IBM Tivoli License Manager tracks software assets

IBM Corp. on Tuesday unveiled IBM Tivoli License Manager, a productized version of a popular IBM Global Services (IGS) offering designed to help customers get a leg up on remedying software license tracking and compliance complexities.

Built on IBM WebSphere, the browser-based IBM Tivoli License Manager is a stand-alone product from the Tivoli systems management framework featuring its own set of agents, automation, and self-healing capabilities. The tool, integrated with Tivoli Enterprise Data Warehouse, is designed to ensure that software used within an enterprise is paid for and renewed on a timely basis, said David Ertl, market manager at Austin, Tex.-based IBM Tivoli.

The product covers PC and Unix platforms and offers base level software inventory scanning across an environment. Incorporating policy enforcement under its software asset management umbrella, IBM Tivoli License Manager provides metering and license entitlement rights to set designated limits upon usage.

Ertl said Big Blue plans to broaden the range of IBM Tivoli License Manager to track usage metering and licenses for software running on IBM zSeries and iSeries. That capability should help customers better manage service-level agreement (SLA) contract negotiations by giving a PC-to-back-end view of software usage.

“We’re talking to our customers and they think they’re over-purchasing five to 15 per cent in software they need just to maintain compliance,” said Ertl.

In a tough economic climate, IT organizations are scrambling to cut costs wherever possible. Possessing up-to-date license inventory and compliance knowledge as well as the ability to define users, machines, or departments in terms of contract control is essential, said Audrey Rasmussen, vice-president of Boulder, Colo.-based Enterprise Management Associates.

“[License management] is becoming a priority because IT budgets are scaling back and that’s a potential savings area. If [customers] know they’re not using software they can cut that cost,” said Rasmussen. The product “also does usage policy enforcement and makes [licenses and software assets] more flexible and easier to manage, without having to figure out what every systems has.”

However, to keep up with large scale and smaller point-product vendors attacking the same space, Rasmussen said Tivoli must address the financial side of asset management, incorporating areas such as procurement, documentation, and contract signing to its functionality.

IBM Tivoli License Manager is priced at US$15 per client and US$15 per processor for servers. Ertl estimates the average deployment time of the tool takes about six to eight weeks.