What we offer for licensing

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

Understand MVM

Learn about reporting and charging and options for migrating and transitioning.

What is Monthly License Charge (MLC)?

MLC is a recurring charge that is applied monthly. This charge includes the right to use the product and provides access to IBM product support during the support period. An IBM pricing metric establishes both the prices and the applicable terms and conditions for IBM software products. IBM offers a variety of MLC pricing metrics to meet the diverse needs of our mainframe customers.

Get started

Select an MLC pricing metric, based on your goals and/or your 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.

Benefits of zIPLA programs

International Program License Agreement (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.

Products that generally fall under the zIPLA

  • Application Development tools
  • CICS tools
  • Data Management tools
  • WebSphere for z Systems products
  • z Systems Linux middleware products
  • z/VM Version 4 and later

Common pricing metrics

Value Unit pricing

Value Unit (VU) pricing is the most common pricing metric for IPLA software on the mainframe.

Processor Value Unit

Processor Value Unit pricing, under the Passport Advantage software licensing program, is a per-engine charge primarily used for Linux on Z middleware products.

What is sub-capacity?

Sub-capacity is software charges for certain IBM products based on the utilization capacity of the logical partitions (LPARs) on which the product runs.

Steps for sub-capacity reporting

  1. Customer submits their report to IBM by the 9th of the month for the prior month's data collection period (e.g. Aug 2 to Sept 1).
  2. IBM receives and processes monthly sub-capacity report, updating billing based upon the reported utilization.
  3. Customer receives system generated invoice on the first of the following month based upon reported utilization from the submitted month.


Learn about the licensing and pricing rules

In addition to an explanation of the contractual terms and conditions there are also different procedures to follow for certain circumstances (such as machine upgrades) and some information about the technology which forms the basis for the sub-capacity licensing rules.

Learn about Sysplex licensing

IBM allows monthly license charge software licenses to be aggregated across a qualified Parallel Sysplex when certain criteria are met.

To qualify, machines must comply with the criteria in each of the following four categories: hardware, software, operation and verification. Machines that meet all of the criteria are known as “actively coupled.” Please use the document below to access the details for each of these categories.

Additional resources

Systems Programmer’s guide

Create a Sysplex environment that delivers both the availability and systems management benefits of Parallel Sysplex and the cost savings that can be achieved through the exploitation of Sysplex aggregation.

Verification package

Notify IBM when you build a new Parallel Sysplex which qualifies for aggregated pricing. IBM may require verification of these criteria by completing this package.

Sysplex calculator

This no-charge, downloadable tool helps you assess whether your Parallel Sysplex qualifies for aggregation. Analyze SMF data from two or more machines and produce a report describing to which Parallel Sysplex each machine belongs.

Parallel Sysplex overview

With IBM's Parallel Sysplex technology, you can harness the power of up to 32 z/OS systems, yet make these systems behave like a single, logical computing facility.

OS/390 Parallel Syplex configuration

Get assistance in making the key hardware and software choices necessary to meet your performance, capacity, and availability requirements.

Merging systems into a Sysplex

Plan for merging systems into a Sysplex and the many things to consider when merging independent systems into the more closely integrated environment of a Sysplex.

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