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IBM PVU licensing

Processor Value Unit (PVU) is a unit of measure by which an IBM software can be licensed. The number of required PVU entitlements is based on the processor model and by the number of processors made available to the software. IBM continues to define a processor, for the purpose of PVU-based licensing, to be each processor core on a chip (socket). A dual-core processor chip, for example, has two processor cores.

In Snow License Manager, IBM PVU licensing is managed by the metric PVU, which is defined to use the PVU values of the computers as basis for the compliance calculation.

The IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT) automatically determines the required PVU for each computer, as part of the inventory of the machine. This information can be automatically integrated with Snow License Manager to define which PVU value to use for each installation. Integration of ILMT data is done via the Snow Integration Manager (SIM).

In Snow License Manager, information on PVU values can be found here:

  • In the List all computers¬†view, add the column PVU per core from the column selector

  • In Computer details and on the Information tab, see information on PVU per core

Also, the administrator will be alerted on any licenses for IBM software that are registered with other metrics than PVU:

  • The alert There is [number] licenses with incompatible metrics for PVU licensed IBM applications in Licenses overview

Full capacity and Sub capacity

Some software products from IBM, that are licensed based on the metric PVU and can be deployed in a virtualized server environment, can be licensed according to Full capacity or Sub capacity (virtualization capacity).

  • Full capacity

    Number of required PVU licenses is based on the physical core capacity of the server (every physical, activated processor core) where the IBM software is installed.

  • Sub capacity

    Number of required PVU licenses is based on the virtual core capacity of a partition or a virtual machine available to the IBM software.

The sum of all sub capacity requirements for the virtual machines cannot exceed the full capacity of the physical server hosting the virtual machines. Information on installations that are eligible for sub capacity licensing is gathered by ILMT and can be integrated in Snow License Manager via Snow Integration Manager (SIM).


In order to be eligible for sub capacity licensing, all virtual machines of a host must be recognized by ILMT. Otherwise, the host needs to be licensed through full capacity licensing.

Snow License Manager will alert the SAM administrator on computers that are running IBM applications with the metric PVU, but for which ILMT is lacking information:

  • In the alert There are [number] of computers with IBM PVU-based products installed without data from ILMT in Computers overview

  • In the report Computers with IBM PVU based products without data from ILMT

For information on software products, virtualization technologies, and processor technologies that are eligible for sub capacity licensing, refer to documentation from IBM.