and would fail an audit.”  You then learn that maybe you should have had the IBM Licensing Monitoring Tool (ILMT) installed.  However, you are wondering,” Why have I never heard about the IBM ILMT Tool for Cognos BI or TM1?”

    You are not alone!  Many clients call me saying they found my blogs on licensing and are confused.  Today I’ll address why you have never heard about the IBM ILMT Tool for Cognos BI or Cognos Planning Analytics, TM1 and what steps you should take before you get audited.

    Am I really at risk?  I am not using more PVU’s then I have licensing for what will IBM do if I am audited and don’t have the ILMT installed? 

    They could determine that you are non-complaint and fail the audit even if you aren’t using more PVU’s than you have.  That is because the sub-capacity agreement states if you don’t install it, IBM can assume you are using the full capacity of the servers.  You could be forced to pay for PVU’s to cover the entire server.  For example, you have 8 cores on your virtualized server and allocate 4 cores to Planning Analytics (TM1).  The server is rated 70 PVU’s per core.  Even though you have only allocated 4 cores * 70 PVUs per cores so 280 PVUs to TM1.  IBM could charge you for another 280 cores if you don’t have the ILMT tool installed, because the server could max out to 8 cores.   Also, even if you only allocated 4 cores, you could fail the audit just for not having the ILMT tool installed.

    Who needs to install the ILMT for Cognos Analytics (BI) and/or Cognos Planning Analytics?

    All clients that have Processor Value Unit (PVU) licensing.  This includes most Enterprise Planning Analytic/TM1 users and larger Cognos BI clients that have virtualized their environment must install the ILMT tools with a few exceptions.  

    Not sure what a PVU is?

    Check out our previous blog How to Calculate Your PVU Rating.

    What is the ILMT Tool?

    IBM® License Metric Tool (ILMT) helps IBM Passport Advantage® (PA) customers determine their full and sub-capacity processor value units (PVU) licensing requirements. It helps calculate the number of PVUs available to installed Passport Advantage PVU-based software, including supported virtualized servers. Passport Advantage and Passport Advantage Express customers can order this tool at no charge by selecting the IBM License Metric Tool, part number D561HLL.

    How did I miss the ILMT tool?

    The ILMT is NOT provided as part of the standard download with the software, as a client you must order this separately at no cost. Clients are only informed of the ILMT tool requirements if they read the fine print of the sub capacity agreement or someone explains how important it is.  If you are an older TM1 or Cognos BI client, this was amended to your agreement in July 2011.

    Let’s be real, most IT professionals responsible for installing and maintaining the software do NOT read the fine print of IBM contracts, their lawyers do.  Lawyers would have no clue that the IT person does not know about the ILMT tools because logic would say it should be part of the install package.

    For your reading pleasure here’s the link to the Sub Capacity Licensing Agreement. 

    Also, you might want to check out IBM’s FAQ on Subcapacity Agreement for more information.

    How Do I order the ILMT Tool form IBM?

    1. Contact Sales@lodestarsolutions.com and we can place the order for you.  It’s free.
    2. Click here to chat with IBM, or contact the Help Desk at 1-800-IBM-Serv.  
    3. Order online through Passport Advantage so you don’t have to issue a zero dollar PO. Here’s a Guide on How to Order the ILMT

    What are the exceptions?  Do I really need to install this?

    There are some exceptions such as if a client is less than 1000 employees and contractors, they are not required to install it.  But do you really know how many contractors you have?  And how do you count a contractor?  Is it all the contractor’s employees? (IBM we would love to hear from you on this). 

    For more details on exceptions see our previous blog

    What does it take to install the ILMT Tool?

    It’s not as easy as it should be in my opinion.  The ILMT tool costs about 30K to have a partner like Lodestar Solutions install it.  I am not sure what IBM charges but speculate it’s higher.  It’s important to know, the ILMT tool requires a separate server too.

    Why didn’t IBM sales rep or partner tell me about this?

    If you have been reading my blogs, you will see I have been trying to get the word out!  But candidly, IBM Sales reps and partners do not tell clients about the ILMT tool or associated costs in the sales process, as most have no clue what it is or why it’s important.  You need to be an educated consumer!

    My Soap Box

    Here’s where I know I am going to get in trouble!  But sometimes you must break the rules to make things better, to instigate change! 

    In my opinion, IBM is setting their IBM Cognos Planning Analytics and Cognos Analytics clients that are on PVU licensing up for failure!  The current process is broken.  As an attorney I feel, IBM fails to adequately disclose or make it easy for clients to adhere to the terms of a somewhat confusing contract. IBM you are better than this!  IBM auditors can penalize clients that are not intentionally stealing licensing, but those that simply failed to install the ILMT monitoring tool. 

