Skip to main content

Selected AIX Versions Can Soon Be Licensed Monthly

IBM made an interesting announcement today. The Standard editions of AIX 7.1 and AIX 7.2 will soon be available to be licensed on a monthly basis under Passport Advantage.

This is another example of Power Systems and AIX making their platforms cloud-ready as they transition to a hybrid cloud model. So far we have C models, PowerVC and LC models, and now we have another way to license AIX.

This whitepaper goes into detail about IBM’s cloud directions. Registration is required to access it.

The new licensing model goes into effect on March 28. You’ll be able to order it using part number 5737-D09.

While enterprise clients could find this interesting if they’re trying to move software and operating systems licensing costs over to their opex bucket, I believe managed service providers (MSPs) have the most to gain. By giving these shops an option to get AIX licenses “on demand,” they can more easily respond to their ever-evolving circumstances (for instance, customers moving into or out of their cloud). Being able to buy a month’s worth of licensing — this includes entitlement and support — at a time really increases their flexibility and helps to account for the possibility of multiple customers that might be sharing the same physical cores.

No monthly reporting to IBM is required, which provides for flexible pricing and billing. It will be offered on the IBM Digital Marketplace, so for the first time you’ll be able to virtually swipe a credit card to get access to AIX.

This offer lists at $26 USD per virtual processor core (VPC) per month. It applies only to E850 machines and below: the small-tier systems. The entitlement is based on customer numbers rather than serial numbers, which is something to keep in mind when dealing with IBM Support. They too will need to get used to this new licensing model.

If you’re interested in this offer, you’ll first need to determine the number of VPCs you’ll need to license for the LPARs that you have defined. IBM developerWorks provides this script for making that calculation:

This script can be used with HMC and/or NovaLink instances to collect and report virtual CPU allocations of Power logical partitions and configured processors on the server. The script is invoked with a valid HMC or Novalink username and a list of space separated IP addresses. Only one username is allowed as input, and that username will be applied to all HMCs/NovaLinks specified.

Also, ssh must be configured between the system running the script and the HMC or Novalink instances it attaches to. See settingupsecurescriptexecution.htm for more info.

Here is an example of invoking the script.

$ ./ | tee output.csv
Enter the HMC/Novalink User: hscroot
Enter HMC/Novalink List (space separated):

The will produced a CSV output file with each row listing the associated HMC or Novalink instance, the system Model-Type & Serial Number, the logical partition name, the LPAR type, and the current procs assigned to the logical partition. An LPAR_TYPE of unknown indicates there’s no RMC session between the HMC / NovaLink and partition.

For each physical server, licensees must have sufficient entitlements for the lesser of the sum of all VPCs on all virtual servers, or the number of physical cores on the system.

Obviously, this new licensing offer isn’t for everyone, but for MSPs and some others, it could be a game-changer.