Friday, December 21, 2012

Much ado about Nothing . . . euh . . . FWLC

I was going to write my year review, yes there's one coming up and I wanted to refer to the FWLC price raise that IBM announced a couple of months ago. But now I see this story popping up again in other year reviews and I do not totally agree with everything I read. I might be looking at this from a more European, or even Benelux, point of view, but still . . .

When I first read the articles and all the excitement about an announcement of a 10% price raise for FWLC softwares (American version 2012 (312-129)), I just thought : no big deal, we had ours last year (EMEA version 2011 (ZA11-1013)) that also bluntly announced that 10% raise. 'Oh well', I thought 'most of the mainframe watchers are focused on American announcements, they just missed this one here in Europe'. I also noticed they did not interpret the announcement all that correctly but what the heck. As I already said : much ado about nothing. I'll tell you why in a minute. But then in December there was another European announcement (ZA12-1087) once again announcing a 10% raise on all FWLC software. Hey, that's adding up to let's say 20%. So I started searching the announcements and found out that there had been the exact same announcement for the United States in January 2011 (311-002). Why no one mentioned it back then ? I don't know.

But why am I not al that worried about it ?

First of all FWLC is a pricing mechanism which has a flat monthly rate per server independent of its capacity. But, perhaps more important, it's only applicable to let's say Enterprise Class machines and sysplex pricing : VWLC and AWLC for most customers nowadays.
Customers on smaller systems having EWLC and AEWLC pricing do not even have FWLC pricing. So when I read that customers that are still on older machines running this old software are the first victims of this, I tend to disagree. These are usually small customers who do no longer update their systems ànd who are usually on small systems, hence, nót having FWLC pricing. So who stays : large customers and sysplex customers. But there again it will only be the larger customers as smaller customers who run sysplexes on BC machines are often cheaper off paying each machine separately with EWLC or AEWLC pricing.
Since this mainly effects larger customers I cannot imagine that lots of those customers, who still invest largely in mainframe technology will have many of these older softwares running.

Secondly, what about the 10% price raise ? Well, I checked it and it's actually correct. Customers will see a 10% price raise on their software stack . . . at least on their FWLC softwares. So, when I read in some year review that software prices for mainframe customers will raise with 10%, that is definitely not the case.  I've checked a number of software stacks and the maximum percentage of FWLC software I found for a customer was about 4% of the total bill. So . . . in reality we're speaking of a raise on the total bill of maximum 0.4% instead of 10%. Hey, now I can even live with the 20% I just mentioned.

So, you know I usually can be critical about price 'changes' by IBM, but not really about this one. Unless the American market is entirely different. But then again why did no one mention it last year ?

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