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By Level 9 Flexeran
Level 9 Flexeran

IBM Cloud Pak’s and Non-Cloud Pak Products Sub-capacity Licensing using VPC Metric

IBM now sells software licenses through ‘IBM Cloud Paks’, a new form of multiproduct bundle license offering which is primarily licensed on a sub-capacity virtual processor core (VPC) metric. IBM Cloud Pak software licenses can be deployed/licensed in traditional Server / VM / Cloud instance environments as well as via Containers.

The FNMS 2020 R2 release of FlexNet Manager Suite includes a new IBM VPC license type that for non-containerized infrastructure, simplifies the management of this form of licensing as well as licensing traditional bundles or individual products. (Support for containers is planned for a forthcoming release).

A Cloud Paks license consumption is the peak of the aggregated bundled primary Program products consumption – See example below for details. As IBM Cloud Paks may be bundled with multiple primary products, the new FNMS VPC license’s Consumption tab is specialized to allow the consumption tree(s) to show each product(s) consumption individually, below which you can identify the virtual host, any applicable resource pools, and the virtual machines running the software. Alternatively, for those VPC licenses covering only a single primary product, the consumption tree(s) are more familiar, starting with the virtual host(s) where the licensed software is running on a guest VM.


Tip: In Cloud Pak bundles, the licensing of primary products also covers any bundled supplementary products, so these supplementary cannot be separately licensed.

IBM Software running in the eligible public cloud provider license compliance

For software running on an instance provided by an eligible cloud service provider, IBM's eligible public cloud BYOSL policy recommends counting assigned vCPUs (or threads) and this applies to both IBM VPC and PVU license types instead of core count. For any inventory device record where the Hosted in property has been set to a cloud service provider (and not, of course, to On-premises), the VPC and PVU license automatically takes account of assigned vCPUs.

Note: This change may impact IBM PVU compliance position for virtual machines hosted in an eligible public cloud and contributing to IBM PVU compliance position, after the upgrade, if the number of the virtual processor core is different from the number of vCPU assigns to a virtual machine.

IBM Cloud Pak license compliance using VPC metric

A VPC license doesn't have a points table as such (the way that a PVU license does); but each licensed product in an IBM Cloud Pak bundle has an individual ratio of the number of VPCs permitted for each license entitlement. For example, if a particular product in the bundle has a 2:1 ratio, two VPCs can be used to run that product for every individual license entitlement. If another product in the same bundle has a 1:1 ratio, then that same single license entitlement also authorizes one core (VPC) to be assigned to run the second product.

In general, the IBM VPC license is for managing sub-capacity consumption in a way very similar to the IBM PVU license, and in fact all the same PVU sub-capacity rules apply to licensing IBM Cloud Paks. For example, the VPC license tracks peak consumption within the same three mandatory IBM regions, and for the same reporting period, as do PVU licenses.

Another familiar requirement, if you have been granted a license variation to use FlexNet Manager Suite to track sub-capacity consumption of PVU license, is that you must archive your sub-capacity consumption reports for two years. This release includes two additional reports that can be saved/archived in the same cycle as your equivalent PVU reports:

  • IBM Cloud Pak License Consumption records the region-based peak sub-capacity license consumption for a given reporting period
  • IBM Cloud Pak License Current Consumption shows the region-based consumption for all Cloud Pak licenses as of the most recent license compliance calculation (typically overnight last night).


You can jump directly to either report from the Consumption tab on an IBM VPC license's property sheet, and they are of course also accessible through the Reports menus.

How can I create an IBM Cloud Pak or a Non-Cloud Pak product license?

You can create IBM Cloud Pak’s and Non-Cloud Pak’s bundle's licenses by processing SKU of type VPC OR manually by selecting an application part of the bundle and selecting the appropriate license model of the type VPC.

What if I am currently using an FNMS license set to the PVU license type to model a VPC license? 

Once you are using version 2020 R2, you will be able to use the VPC license model template. In addition, once you have applied the ARL, SKU library, and PURL updates containing VPC content, you may see recommended license model changes if you have previously used Flexera SKU content to create Cloud Pak licenses. 

If you have previously configured several licenses of type PVU in order to create a limited model of the components of an IBM Cloud Pak OR if you have previously configured a limited capability VPC metric Cloud Pak license using the SKU library and the PVU metric:  

  • The existing licenses will not calculate Cloud Pak consumption correctly due to the lack of VPC support.  
  • Create a new VPC Cloud Pak license by processing a Cloud Pak SKU linked to the VPC license type or by manually selecting a Cloud Pak application and related VPC license model template which includes the Cloud Pak bundle. 
  • Retire or delete the legacy PVU licenses. 

If you have previously configured a VPC metric non-Cloud Pak license using the SKU library and the PVU license type: 

  • Flexera is not yet publishing updates to these SKUs in the SKU library. 
  • Consumption for these titles is currently accurate using the PVU-based license model.  
  • You can convert these licenses to use the VPC metric manually by changing the license from the PVU license type to the VPC license type (This will automatically update the selected points ruleset.) and ignore license recommendation change if linked SKU/s recommends license type PVU.
  • Flexera’s implementation of the VPC behavior means this conversion will not affect license quantity or consumption levels.  

