IBM billing methods

There are two pricing categories framed in an IBM contract:

  • ICA (IBM Customer Agreement) which includes the MLC Software, Monthly License Charge including licenses and support fees for the base running the IT System as z/OS, DB2, IMVS,CICS, MQ, etc… The customer has to choose the MLC pricing metric depending on its Mainframe environment: AWLC, AEWLC, WLC, EWLC, MWLC, zNALC, zELC and PSLC or now CMLC as Country Mulitplex Licence Charge. The retained unit will be the MSU (Million Service Units).
  • IPLA (International Product License Agreement) for IPLA products such as Application, Data or Systems Management Tools. The pricing is OTC (One Time Charge) + yearly Support & Subscription Charges. The retained unit will be the VU (Value Unit).

Generally, these two contracts are included in an Enterprise Agreement such as ELA, OIO, ESSO.

Most Enterprises are running under vWLC (before z196 server) or AWLC (z196, zEC12 and z13) and IPLA including or not a Sysplex Aggregation (see below). Some of them use now CMLC.

CMLC (using CMP as Country Multiplex Pricing) allows combining products from multiple LPARs in different sites within one country without the requirement for a parallel sysplex (PSLC Rule of 50%):

  • CMP is designed to reduce the cost of growth
  • The Baseline: the last 3 months MSUs and software bills are averaged and those values are used to create baselines
  • This Baseline will determine the future bills.

Both aWLC and CMLC have the same terms. AWLC includes discount due to the Technology Dividends (look at “AWLC Technology Transition Offerings” in the AWLC IBM web page).


Parallel Sysplex License Charge is a billing method which allows aggregating the product billed capacity across more than one server. You must validate that your biggest Sysplex environment across several CPCs or servers consumes more than 50% of the full consumption of each server. The validation tool is named PLEXCALC and the terms are described here.