What we offer for licensing

Get an overview of IBM Z® software licensing, including MLC, zIPLA, sub-capacity, sysplex and more. Explore these options for IBM software products that run on the mainframe below.

MLC licensing

What is Monthly License Charge (MLC)?

MLC is a recurring charge that is applied monthly. It includes the right to use the product and provides access to IBM product support during the support period. Select an MLC pricing metric, based on your goals and environment. The selected metric will be used to price MLC products, such as z/OS®, z/TPF, z/VSE®, middleware, compilers and selected systems management tools and utilities.

zIPLA licensing

What are the benefits of zIPLA licensing?

International Program License Agreement (IPLA) programs have a one-time-charge (OTC) and an optional annual maintenance charge, called Subscription & Support. This annual charge includes access to IBM technical support and enables you to obtain version upgrades at no charge for products that generally fall under the zIPLA such as app development tools, CICS tools, data management tools, WebSphere® for Z products, Linux® on IBM Z middleware and z/VM® Version 4 and later.

Common pricing metrics

Value Unit (VU) pricing is the most common pricing metric for IPLA software on the mainframe. Processor Value Unit pricing, under the Passport Advantage software licensing program, is a per-engine charge primarily used for Linux on IBM Z middleware products.

Sub-capacity licensing

What is sub-capacity licensing?

Sub-capacity licensing includes software charges for certain IBM products based on the utilization capacity of the logical partitions (LPARs) on which the product runs. Learn about the contractual terms and conditions, procedures to follow and sub-capacity licensing rules.

Sysplex licensing

What is Sysplex licensing?

IBM allows monthly software licenses to be aggregated across a qualified Parallel Sysplex®. Use the document below to review the hardware, software, operation and verification criteria to be considered “actively coupled.”

Programmer's guide

Create a Sysplex that delivers availability and systems management cost savings.

Sysplex calculator

See if you qualify for aggregation by analyzing SMF data from multiple machines.

Verification package

Notify IBM when you build a new Parallel Sysplex to qualify for aggregated pricing.

z/OS Parallel Sysplex configuration

Get advice to meet performance, capacity and availability requirements.

Merging systems into a Sysplex

Read what to consider when merging systems into the closely integrated environment of a Sysplex.

Why Parallel Sysplex?

Harness the power of many z/OS systems, yet make these systems behave like a single, logical computing facility.

You may also be interested in


See recent news and explore guides, education modules and exhibits.


Use the toolkits to discover selected pricing options.


Get help finding, downloading and using pricing tools and more.