IBM Entitled Software Support (ESS) – Giving customers more freedom and control
Episode 1 – The Village of Software Keys
Once upon a time, the IBM customer did not have to concern themselves with software license keys. They purchased software which arrived on the preferred media of the day, and as long as you had the media, you could load the software onto the server of your choice. Then, thanks to some “not so honest” pirates, software licensing came into the world. IBM originally sent out documentation with license keys for each purchased software, and would send the customer “golden media” containing all possible software (allowing trial periods before requiring the key for continued use). IBM provided the “Key Center”, giving customers a place to call to get an email for any lost keys. In current day, we no longer receive software media (unless you want to spend $350), and are able to download the software as needed. IBM created the land of Entitled Software Support (ESS), with specific “villages”. Three “villages” of interest are Software Keys, Software Updates, and Software Downloads. There is even an Android and iOS (not to be confused with IBM/i) mobile app version of ESS. Oh joy!
Let’s explore the village of Software Keys, shall we?
Initial Access to ESS:
The Entitled Software Support (ESS) website is found at
Using your IBM ID, you can click the “Sign in” button and start your adventure.
Once logged in, you will see this page:
This walkthrough will only concern itself with the “My entitled software” link. Click “My entitled software”, and you will view this screen:
If this is your first time here, you will need to follow the link to “Register IBM customer number”. (If you do not have this information, contact Arbor Solutions and we can help) Select your country and enter your IBM customer number, then click “Submit”. This will take you to a screen where you will need to enter a server serial number or system number (note: system number and serial number are not the same thing, and both are separate from machine type). If you use system number, you will have more ESS features available (such as software updates). (If you do not have this information, contact Arbor Solutions and we can help) After entering the system number, click “Submit”. It may take a few seconds, but you should get a new screen saying the license information is now available in “my entitled software”.
Access to License Keys:
At this point, you can click the “IBM i software keys” option in the left menu (under “my entitled software”), where you can view a list of your servers.
Here is a screenshot of the top of the software keys screen:
Simply select the server serial number you want to view (drop down menu next to “Hardware Type Serial:”), and click the “>” arrow to the right of the selection. You will have to confirm the OS level you want to display keys for (typically current version), then click the “>” arrow next to OS selection. (If you do not have this information, contact Arbor Solutions and we can help) If all goes correctly, you will see a screen displaying all software products you own, for the selected server and OS level. There is a check box beside each software piece, and a “select all” is available at the bottom. At the bottom, you can also select “view” to simply view the keys online, “install” if you want to install them to your server directly, “download keys” if you want to download for later install, “cancel” to go back to previous screen, and “send” to have the keys emailed to you. In many cases, I select “send” and the keys are sent to the email address connected to the IBM profile you used to log in.
Pro tip: It is recommended to occasionally use the “select all” option and then use “send”, to have all keys sent via a single email. Printing off this email and filing can provide assured access, in cases where ESS (or other online resources) may not be available.
Within the land of ESS, the village of Software Keys has provided needed relief for customers. While license keys have become a necessary evil in controlling software piracy, IBM has done much to give the customer easier access to their keys. Customers are able to manage their license keys for all servers, within a single interface, with relative ease. If you prefer a host for your visit to the land of ESS, Arbor Solutions will be glad to help guide you.
Arbor Solutions can also help with IBM Power Systems configuration/procurement, Licensing & Maintenance Contracts, Hosting & Cloud, DR/HA Solutions, Application Development Services (RPG, PHP, SQL, PYTHON, & .NET), and Systems Engineering Services. We would be happy to help in any way we can.
If you’re not getting the service you believe you deserve from your existing IBM Business Partner and want to work with a team who simply understands what it means to be a partner, reach out to one of our team members, we would love the opportunity to earn your business.