By Becky Dimock,

Lead information developer for PowerVC

PowerVC is a powerful management tool for your IBM i workloads, but you need to be sure that your usage follows the software license requirements. Today we’ll talk about some basic concepts around IBM i licensing, and then we’ll take a more in-depth look at IBM i Live Partition Mobility (LPM) and IBM i with Enterprise Pools. Note that when we talk about IBM i with PowerVC, we’re referring to the IBM i operating system running on a managed host.

At a very basic level, IBM i licensing is based on the hardware model, machine size (small, medium, and large), and processor groups, also known as software tiers.  In general, one license (or “entitlement”) is required per processor core. Some IBM i models allow per user licenses to be used in addition to per processor licensing.  It is important to note that a “user” refers to a person who accesses IBM i.  It does not refer to a user ID, profile, etc.

When working with IBM i, you must understand these general rules.  For full details, see the IBM Software License Agreements.

    The IBM i operating system is only licensed for the machine serial number on which it was originally sold, unless a specific offering, such as Power Enterprise Pools, Capacity Backup, or the IBM I Entitlement Transfer offering, modifies those terms.

    Typically, other IBM Power Licensed Program Products, such as AIX, can be transferred between systems within an enterprise, but cannot be transferred to another enterprise.

To manage your software entitlements, visit the Entitled Software Support website.

PowerVM Live Partition Mobility (LPM)

PowerVC works together with PowerVM LPM to help you easily balance your workloads. LPM allows running virtualized workloads (i.e. virtual machines) to be seamlessly moved from one Power Systems server to another, without disruption to end users or service levels. When movement via LPM occurs, the source and destination systems must be owned or leased by the same enterprise. Therefore, you cannot move virtual machines between your machine and a service provider machine.  Note that when a virtual machine is moved, the entire image – including all software in it – is moved.   Passport Advantage products are subject to different terms and conditions.  See the  “Sub-capacity (Virtualization) License Counting Rules” PDF.

For IBM i, the following license requirements apply to virtual machines with IBM i workload that are moved temporarily to another system:

    For destination systems where permanent IBM i licensing has not been acquired, you can move a virtual machine for up to 70 days.

    Every time you use LPM to move the virtual machine to a different system where permanent IBM i licensing has not been acquired, the 70 day count restarts.

    You must have purchased IBM i and associated software entitlements on a “source system“     

    The source system must be in an equal or larger processor group than the destination system. 

    While the destination system does not need to have software entitlements for  IBM i and associated licensed program products on i, all processor activations and 5250 Enterprise Enablement, if applicable, must be acquired on the destination systems.

    SWMA (software maintenance) is required on any system in order to get support.  Therefore, if you do not have software entitlements on the destination system, these are your options:

      Permanently transfer SWMA, subject to standard SWMA transfer rules.  This might not be practical for a temporary move.

      Have a minimum of one core of SWMA (and therefore a minimum of one IBM i processor entitlement) on the destination system.  One core of permanent SWMA covers temporary mobility.

      Run the virtual machine without support on the destination system.

If a virtual machine is moved permanently, the licensing rules are the same as those for a manual permanent migration to a new system.  There are no special rules for a permanent move via LPM. All standard transfer terms and current transfer offerings apply.  For example:

    The IBM i operating system is licensed to the machine serial number. However, the IBM i Entitlement Transfer offering is available to permanently transfer entitlements between machines within an enterprise if the requirements of the offering are met.

    IBM i licensed program products (LPPs) can be permanently transferred to new machine within the enterprise.

For more information about IBM i LPM, go to IBM i Technology Updates, then choose Hardware and Firmware > Live Partition Mobility.

Power Enterprise Pools

With the PowerVC Dynamic Resource Optimizer, you can enable Mobile CoD as an optimization option.  This requires the use of Power Enterprise Pools. Power Enterprise Pools enable you to move processor and activate memory within a defined pool of systems.  When using Power Enterprise Pools, you need to understand the following licensing information:

  • You can temporarily transfer software entitlements within the pool for eligible programs, but you must license at least one core entitlement on each system. These are the eligible programs that can be transferred in a Power Enterprise Pool: AIX, IBM i, PowerVM, PowerSC, PowerHA for AIX, PowerHA for i, PowerVP, PowerVC, IBM Cloud Manager with OpenStack.

Note that while the requirement is a minimum of one core entitlement of eligible programs on each system in the pool, if you are using a hot backup solution, such as that provided by logical replication technology, you will need as many cores licensed on a target system that are required to conduct the replication workload

Note that the IBM i license manager is not aware of this entitled movement and might post warning issues indicating that the IBM i licensing on the server is out of compliance.  Ignore any such messages in a pool configuration or during temporary LPM migrations.

    A temporary move can be any amount of time, as long as the serial number server of record with the license entitlement is still registered in the pool.

    A maximum number of processor core license entitlements can be temporarily transferred from one server to other servers in the pool.  This maximum is the lesser of:

      The number of mobile activations.

      One fewer than the number of core entitlements, since you must leave a minimum of one entitlement on the server.  Note that if you are using a hot backup solution on the source box, the licenses required to run that replication workload are not transferable.

IBM i 5250 Enterprise Enablement is the hardware activation that turns on interactive usage on the server. These enablements are temporarily transferable from a server in the pool that has more than one entitlement or from a server that has a full entitlement.

Each server in the pool that is going to use 5250 capability must have at least one 5250 Enterprise Enablement feature which is not transferable.  With a Full Enterprise Enablement feature, 5250 entitlements can be transferred up to the number of mobile processor activations.

Hopefully, we have answered your IBM i related licensing questions for PowerVC.  If you need further information about IBM i licensing, feel free to contact us or refer to  “IBM i License Topics”.  And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter!

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