Informing the IBM Community

Act Fast IBM have announced a SWMA Amnesty


For five long years I’ve been telling anyone at IBM who would listen that we need a SWMA Amnesty, well that time has come but it’s not going to be here for long so if you want to save thousands of £/€/$ you need to act now!

And talking of now, now more than ever you need to keep your systems patched and running on supported versions of IBM i.  If you don’t you are just asking to get hacked and worse fined! As regulations like GDPR and PCI-DSS can place fines upon you that would make even Bill Gates’ wallet wince.

What do I need to do now?

It’s easy, just ask yourself the following Yes or No Questions:

  • Do you already have SWMA?
  • Are you running on a supported version of IBM i? (As at this moment that is 7.4, 7.3 & 7.2) 
  • Have you installed PTFs on your system in the last six months?

If all three answers were yes, then contact me, I will send a gold star as you are my #IBMiSuperStars.  If you answered No to any, then just contact your friendly IBM Business Partner and they will sort you out with SWMA, upgrades and PTFs.

If for any reason your Business Partner is not friendly, just contact me and I will point you in the right direction.

What the heck is he talking about?

Just as a bit of background, let me explain a few terms and how this works, if you know this already, feel free to skip on to the terms and conditions section below.

IBM has an annual charge for their software maintenance (SWMA) for IBM i, this maintenance gives you access to IBM support, fixes, new functions and features (in the form of PTFs) and of course free upgrades to newer IBM i releases.

What you may not realise is that if you stop paying this SWMA, then when you re-join the programme there is an additional fee, this fee is called a Maintenance After Licence fee or MAL for short.

This MAL fee is often the equivalent of 2 years SWMA and is designed to stop IBM i users from opting out of support for IBM i in years when they do not plan to upgrade. 

I can see the logic behind this but it does tend to cause a trap whereby those who let their SWMA lapse or who have inherited systems with lapsed SWMA, find it hard to justify the cost of re-joining the SWMA programme.

One way to avoid the MAL fee is if you purchase a POWER server from IBM (even a 2nd user model). In this case not only can you waive this extra fee but also get a reduced rate on the first SWMA contract you take with it, these contracts can be 90 days, 1 year or 3 years, with the latter offering you the best value.

Another time IBM do not levy this MAL fee is during so called “Amnesties”. These tends to be a short promotional period, designed to get such customers back on board without the punitive cost. 

Terms and conditions

Here are the terms and conditions IBM have released for you to qualify for the Amnesty:

  • Valid between April 1, 2020 through August 31, 2020.
  • Executed contract must be submitted to IBM for registration on or before 31st August 2020.
  • Where the effective service(s) start date is on or before 31st August 2020.
  • This offer is only valid for IBM Power or Storage software maintenance contracts which expired prior to 31st March 2020.
  • SWMA lapses in coverage less than 90 days do not qualify.
  • ProtecTIER products which reach end of support later this year do not qualify.
  • Minimum 1 year term.

i-UG Goes Virtual

Our next User Group Meeting has been moved online, and by attending for free, you will be able to help us to raise money for The NHS Together charity.  For more details check out

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