A Comprehensive Guide to IBM Licensing by Server Status (Production and Non-Production)

Guide to IBM Licensing by Server Status (Production and Non-Production)

In the realm of IBM licensing, the status assigned to a server—whether it’s designated as production or non-production—can significantly influence license requirements. Understanding these distinctions is crucial to ensure compliance, reducing license costs and avoid potential penalties during audits. Below is a comprehensive guide that sheds light on how server status impacts IBM license requirements.

Production (Full) IBM License Required by Default

By default, IBM assumes that servers are designated as production. This means that full “regular” licenses are required for all IBM products deployed on these servers.

While the quantity of licenses may vary based on the license metric and eligibility for sup-capacity licensing, the type of license required will always be production. It’s essential to note that proving a server’s status as non-production requires explicit evidence, otherwise, regular (aka production) licenses are necessary.

Production or Non-Production Server, Not Both

It’s imperative to clarify that a server can’t simultaneously hold production and non-production statuses for different products. It’s a binary distinction—either production or non-production. The litmus test often used is whether the server’s downtime would impact business operations. In cases of ambiguity, it’s safer to consider the server as production and license it accordingly. Furthermore, mixing production and non-production workloads on the same virtual machine should be avoided to maintain clarity and compliance.

“a server can’t simultaneously hold production and non-production statuses for different products. It’s a binary distinction—either production or non-production”

Hot/Warm/Cold Standby Servers

Servers designated as backups must be categorized as hot, warm, or cold standby. By default, a backup server is treated as a hot standby, necessitating a full license unless proven otherwise.

Understanding the nuances between hot, warm, and cold standby servers is essential for accurate licensing. This Guide to licensing hot, warm and cold standby servers will help with that analysis.

Demonstrating that a backup server is warm or cold standby, as per IBM policy for licensing backup servers, may exempt it from requiring additional licenses. However, to qualify as a backup server, it must be linked to a production server, and proper documentation, such as CMDB records, is recommended.

“Understanding the nuances between hot, warm, and cold standby servers is essential for accurate licensing.”

QA / Staging / UAT / Dev / Test Servers

Non-production servers, often referred to as route-to-live servers, require specific licensing. These servers, often labelled as QA, Staging, Test, UAT, etc., require licenses, albeit usually at a discounted rate (>50%).

This post on IBM Licensing for development and test will help you understand in more detail.

Some IBM products offer specific licenses for non-production environments, denoted by “Non-Production” in their product descriptions and license metrics. However, in cases where no dedicated non-production version exists, regular production licenses must be used.

Occasionally, utilizing a production license with a different metric may be more cost-effective for licensing non-production servers.

Temporary Additional Use Servers

Under specific scenarios as outlined in the Temporary Additional Use Policy, non-production servers can be licensed without cost. Typically, this applies to servers utilized for non-production purposes for a limited duration, usually 90 days. Any extension beyond this period requires prior approval from IBM. After the agreed-upon duration, either decommission the server or acquire the necessary license to remain compliant.

Evaluation Servers

Even for evaluation purposes, IBM products deployed on servers still require licensing, albeit without charges during the evaluation period.

Typically, this evaluation period spans three (3) months from installation, although exceptions can be negotiated. It’s crucial to note that evaluation software cannot support production systems. Failure to decommission evaluation software after the stipulated period will result in it being treated as production and necessitating a full production license. See ILAE for full terms and conditions.

“Even for evaluation purposes, IBM products deployed on servers still require licensing, albeit without charges during the evaluation period.”

FAQ

Conclusion

In conclusion, navigating IBM licensing requirements based on server status can be complex, but a clear understanding of these distinctions is essential for compliance. By adhering to the guidelines outlined in this comprehensive guide, organizations can ensure proper licensing while leveraging IBM products effectively within their IT environments.

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