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License Pricing Insanity

el.b00ty

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Resurrecting an old thread here, but it's still relevant... we're getting ready to upgrade to 6.1, and in a meeting today my director says, "Hey... should we look at other options before we commit to this upgrade?". What could I say? TSM's a great product, but seriously... you can't even find a server with less than 4 cores... it's so friggin' expensive... and we don't even get BMR capabilities. I had to buy another product (Platespin) to do some P2P migrations earlier this year... almost thought about using Acronis for both the migrations and future backups...

We're an IBM shop for sure. Blades, iSeries, xSeries... Domino/Notes, TSM, Websphere... you name it. But I don't know how long it's going to stay that way if IBM doesn't stop bending us over...
 

THE_WIPET

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It's always a good exercise to control your cost. especialy with the economic slow down. And yes IBM is quite expensive with there Licences the PVU concept. We went trought this process in 2009. We look at other alternative and this took about 6 to 8 month to do. This got us a good picture of our cost in backups.

The decission is always a question of cost. Does your maintenance/upgrade cost will be lower than the aquisition/implentation/trainning etc with another software for backup on a period of 3,5,7 years or more.

And yes IBM is really good at giving you a great price for the first 3 years and after without reason bring a 100% raise in your maintenance cost.
 

Jeff_Jeske

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I've been spot checking some of our clients to calculate cost. Here are two examples:

We have approx 12 exchange servers running on 16 core SystemX E5530s. These servers are licensed at 70 pvu per core or 1120 pvu per server. We need to pay for 1120 PVUs of Exchange TDP and 1120 PVUs of BAClient.

Rounding our actual cost (not retail) we pay about $1 per PVU for Baclient and $1.50 per PVU for Exch TDP. The total is $2800 per exchange server for a year of reliable backup and more importantly restore.

Next up is an Oracle DB server that we use the TDP on. This server is a 16 core SystemX E7730 rated at $50 per core or 800 PVU. Our Oracle TDP is about $2 per PVU and our BAC is again $1 per PVU. The total PVU cost is $2400.

Is that really insane? I don't think so.
 

chad_small

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When I started this thread the pricing model was very steep and IBM did not seem to be competitive when Symantec was giving away Netbackup (I'm not lying they were giving it away and just requiring a support contract). Since then it appears things have become more reasonable.
 

icewalker

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IBM Licensing Nightmares

I have to second el.b00ty's post from this past January. I almost thought it was me; our shop is very very similar. I know some folks don't think long term, but I do. I'm always thinking 5 years down the road, building my infrastructure today to meet the needs tomorrow.

But when I see PVU Licensing schemes from IBM, I start to shutter. Yes, the license is still cheaper than the hardware, but these costs add up quickly. Yesterday, I had a single core, dual processor system handling Domino. So we were licensed for TSM TDP and the BA Client at 200 PVU as well as Domino itself. Today, I have a single socket quad core HX5 doing the same job. The PVU costs went from 200 to 280. And so what? It is only 200 PVU, right? Wrong! Start multiplying those costs across all the hardware.

My costs for doing the same bloody job (nothing changed, just the hardware) doubled in 5 years! Only hedge fund managers get that rate of return (and apparently IBM). And to top it off, IBM Increased it's PVU core costs from 50 to 70 instead of leaving it at 50 (for the dual core systems). In a few years when Quad Cores are dinosaurs and all I can lay my hands on are Octicores, my costs more than double AGAIN; 560 PVU to still do the same job! That is provided IBM doesn't raise the costs of the Octicores from 70 PVU to something higher in the interim. They obviously have no problem raising their PVU licensing costs. Thank God the Insurance Companies haven't taken notice!

And I don't want to hear about the "you can disable cores" kind of talk to save on licensing. I didn't buy the hardware to cripple it, I bought it to do a job! It doesn't seem appropriate to punish a business with additional licensing costs when they are just buying hardware upgrades, and that business doesn't really have a choice on the processor cores any more.

Yes I know, more cores means more work by a single system and we can consolidate. Great! For some folks that may be true, good on them for trying to save money by consolidating. For other shops, that is not a possibility. Why would I consolidate ALL of my Domino infrastructure into a single system. Looks too much like the "all of my eggs in one basket" kind of thinking. That is a bad idea and it is just not worth the risk if the system goes down. (BTW - Quality from IBM hardware is declining if you haven't noticed ... look for loose screws in your HX5's, I found them).

