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Software Defined Licensing For TSM – What Options Do You Have?

Posted by Silverstring on 11-Oct-2013 09:21:07

Firstly, apologies if this post might not be of interest to you. We try and cover topics on the Predatar blog that will be of interest to everyone, but there are times when we look to discuss subjects that are a bit more individual – and this is one of them! If you have licensing sorted though, then skip this and be sure to check back next week when we’ll have a post about the latest big announcement from the IBM storage team.

So, as a user of Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM), we know you'll also likely to have to deal with Microsoft, Oracle, VMware and many more, all with subtle and not-so-subtle licensing variations. Today, however, we're going to be focusing purely on those for TSM.

Look back a fair few years and there was only one way to measure licences based on the number of servers backed up, irrespective of whether it was a massive UNIX server or a small file server.

Today, we have two main options – Processor Value Unit based and Capacity based - with various sub-options available underneath them.

The first, Processor Value Unit based, applies a measurement against the number and type of physical processor cores of the servers you would like to protect. Different processors have different units (for example, a POWER processor will require more units than an AMD or Intel processor with the same number of cores).

Also, there are multiple agents for TSM aside from the basic backup / archive licence and there are agents for LAN Free Backup, database specific, Mail, SAP and more, so you will need to count the cores for those systems running those agents.

With the advent of virtualisation, IBM introduced sub-capacity licensing, so you only need to licence the virtual machines or LPARs rather than the whole physical machine.

We know this undoubtedly sounds good, but the caveat is you must install a license usage tool called ILMT on each server. The challenge comes in the style that TSM tends to protect lots of servers, so you could spend more time installing and managing ILMT than you do managing your data!

Now looking at Capacity based licensing, in the beginning there was only one option - now there are three and some people are asking for a fourth.

Around three years ago, IBM introduced the Suite for Unified Recovery (SUR), a bundle of all the main TSM modules with one price based on the primary occupancy of TSM, making managing the licence compliance of TSM particularly easy.

Since then, IBM have announced an Entry SUR for customers whose occupancy won’t grow above 100TB and in August of this year, they also announced the SUR ProtecTIER option, which takes into account the deduplication aspects of these VTL (Virtual Tape Library) appliances.

With this option, you licence the entire ProtecTIER device upfront – it is not pay as you protect. IBM based their pricing on the assumption of a 4:1 deduplication ratio, which many will no doubt find funny, as when the sales guys talked deduplication, the answer was closer to 10:1 or even 20:1 - now the beanies have got involved, it looks like 4:1!

There are many more details with the new ProtecTIER option, but one thing to note is you can mix both SUR and SUR ProtecTIER licensing, unlike SUR and SUR Entry, making it look something like this:

Image showing SUR and SUR ProtecTIER licensing

If you are thinking of buying a VTL, this new licence could influence your choice of vendor, but you also need to think about whether you can use native deduplication in the TSM code, which is included in the base price. You can purchase software from IBM via your Passport Advantage agreement or via AAS.

So there you have it, at least 10 permutations to think through!

Always happy to discuss licensing topics, we even have a team of licensing specialists ready to take your questions – drop them an e-mail at info@predatar.com or give them a call on +44 (0)844 815 5805.

PS – be sure to check back next week, as we'll have a blog post that's definitely a must-read for everyone (it's all about the recent IBM storage announcement!).

Topics: Tivoli Storage Manager

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