IBM System z Software Pricing

International Program License Agreement (IPLA)

IPLA Overview

IPLA programs have a one-time-charge (OTC) and an (optional) annual maintenance charge, called Subscription & Support. Subscription & Support has an annual charge that provides customers access to IBM technical support and enables you to obtain version upgrades at no charge.

On the mainframe, the following types of products are generally in the IPLA category: Data Management Tools, CICS Tools, Application Development Tools, WebSphere for System z products, System z Linux middleware products, and z/VM Version 4 and later.

The most common pricing metric for IPLA software on the mainframe is Value Unit pricing. Also found on the mainframe, primarily used for Linux for System z middleware products, is a per-engine charge known as Processor Value Unit pricing, under the Passport Advantage software licensing program.

You can view the base IPLA contract on the Software License Agreement website. Note: IBM distributed software is also governed by the IPLA contract.

Value Unit Pricing

Value Unit pricing for eligible System z IPLA programs enables a lower cost of incremental growth and enterprise aggregation. Each System z IPLA product with Value Unit pricing has a single price per Value Unit and a conversion matrix, called Value Unit Exhibit, for converting from some designated measurement to Value Units. Most commonly Millions of Service Units (MSUs) is the measurement designated by IBM to be converted to Value Units. Some other measurements are engines or messages. Since MSUs are the most common measurement, that measurement will be used for the remainder of this description.

Value Unit pricing offers price benefits for customers. For each System z IPLA program with Value Unit pricing, the quantity of that program needed to satisfy applicable IBM terms and conditions is referred to as the 'required license capacity'. Each of the various Value Unit Exhibits stipulate that the larger your required license capacity, the fewer Value Units per MSU you will need. Value Unit Exhibits are uniquely identified by a three digit code and referred to using the nomenclature VUExxx, where xxx is the three digit code.

Subsequent acquisistions of Value Unit priced programs offers additional price benefits for customers. The quantity of each System z IPLA program that you have acquired is referred to as 'entitled license capacity'. If you wish to grow your entitled license capacity for a System z IPLA program, the calculation to determine additional needed Value Units is based upon the the number of Value Units already acquired.

For each System z IPLA program with Value Unit Pricing, you should:

To simplify conversion from the designated measurement to VUs or vice-versa, use the Value Unit Converter Tool. For additional information or to obtain a copy of the Value Unit Converter Tool, visit the Value Unit Converter Tool Web site.

System z IPLA Applicable Terms

Sub-capacity eligible System z IPLA programs are grouped into one of three categories, Execution-Based, Reference-Based or z/OS-Based. Those which are not categorized belong to the default category called 'Full-Machine-Based'. The applicable type of terms per System z IPLA program is determined solely by IBM. Only one type of sub-capacity terms may apply per program.

For a complete listing of the sub-capacity eligible System z IPLA programs and their type of sub-capacity terms, visit the 'IPLA' section of the System z Exhibits Website.

Value Unit Pricing Terms and Conditions

For each System z IPLA program with Value Unit pricing, the quantity of that program needed to satisfy applicable IBM terms and conditions is referred to as the 'required license capacity'. Your required license capacity is based upon the following factors:

Once IPLA OTC license entitlement is purchased for a program it may be cancelled in its entirety, but the entitled license capacity amount cannot be lowered. Even if the required license capacity were to become lower, the entitled license capacity stays at the total of any previously purchased amounts.

Full-Capacity Terms

In cases where full-capacity is applicable, the following terms apply:

Sub-Capacity Terms

In cases where sub-capacity is applicable, the following terms apply:


Additional Information for Products with Reference-Based Terms

System z IPLA programs with reference-based terms add value to the Parent Program across the environment, regardless of where in the environment the System z IPLA program itself executes.

An environment is defined as either a single/stand-alone machine or a qualified Parallel Sysplex. Customers may have one or more different environments across their enterprise. To determine the required license capacity for each System z IPLA program with reference-based terms, each environment should be assessed separately.

When a System z IPLA program with reference-based terms is used in a qualified Parallel Sysplex environment the required license capacity of the System z IPLA program must equal the MSU capacity as described above across the Parallel Sysplex. Qualified Parallel Sysplex refers to one:

  1. That meets the criteria defined announcement letter 198-001, Clarification of Parallel Sysplex Pricing Terms (PDF, 12.6KB)
  2. Where MLC pricing is aggregated across the Sysplex

When there are multiple versions of the Parent Program licensed in the environment, the required license capacity for each sub-capacity eligible Reference-Based program will be based on the total MSU capacity of all the Parent Programs, capped at the z/OS MSU capacity of each machine respectively.

Additional Information for Getting Started Sub-Capacity Pricing Products

Certain System z IPLA sub-capacity programs with Execution-based terms are eligible for Getting Started Sub-Capacity Pricing for z/OS IPLA Software (GSSP). If the eligible GSSP product's utilization within an LPAR is less than an announced threshold, then the MSUs included in the SCRT report for that LPAR will be a proportional fraction of the LPAR utilization. If the product's utilization within an LPAR exceeds the threshold, the traditional LPAR utilization will be used.

The utilization comparison to the threshold will be done on an LPAR by LPAR basis. The MSU value on the SCRT report for an eligible Getting Started product on a machine could be a combination of sub-LPAR Getting Started measurements from some LPARs and traditional LPAR utilization measurements from other LPARs.

Subscription & Support Terms

The Subscription & Support (S&S) agreement for System z programs requires customers to acquire S&S at the same entitlement level as they own IPLA program entitlement, that is, it must match the entitled license capacity for the program. For example, if you own 347 Value Units of OTC entitlement, and you wish to have S&S, then you must acquire 347 Value Units of S&S as well. There is no support for "on the shelf" System z IPLA software.

IPLA Version Migration Grace Period

The IPLA contract states "If the Program is replaced by a trade-up Program, the replaced Program’s license is promptly terminated." This means that theoretically the moment you acquire a new version of a program you lose the right to run the old version. In order to give System z customers time to migrate from one version to the next, in August 2004 IBM announced a version migration "grace period" of 6 months:

If you purchase Subscription & Support for a particular System z IPLA program, you are entitled to no-charge version upgrades for that program. If you have Subscription & Support, you may run multiple versions of the System z IPLA program during a six-month grace period. The grace period begins when the new System z IPLA program is installed in the enterprise. Afterwards, it is expected that you will be migrated to the latest version. If you do not complete your migration within the grace period, IBM reserves the right to recalculate your required license capacity for the System z IPLA program by combining the MSUs of the old version and the new version.

It is IBM's intention that customers finish their migrations within 6 months. Continuing to run both the old and new versions of a program on an ongoing basis without a purchase of sufficient additional entitlement is not allowed.


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