So, what do I see happening? I see people dumping IBM Software in droves! That is what I see. And I have already seen it happening! The pace will only increase over the next few years. And IBM will just raise their costs on their existing customers to make up the difference until somebody gets a clue and figures out why. We almost dumped some IBM Software this past budget and you can rest assured that the question will come up again in future budgets (just for the record, I fought against dumping Domino). In the grand scheme of things, IT folks have little power on how much they can spend. You make your case and you get a budget. But no finance manager is going to let you double your software costs every 5 years! I can guarantee it! Sooner or later, you all will face the decision, "I can keep running IBM software and Dump a lot of the other things we need to actually run the business, or we switch vendors and keep the business running". Kind of a no-brainer to me!

BTW - here is the real reason for my rant. The amount of work necessary to do the calculations to determine the correct number of PVU is too time consuming. I can easily tell you how many systems I have, and how many processors (which is irrelevant for just about every other vendor software solution we employ) are in each system. But getting down in cores, processor type, processor vendor, it's a lot of work! Too much work! What IT Shop isn't short staffed already? And now I'm forced into doing work I shouldn't have to do counting cores and identifying processor types to determine if I have to buy 50 PVU or 70 PVU, or 120 PVU. So I complain face-to-face to our sales rep that a better solution should exist for licensing and that costs are getting too high with multi-core systems. His response, "We have software you can purchase that can do this for you; licensed on the number of cores it finds of course." I kicked him out! He obviously wasn't listening to what I was saying.

I hope someone from IBM sees this post and does start to listen. Next budget, I can guarantee you, IBM is going to lose some business from us (maybe more than just software). We may be one business but I know for a fact, we are not the only business considering the switch.
 
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shcart

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Nice One

Jesse

I'm not sure which corporation you work for, and I dont think that really needs to be added to the thread. However we are paying >$5 per PVU for a basic client license and >$10 per PVU for the TDP License. We just 'renegotiated' to get these figures. Your figure sounds to me, more like the ongoing annual maintenance cost not the license cost.

If it is the initial license cost then I would love to get a ballpark idea of how many CPU cores or total PVU's you have in use for your negotiations. Oh and a vague Ideaa of your industry.

A few notes:

Based on this years published price list IBM now assigns more PVU per core for identical CPU cores on an 8 socket mother board vs one on a single or dual socket mother board. This is regardless of whether 7 of the sockets are empty.

When I looked at pricing during the early days of TSM 6.? it included yet another significant pricing per PVU uplift vs TSM5.5 for new licenses. Probably to pay for the 'Free' DB2 installation.


It is and always will be insane to charge for PVU's / CPU's etc when looking at backups. Thats like the electric company charging me for the number of appliances I have regardless of whether I use them or not.

I doubt anyone will ever accuse IBM of being easy to work with but this pricing model isn't just insane its Obscene.

Its not even my money and I hate being so blatently ripped off . Vent Over
SC.
 

shcart

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Nicer One

Icewalker,

I wish I had the time to respond as fully as you did.

Unfortunately it took me 4 months to do our TSM Sub capacity Audit so I'm a little behind this year. Yes we do cripple our servers (sorry mate!)

I completely agree with everything you said. Why does management not listen to the people they pay for advice rather than the salesmen on the golf course. Corporations are now so incestuous I doubt there is a single senior exec out there without close friends in, or who at some time didnt work for, Big Blue.

I get personal ethics responsibilities thrust down my throat all the time but its fine for IBM to do what the they like to keep moving their stuff.

SC
 

Jeff_Jeske

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Your figure sounds to me, more like the ongoing annual maintenance cost not the license cost. If it is the initial license cost then I would love to get a ballpark idea of how many CPU cores or total PVU's you have in use for your negotiations. Oh and a vague Ideaa of your industry.
I work in the insurance industry. Below are last years licensing numbers:

TSM Extended Ed 10 Value Units - E029ELL - QTY= 21290
TSM for DB 10 Value Units - E028WLL - QTY = 500
TSM for Mail 10 Value Units - E026BLL - QTY = 500

So basically we had 212,900 Baclient PVU's for our shop in 2009.

Icewalker makes a good point, as older equipement hits end of life and new equipment replaces it PVU licensing will begin to sting. We suspect our PVU will nearly double next year as a large blade farm refresh is taking place right now.
 

shcart

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Choose your tools.

Overall we had 444,300 PVU's so we should have been able to negotiate a 'Better deal'. But thats moot now.

Start now and you may save yourself a nasty IBM audit shock !

Find out exactly how many PVU's for each product group (Base Client, TDP...etc) you already own. You should not need to replace those as most TSM licenses are transferrable. If you have Storage array based tools, some of those may not be transferrable.

