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.