Note: If you are on an on-premises version of FNMS older than 2020 R2 and attempt to process a purchase linked to Flexera SKU library content configuring a license of type VPC (including but not limited to IBM Cloud Pak SKU's), the resulting license will be of type device, and recommended license changes will continue to recommend the device license type.  VPC capability is not supported in older versions of FNMS. In order to enable VPC support, you must upgrade to FNMS version 2020 R2 or later.  


Example of IBM Cloud Pak’s licensing using VPC license type

A Cloud Pak ‘XYZ’ includes the following product

  • Product A (licensed as 1 VPC(s) to 1 license(s))
  • Product B (licensed as 1 VPC(s) to 2 license(s))
  • Product C (licensed as 4 VPC(s) to 1 license(s))


A Cloud Pak VPC ‘XYZ’ license in FNMS would be configured with Products A, B, and C each as Primary products. FNMS will track the consumption of each Product within the A Cloud Pak VPC license. The Cloud Pak XYZ license in FNMS will define each Product’s (A, B + C in this example) VPC to license ratio (e.g. 1 VPC to 1 license or 1 VPC to 4 licenses etc.) which can be manually configured/amended as needed. The Cloud Pak VPC license in FNMS will report the calculated VPC consumption of each product applying the noted license ratio (with granular per Product current consumption details visible in the Consumption tab of the license) and will report the Peak consumption (the highest total consumption value across the combined licensed products (A, B + C in this example) during the reporting period on a day) as the Cloud Pak VPC’s License’s Consumption.

IBM Cloud Pak’s bundled products VPC to license ratio view

The following example shows “IBM Cloud Pak for Applications Virtual Processor Core” license of type VPC has four primary products, each product has its own VPC to license ratio shown in the Use rights & rules tab on license properties.


Primary product VPC to license ratio

IBM Cloud Pak’s bundled product VPC to license ratios are published through ARL (application recognition library) update. These are standard ratios published by IBM, usually, you do not require to change them otherwise change to ratio will impact license compliance calculation. The ratio field is left editable to provide more flexibility to our customers.



Primary product contribution to IBM Cloud Pak license consumption

In the example, a primary product WebSphere Application Server with 4 VPC to 1 license ratio is installed on a partition (Virtual machine) with two cores assigned. WebSphere Application Server application show consumption contribution 1 at the product level.

Note: Consumption contribution for each product is calculated by summing the metric value (assigned cores/vCPU’s (vCPU when the virtual machine is hosted in the public cloud)) and multiplying with the product ratio at the product level. e.g 2 Core x 0.25 = 0.5 (rounded to 1)

IBM Cloud Pak’s consumption details Report

  1. IBM Cloud Pak Consumption report
  2. IBM Cloud Pak License Current Consumption report



Note: IBM Cloud Pak License (IBM Cloud Pak for Applications Virtual Processor Core) and product ratios are shown above are for illustration purposes only.

ILMT inventory connector would not import the Cloud Pak's/VPC compliance position from ILMT (does not apply when FNMS is running high-frequency sub-capacity mode) but ILMT will be treated as another inventory source in FNMS 2020 R2 release.

(4) Comments
Level 4

Thanks @AamerSharif 

This was a really good read and well put together, I gained lots of insight into IBM Cloud Paks. Now to upgrade to 2020 R2 😄

I do have one question... as many environments will already have WAS installed bundled with another program,  will there still be some level of effort required to identify installs of primary products belonging to IBM Cloud Pak and manually allocating these devices? I.e., Will FNMS be able distinguish between a Cloud Pak WAS and Non-Cloud Pak WAS?



Flexera Alumni

@_willyin - It is the same installation of WebSphere regardless of how it is licensed.

It you have a hybrid environment where you still have active PVU licenses for WebSphere as well as new Cloud PAK licenses for WebSphere, you will likely need to do some allocations of WebSphere servers to the two licenses until you get to the end state where IBM wants all of their customers to be (all in with Cloud PAK and migrated off of PVU).

Level 5

This feature has some inconsistencies under the hood. VPC licensing model allows you to use feature "Consume for each product on a device". However, that feature works for only for once for a product/license model. When I create second license, this causes consumption tab to reveal "Unknown Product" in top of the device hierarchy (virtualized) and license calculations do not work for the recent license created. If I enable "Consume once for each device" back, "Unknown product" disappears from the top of the hierarchy. (2020R2) 

Level 5

Since its not possible in the current VPC license model to distinguish between Prod and Non-Prod devices, you must create two separate licenses, one for Prod and one for Non-Prod usage. Prod vs Non-Prod products typically have different VPC consumption. 

So, I cant get full picture of the PAK consumption due the previous limitation I explained.