Not knowing where we were starting from was part of my issue because someone had swapped out some of the more expensive license PVU's (LANFREE) for more PVU's on other products at the last negotiation. I was still using the products hence we were out of compliance.

You need to know exactly how many CPU cores of what type and on how many socket mother boards you are buying.

Read the PVU chart carefully. We had all Xeons down as 50PVU's/core but single cores are actually 100PVU's. Also if you are using HA on asymmetric clusters or Vmotion it gets extremely complex as it feels like you have to license all cores the product might run on not just those its active on at a given time. Enough to say you if you add HA or Vmotion you should reevaluate your licensing.

With TSM licensing you now get hit in the PVU's for buying underpopulated mobo's for certain CPU types (Specifically newer Xeons and clones). The bigger mobo's cost you more per Core but you do still save by having fewer cores.

File servers could be replaced by Netapps filers with built in snapshots and backing up with NDMP. These attract no TSM license charge (Yet!). You can also use these for Exchange and use snapshots to almost eliminate backup time. Consider Netapps built in replication to a remote site to replace TSM altogether. This can work except maybe for archives.

NDMP really needs dedicated tape drives I would recommend not more than 2 per header at present. Oh and NDMP is running on the filer CPU's so its not as fast as a top of the line Solaris or AIX server but with the right config its not too shabby either.

Suffice it to say IBM now make enough money out of product Licensing they can afford to employ KPMG as their enforcers.
 

Jeff_Jeske

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^ Are you sure you are paying that price per PVU or is it per license pack? Even doing a quick search online with no negociations at all I can find $1 per PVU pricing. If you are truly paying those prices I'd find a new vendor.
 

shcart

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Yep! I'm sure its per PVU

We deal direct with IBM for Software licenses

TSM EE basic price is $6.90 per PVU (Per passport Advantage 09/28/2010). We actually manage to get about 20% off that so that we pay about $5.50 per PVU. If you can point me at legitimate $1.00 per PVU TSM prices on the web I'll get our head of purchasing fired and you can have his job. Especially as we already had to pay for about 200,000 additional PVU's this year.

IBM knows once they have us locked into TSM they have us by the nuts so there is squat we can do. Of course if we got some management with testicular fortitude we could phase in a replacement for TSM over several years even if we just replaced it on all new installs. (But we all know that aint gonna happen cause for years i aint met a manager that has one left, let alone both).

I look forward to a new head of purchasing with better negotiating skills and a lower Golf handicap
Cheers
SC
 

Jeff_Jeske

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LOL! Well.... you are making laugh and making me nervous at the same time. I imagine you are an Enterprise Edition customer as well so what is the part number of the baclient code that you are ordering?

As mentioned above, we purchase our baclient code under "TSM Extended Ed 10 Value Units - E029ELL" and it comes out to just a hair over $1 per PVU. Am I missing something? Do I need another license to back up a run of the mill web server?

A quick search for TSM + E029ELL + PRICE produced the following link reporting:

*** $11 for 10 PVU for 1 year:

http://www.vecmar.com/IBM_Tivoli_St...tion_and_Support_Renewal/E029ELL-J/p/S4366238

I have no idea what your volume level would be but considering you purchased twice as much as I did it should be better than what we get.
 

shcart

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Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid, In IBM Audit space no one can hear you scream.

The Products you are buying are software subscription renewals and annual support agreements for software. They do NOT include an initial license entitlement.

Basically you are paying for year 2 onwards support but that is all. The Initial entitlement is only included in the First year license. Part# D56FELL In theory you need one of these before you can renew Year 2 and beyond. And IBM or your VAR will be tracking your entitlement.

We recalculated and paid our licenses last year and then IBM showed up with KPMG in tow this year ( We got hit for 200,000 extra PVU's because they have changed the way they evaluate VMWARE, Vmotion clusters and HA clusters, plus somone swapped licenses I was using for other entitlements. Oh and the guy who worked it out last year missed that a single core Xeon was 100PVU )

If you didnt buy licenses D56FELL or some similar entitlement in the past. I would make sure you know exactly what you have hardware wise, work out how much you owe IBM, and then talk to your management because it sounds like you might have a large bill ahead of you. (and no you aren't a Toucan)

SC
 

Jeff_Jeske

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Well it took a bit of digging and I even called our IBM rep but I found that we originally purchased about 1000 processor licenses back in 2006. IBM some how worked their magic during the PVU conversion and gave us enough new client PVU to support about 1000 dual core servers. The big money saver has turned out to be our P2V push.

