IBM License Agreement – What You Need to Know

Understanding IBM license agreements is crucial for compliance and effective software management:

  • Client Relationship Agreement (CRA): This covers most IBM offerings, including products and services, offering flexibility for adding new offerings without starting a new agreement.
  • International License Agreements (ILAs): These govern the licensing of IBM’s software portfolio, primarily through the International Program License Agreement (IPLA), which applies to most IBM programs.

IBM License Agreements – Understanding the CRA and ILA

ibm contracts

IBM Client Relationship Agreement (CRA)

ibm cra

The CRA is a family of agreements that cover most of IBM’s offerings, including machines, products, programs, and services.

It replaces the IBM Customer Agreement (ICA) for most clients, although some may still be under the terms of the ICA.

One of the key benefits of the CRA is its flexibility. The various members of the CRA family exist as attachments, meaning clients can add new offerings to their agreements without starting from scratch.

This makes it easier for clients to do business with IBM and to scale their usage of IBM’s offerings as their needs evolve.

What’s included in the CRA?

The CRA is a comprehensive agreement that covers a wide range of IBM offerings. Some of the critical elements of the CRA include:

  • Definitions.
    A clear set of definitions to help clients understand the terms and conditions of the agreement.
  • Term and Termination.
    The length of the agreement and the circumstances under which it can be terminated.
  • Ordering and Delivery.
    The process for ordering IBM’s offerings and the terms governing delivery.
  • Warranty and Support.
    The warranties offered by IBM and the support services available to clients.
  • Fees and Payment.
    The fees charged for IBM’s offerings and the payment terms.

IBM International License Agreements (ILAs)

IBM International License Agreements (ILAs)

The ILAs are a set of agreements that govern the licensing of IBM’s software portfolio. The primary agreement is the International Program License Agreement (IPLA), which applies to all IBM programs except mainframe programs licensed on a Monthly License Charge basis.

The IPLA is updated periodically, with version 15 released in October 2021. This version applies to new licenses, updates, fixes, and trade-ups. Customers licensed before October 2021 will still be governed by version 14 of the IPLA.

What’s included in the IPLA?

ibm What’s included in the IPLA

The IPLA is a complex agreement that covers many aspects of IBM’s software licensing. Some of the critical elements of the IPLA include:

  • Agreement Structure.
    This section explains that the agreement comprises the IPLA, the LI document, and the Proof of Entitlement. All three must be consulted to thoroughly understand the licensing terms and conditions relating to the program.
  • License Grant.
    This section details the conditions upon which the client may use the program. Part (f) Handles the restrictions to use for programs obtained as Supporting Programs.
  • Charges.
    This section explains that the charge for the license is based on the Authorized Use, which is specified in the associated Proof of Entitlement for the program. Increases beyond the current Authorized Use must be paid before exceeding the current level.
  • Compliance Verification.
    This section sets out the client’s responsibilities to create and maintain records of their use of the Eligible Programs and gives IBM the right to perform an audit to check a client’s compliance with the IPLA terms.
  • Resolution.
    This section sets out what is expected of the client if a compliance verification activity determines that the use of the program is more than the client’s Authorized Use.

The Client Relationship Agreement and International License Agreement are two important agreements that govern your relationship with IBM.

By understanding these agreements and their terms and conditions, you can ensure you get the most out of IBM’s offerings while complying with the company’s licensing requirements.

If you need help with your IBM licensing, our experts at Redress Compliance are here to help. Contact us today!


  • Fredrik Filipsson

    Fredrik Filipsson brings two decades of Oracle license management experience, including a nine-year tenure at Oracle and 11 years in Oracle license consulting. His expertise extends across leading IT corporations like IBM, enriching his profile with a broad spectrum of software and cloud projects. Filipsson's proficiency encompasses IBM, SAP, Microsoft, and Salesforce platforms, alongside significant involvement in Microsoft Copilot and AI initiatives, improving organizational efficiency.

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