Calculating PVU (Processor Value Unit) Cognos

Calculating PVU - How does this work?

IBM Cognos BI can be purchased as an authorized user or a Processor Value Unit (PVU) license.  Now we need to learn the ins and outs of Calculating PVU.

An Authorized User is a unique person given a login to IBM Cognos. Each Authorized User may have simultaneous access to any number of instances of the Program at one time (Test, Dev, Prod). An Authorized User license may not be shared nor may it be reassigned other than for the permanent transfer.

A BI PVU license is the server based license that grants access to unlimited number of users provided the system performance is acceptable. If too many users access the system, the client may want to add more cores and would need to purchase more PVU licenses. A Process Value Unit per core processor rating is assigned by IBM to specific hardware. The client purchases the PVU’s needed to license the number of core processors they will utilize. For example, if the hardware has a 70 per core PVU rating and the client is using 4 cores they must buy 280 PVUs of licenses.

PVUs are suitable for customers who do not want to count users for compliance or havea large casual community or extranet with the number of users unknown. BI PVU licensing requires the ILMT tool to be loaded if they are virtualizing their software pursuant to the IBM Passport Agreement/ Sub capacity terms.

When calculating the BI PVUs, you must count:

  • The Application tier (BI Server and Dynamic Cubes)
  • Web Server
  • The Gateway and content manager does not need to be counted.
Calculating PVU

If you have a mix of licenses, both PVU and Authorized user, you might consider leveraging the dispatcher and routing rules which is a topic for another blog. This will allow you to allocate work and allow your power users with authorized user licenses to use more core processors than your PVU users which saves you money.

If you update your hardware, it can lead to added cost if the PVU rating of the new processor is higher than the old processor. You can check the PVU Rating on the IBM website. To calculate your PVU in your specific environment, click THIS IBM LINK

You can also get more info on calculating PVU's by checking out this blog.

If you would like a review of your current license please contact or 813-415-2910.

What the Heck is an IBM Cognos PVU?

Can someone please explain what a PVU is?

PVU, what the heck is this?  A PVU (Processor Value Unit) is a unit of measure used by IBM to determine the usage on the server. Technically, a PVU license is assigned to the Analytic Server, meaning there is a cost per core processor. Simple enough right? Not so fast. The value assigned to each core depends on hardware. Not all core processors are treated alike. It’s kind of like being taxed a little higher for a luxury automobile, the better the performance the higher the tax. A server’s Processor Value Unit count is defined by the brand, model and number of physical processors running in the server and the number of core chips per processor. In order to calculate the number of Processor Value Units, it also is necessary to refer to IBM’s PVU-per-core ratings for current processor technologies, which are updated on IBM’s website here .

What is the PVU license for?

It represents the server license that grants access to the basic server functions through other related user roles.

Do I have to purchase PVU’s for the entire box?

If you want to oversize your hardware for growth you may end up facing a situation where your license cost for PVU’s is a lot more than you expected. To address this issue, IBM allows you to enter a “Sub-capacity” agreement. I highly recommend you check if you have this executed! A “sub-capacity” licensing gives IBM customers who use virtual-server technology the option to license IBM products based only on the PVUs made available to the licensed software, rather than on the total PVU count for that server. Therefore, entering a sub-capacity agreement can result in significantly reduced licensing costs. However, sub-capacity licensing also requires that IBM customers meet some requirements. See

TermsPVU vs. Authorized Users

On some IBM Cognos Licenses, you can purchase either PVU or Authorized User licenses. For example, Enhance Consumer can be purchase either way. Whereas other modules, like TM1, require an Analytic Server license that is Process Value Unit to function.  When you have a choice of Processor value unit or Authorized users for the same license, what’s the difference?The distinction is that when you purchase an Authorized User license, IBM doesn’t care how many core processors you have. They only care how many named users you have. Whereas the PVU model they don’t care how many users you have, they only care about the core processors and their PVU value. The bottom line is you need to have A LOT of users to cost justify the PVU model.

PVU’s and Non-Production Environments

Another important thing to note is when you have authorized users 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. So, no need for Non- Production environment licenses unless there are laws that require you to have it licensed, which is rare.  With PVU licenses, if the users are accessing a Test or a Dev environment, you will need to purchase separate Non-Production PVU licenses. Below is the link to the official licensing of IBM Cognos. You may want to study the Authorized user and Processor Value Unit sections.

To help figure out if you have the correct licensing model, please contact Lodestar Solutions. 813-415-2910

If you want to learn more about calculating PVU's then check out this blog by clicking here.