By moving 60% of the previous physical machines to virtual machines we have compressed nearly 40 physical machines into one VM Host license. Any new physical machines reuse one of the 39 reclaimed previously purchased new client licenses. Therefore no need to purchase new client licenses as they were previously purchase and had continuous support on them.

In a way its quite slick. Every one of our VM clients have a baclient but we license the host not individual clients. As for VMotion, all of our VM clients are VMotion capable but since every host already has a TSM license we don't need to do anything extra!

This has left us with many extra client licenses to reuse for new physical machines. Looking at the numbers it was cheaper to continue to pay for support on unused baclient licenses than drop support and later pay for new client licenses. We still have hundreds of free client licenses floating around.
 

shcart

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Happy for you!

You clearly have a way better negotiators than we do. We had a 5000 CPU license and that along with all the previously purchased standalone licenses somehow got converted to into just 500PVU's more than the 2000 or so cores we had active when it was Swapped for PVUs.

The bean counters do our negotiation direct with the IBM Software Rep and they won't allow us techies or even the VAR who originally sold us the licenses into the negotiations. This means our management never even have a clue what they gave away. But the negotiators do protect their little empire so its all cool with their mgt.

SC.
 

sandeepkontham

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Even I have seen TSM projects/servers moving to netbackup,HPDP etc due to cost...

Management mind easily alters with $$$$$$
I strongly think that IBM should reconsider their pricing.........otherwise TSM market share will sink for sure
 

el.b00ty

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I thought some of you who contributed to this thread might find a follow-up interesting. We're still a TSM shop here, but maybe not for long. We recently dropped Domino and migrated to Exchange and are dropping Websphere soon. Shortly after we renewed with these changes, IBM initiated an audit. Coincidence? I don't think so.

So the auditors (who obviously had very little technical understanding of infrastructure in general) wasted a bunch of our time asking irrelevant and/or repetitive questions and having us fill out what may have been the most convoluted spreadsheet I've ever seen, they ran off to write their report. A couple months later, they come back showing we are WAY out of compliance.

So I go through the audit and realize (similar to shcart) that the inflated numbers are from them not properly following sub-capacity licensing rules. We're currently waiting for a response after pointing that out. If it's anything other than "our bad, sorry for wasting your valuable time", I think we'll be taking a VERY strong look at moving away from our remaining IBM products (TSM, Cognos - don't even get me started on this debacle -, etc).

As a comparison - we just looked at true-ing up our Microsoft licensing, which offers either per-socket/CPU or Server+CAL models. We were able to do the audit and make a clear-cut decision in about, oh, 2 hours. Microsoft are no angels themselves, but at this point I'd much rather be doing business with them than IBM and, more importantly, so would my superiors.

IBM - if you're reading this, get your sh*t together.

Oh, almost forgot - I noticed, as was mentioned above, the new PVU charts where you actually end up paying more to backup a server with 4 sockets than 2, even if only 1-2 sockets are populated. W. T. F.
 

Jeff_Jeske

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Even if it costs more.... TSM works and that is my number one concern. I have never worked with another product as powerful and relieable as TSM. It is my feeling that our TSM agents give every server a individual health check every day. I love TSM!

I would go to war with managment if they even suggested we move away from TSM.
 

sandeepkontham

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I Totally Agree, TSM is the best backup enterprise s/w in the market but if IBM can reduce licensing price then for sure there will be only one backup s/w in market i.e. TSM
 

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OK so the concensus is TSM is the best product in the enterprise space, however IBM are pricing it out of the market. What are our alternatives ? I have a number of customers now reviewing multiple backup solutions, VEEAM for the VM's, Netbackup for the satellites and primative point solutions for DBMs' which of course are not even close to a TSM type solution but they are hundreds of thousands of dollars cheaper( quote this week for 1 tsmee client and 1 Oracle TDP to run in one container on a SUN m5000 was $82k per annum, another who have had TSM since ADSM who's first license was $23k this years bill -- still being argued was over $250k...WTF). Are other TSM sites finding affordable alternatives or some method of counting the PVU's that make it cost justifiable to keep it?. I see my next couple of contracts being migrations off TSM simply because the a business case cannot be made to continue using it.
 

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The Spectrum Protect TLA (Three-Letter Acronym): ISP or something else?

  • Every product needs a TLA, Let's call it ISP (IBM Spectrum Protect).

    Votes: 20 18.7%
  • Keep using TSM for Spectrum Protect.

    Votes: 65 60.7%
  • Let's be formal and just say Spectrum Protect

    Votes: 13 12.1%
  • Other (please comement)

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