    One client that did not install the ILMT but was not using too many PVUS was told by the auditors, that IBM was going to charge them over $78,000 to quote “settle” the audit but they would allow the client to apply the payment to purchasing other IBM products not related to the audit.  However, they were not allowed to purchase the additional licenses from a partner. They were forced to buy direct from IBM.  

    This confuses me.  If a client “failed” the audit shouldn’t they be required to purchase the licenses they were out of compliance on?  But since in this situation, they were only out of compliance with the ILMT which is free and not any other licenses, IBM said they could by other software.  Luckily for the client they were growing their BI footprint and could buy BI licenses, not so lucky for the partner they were working with in the process because IBM would not allow them to buy from the partner, helping them succeed at business intelligence.Enter your text here...

    Next Steps:

    Contact us at Services@Lodestarsolutions.com and we can walk you through your specific situation.  We will also provide you with our document on how to calculate your PVUs.  We are here to help and show you a better way!

    Do I Need the ILMT Tool for My Cognos and How Do I Install the ILMT Tool?


    I have received a number of calls from Lodestar Solutions blog readers asking “How do I install the ILMT Tool?” And “Do I need the ILMT Tool for my Cognos environment?”

    The answer is it depends. (You love that answer, don’t you?)

    ILMT Tool for My Cognos
    What is the ILMT Tool?

    ILMT is typically required if you have virtualized your environment and have IBM Cognos BI PVU licensing or Cognos Performance Management (TM1). The IBM License Metric Tool [ILMT] helps you maintain an inventory of the PVU based software deployed for your Full Capacity or Virtualization (Sub-) Capacity environment and it measures the PVU licenses required by software. It is intended to help you manage your IBM software licensing requirements and help you be ready if you get audited. Customers are responsible for supplying hardware and installation services required for installing the tool. It is not part of the software download and not typically installed by IBM partners implementing BI or TM1. It’s up to you to know if you need it and get it installed.

    Do I Need the ILMT Tool for my Cognos Analytics/ Cognos BI environment?

    If you own Cognos Analytics (C11), Cognos BI and your licenses in PVU based, not authorized use, and you have virtualized your server the answer is probably YES! The main exception is if you have under 1000 employees and subcontracts. For more “out” clauses see my blog https://lodestarsolutions.com/ibm-ilmt-do-i-need-to-install-for-cognos-bi-tm1-or-express-environment/

    Do I Need the ILMT Tool for my Cognos Planning Analytics/Cognos TM1 I environment?

    If you own Cognos Planning analytics, Cognos Tm1 you are required to have a server license that is PVU along with the Authorized User license. Therefore, if you virtualize your environment and do not use the entire capacity of the box, you need the ILMT Tool. The main exception is if you have under 1000 employees and subcontracts. For more “out” clauses see my blog https://lodestarsolutions.com/ibm-ilmt-do-i-need-to-install-for-cognos-bi-tm1-or-express-environment/. Another exception could be if you purchased the Planning Analytics (TM1) license called the IBM Performance Management Advanced License and bought unlimited PVUs. For more information on this contact us at sales@lodestarsolutions.com

    How do I tell if I have ILMT Installed?

    The fastest way to tell is to look at your entitlements or annual support bill. If you have Planning Analytic Server for TM1 or BI PVU licenses, you should see the ILMT tool as a line item on your entitlements or bill. It’s free. If you don’t see it, you probably never downloaded it so, probably not installed. If you see it on the bill the next step is to ask around where it’s installed. Some people downloaded it and never installed it.

    Support Renewal Time - Check for ILMT

    If you have an IBM support renewal coming up, it is a great time to check the requirements of having the IBM License Monitoring Tool (ILMT) installed to pass an IBM audit. As a Business Analytics Coach at Lodestar Solutions, I find clients often don’t know they are required to have the ILMT installed. Questions on your support bill? Email us at renewals@lodestarsolutions.com

    How do I install the ILMT Tool?

    Well this is where I confess I have never done it myself but I hear it is a bigger undertaking than you would expect.

    Here’s a link to IBM’s instructions.

    Step-by-step installation of ILMT on Windows 2008 R2 Server

    But wait, IBM has a YouTube channel to show you how in to install the ILMT Tool.

    Installing ILMT 9.2 on Windows - Part 1/5 - Installing MS SQL Server YouTube Video

    You will notice a lot of videos on this topic. But even with all this support, many people find this challenging.

    Consultants Can Install ILMT!

    Have no fear, if you know you need to install the ILMT and don’t have time, resources, or just don’t want to do it, we can help! Lodestar Solutions provides ILMT installation consulting. For more information email, us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com.