IBM to cut z/OS software prices

IBM is cutting prices on its z/OS mainframe software by up to 30% for certain categories of users and introducing changes to its...

IBM is cutting prices on its z/OS mainframe software by up to 30% for certain categories of users and introducing changes to its Workload Licence Charge (WLC) model.

From 1 July, corporations with large mainframe installations - 5,000 million instructions per second (MIPS) or more - will see z/OS software prices drop by 30%, while those with more than 3,300 MIPS will see z/OS-related middleware prices rolled back by 20%, Peter McCaffrey, a director with IBM's zSeries group, said.

IBM is also tweaking its WLC software pricing model, particularly the way z/OS workloads are measured for pricing purposes. Under the existing model, users must define the system capacity they think they will need to handle a particular workload. Usage is then measured using a four-hour rolling average.

Users have indicated that this approach is far more equitable than previous capacity models in which users paid for software based on the overall size of the system. The problem, however, is that if the average usage in a four-hour period exceeds the licensed capacity, performance degradations and unwanted software bills can result.

"There were many installations where the sum of the defined capacities was larger than the size of the machine," said Al Sherkow, president of I/S Management Strategies.

In such cases, pricing was based on the overall size of the machine resulting in no cost savings, Sherkow said.

Under the new model, users will not have to define any capacity upfront but will be charged based on actual average use over a four-hour period. Users can still opt for a defined capacity model if they choose, McCaffrey said.

Instead of having to work under a fixed migration schedule, corporations can also choose when they want to move from IBM's existing Parallel Sysplex Licence Charge (PSLC) model to the WLC, McCaffrey said.

"We are improving our software pricing options in a way that we think will deliver more flexibility, choice and additional value for our high-end customers," McCaffrey said.

"The changes do not decrease the need for installations to implement software capacity planning as an extension to their hardware capacity planning," he added.

Meanwhile, on the hardware front, IBM has introduced faster processors across its line of z900 servers to boost value for money and performance. The company is selling 16 new models of its z900 mainframe systems offering up to 20% greater performance than current models.

The company is also offering a new option called Customer Initiated Upgrade, which makes it more efficient for customers to upgrade their hardware, McCaffrey said.

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