The basics of understanding IBM licensing

If you do not have affinity with technical stuff, explanations of software licensing could be really hard to understand. At first, I did not know anything about software or software licensing. The explanations on the internet were no fun for me to read. But know I work quite a while and do understand the software licensing world a lot more. Now, I want to help others in need. Who suddenly need to know what IBM licensing is (in great lines), if your supervisor wants you to know stuff about IBM licensing, I will give you a brief and readable explanation, especially for you who does not know anything about IBM licensing!

What is IBM

At first, it is nice to know what is IBM. No, it is not exactly the type of license (I know you thought that for a few seconds). It is a company. And not just a company. It is one of the biggest IT companies and software publishers in the whole wide world. It has offices in more than 160 different countries. IBM is also called Big Blue. The company is famous because of their first IBM Personal Computer. Nowadays, the company is concerned with (among other things):

  • Cloud services
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Business IT and Consulting
  • Business Process Outsourcing
  • Several outsourcing services
  • Finance
  • IT-projects
  • Hardware, and also Software
  • Hardware and Software maintenances
  • Applications development and maintenance of these apps
  • Education
  • And Business Continuity and Recovery Services 

So, a mouth full of words.

How about IBM licensing

It completely understandable that you do not fully understand IBM licensing. What makes it so difficult to understand for most people, is that each software product has got its own specific licensing metrics and methodologies to measure the consumption of it.

IBM sells software licenses (IBM licensing) via different licensing programs. The most common used licenses are the following ones: Passport Advantage and Passport Advantage Express. If your company has software which are obtained by one of these programs, than the software is part of IBM International Passport Advantage Agreement (which could also be called as IPAA), or it is part of the International Passport Advantage Express Agreement (which is also called as IPAEA). 

Is it your first IBM license? Then you must know that the initial license includes (almost every time) a base license and a first-year support. These are called a Software Subscription and Support. After purchasing your new software license from IBM, you can choose to renew the IBM Software Subscription and Support. If you want to keep getting all the benefits of the software license (and of course also including the technical support), you have to renew both each year.

For now, I think you have received enough information for today. Let it sink in first, and if you understood this blog, you should definitely type in Google: ‘’IBM licensing B-lay’’. There you find a complete explanation, and in my experience and opinion: very easy to read and even quiet easy to understand (I used it for myself to gain information about software licensing from IBM and Oracle).