AWS Official Blog

IBM Software Available on EC2 With Pay-As-You-Go Licensing Model

by Jeff Barr | on | | Comments

We’ve teamed up with IBM to provide software developers with pay-as-you-go access to development and production versions of IBM Information Management database servers, IBM Lotus content management, and IBM WebSphere portal and middleware products, all running on Novell’s SUSE Linux on Amazon EC2.

There’s a lot to say, so I’ll summarize the key points up front before diving in. First, development AMIs are now available at the new IBM Cloud Space on developerWorks. Second, you can bring your existing licenses into the cloud. Third, hourly pricing for the production versions of each product will be published sometime soon.


Existing IBM customers can use the licenses they’ve already bought while still taking advantage of the elastic nature of AWS to handle spikes and peaks. These licenses retain their value and can be used to handle steady state processing needs, with more licenses available (on an hourly basis) in the cloud for peak times. This clean and innovative new model should clear up some of the uncertainty which can cause potential users to think twice before jumping in to cloud computing. A new IBM PVU (Processor Value Unit) table will map between PVUs and the full set of available EC2 instance types. See our new IBM partner page for details.


The following products will be available in AMI (Amazon Machine Image) form:

  • IBM DB2 – A database server designed to handle demanding workloads, featuring scaling to handle high volume transaction processing, automatic compression, optimized XML storage, and lots more. Get started here.
  • IBM Informix Dynamic Server – IBM’s flagship database for industrial-strength, embedded computing. Featuring blazing online transaction processing (OLTP) performance, legendary reliability, and nearly hands-free administration. Get started here.
  • IBM Lotus Web Content Management Standard Edition – End-to-end web content management for internet, intranet, extranet, and portal sites. Get started here.
  • IBM WebSphere sMash – A development and runtime environment for agile development of Web 2.0-style applications using SOA principles. Get started here.
  • IBM WebSphere Portal Server – A runtime server and tools (among other features) that can be used to create a single customized interface for a collection of enterprise applications, combining components, applications, processes, and content from a variety of sources. Get started here.

If you are an ISV (Independent Software Vendor) developing a service that will be commercially available, you are eligible to access these AMIs at no charge (other than the usual EC2 charges, plus nominal setup and monthly fees) for development purposes, via IBM developerWorks. Everything that you’ll need to get started can be found in the new Cloud Computing Resource Center. You may also want to read the white paper, IBM’s Perspective on Cloud Computing.

As someone who once programmed IBM mainframes using 80 column punched cards, this is a pretty exciting announcement. Developers now have easy access to IBM’s line of robust, industrial strength software products and can build highly scalable applications which take full advantage of the new and flexible licensing model. Questions about commercial software licenses (and their applicability to the cloud) come up at almost every one of my speaking engagements! I’m happy to be able to point to IBM as an example of a software vendor with a licensing model which is cloud-aware and cloud-friendly.

I also think that this announcement really highlights EC2’s inherent flexibility. Customers can bring their existing code and software licenses into the cloud and can deploy it without having to pay any up-front licensing costs.

— Jeff;