Currently there are several types of support available for the family of IBM Software Products. The following illustration outlines the progression of offerings.

IBM Software Support Handbook

Electronic Support

  All IBM customers are entitled to take advantage of the Electronic Support services available at We offer a vast range of on-line service offerings designed to augment and enhance the value of your IT operation. With these resources and tools, our self-help software support Internet site will meet many of your support needs.

Self Help tools and resources are available to help you use IBM software products successfully. Some Self Help tools are offered as part of the software support contract.

General self-help capabilities include features like:

Support Foundation

  Support Foundation offerings provide comprehensive, high quality remote technical support to your IT organization. Remote technical support allows you to obtain assistance from IBM for suspected defects and product-specific, task-oriented questions regarding the installation and operation of currently supported IBM software products. These offerings do not extend the announced end of service date (program services) and the remote technical support included in this offering will be provided until the end of service date for a product. Support Foundation offerings are not intended as end-user help desk support.

Support Foundation offerings supplement your support staff skills by providing telephone or electronic access to IBM's technical support knowledgebase(s) and technical product specialists.

Assistance provided by Support Foundation offerings

Support Foundation offerings provide:

Support Foundation offerings

Offerings include:

Maintenance acquired through Passport Advantage or Passport Advantage Express

  Passport Advantage and Passport Advantage Express are comprehensive IBM offerings that cover software license acquisition, product upgrades and technical support under a single, common set of agreements, processes and tools. To ensure our customers always have access to the latest version of their software and to remote technical support, Subscription and Support is included in the license acquisition for all distributed software products and is renewable on an annual basis.

Technical support offers customers an integrated technical support solution for IBM distributed software. In addition to the Support Foundation features, the following are also included:

Appendix A includes more information about Passport Advantage and Passport Advantage Express.  Appendix B has instructions for Site Technical Contacts.

IBM's Software Maintenance for System i and System p software

IBM Software Maintenance offerings for System i and System p provide comprehensive coverage for software license acquisition, product upgrades and technical support under a single, common set of agreements, processes and tools. To ensure our customers always have access to the latest version of their software and to remote technical support, Software Maintenance is included in the license acquisition for all System i and System p operating systems and associated software products, and is renewable on an annual basis.

IBM's Software Maintenance for Storage Products

Software maintenance is a must-have for all IBM storage licensed software products. Software Maintenance (SWMA) provides Support & Subscription for all IBM storage licensed software running on IBM storage hardware products. By default, it is bundled with the software license with the initial product sale.

The following list are just a few of the examples of IBM storage products that require SWMA in addition to HW warranty and/or HW MA : include XIV, Storwize V7000, Storwize V5000, the new FlashSystem V840, ProtecTIER editions, SONAS, SAN Volume Controller, etc.

HW MA cannot be used to solution SW issues with your storage products.

IBM Software Secure Support via U.S. Citizens

IIBM Software Support via U.S. Citizens complements the prerequisite IBM Software Maintenance for AIX, IBM Software Maintenance for select AIX LPPs, Support Line for Storage, Support Line for Linux and System z Defect support, by providing standard IBM software support exclusively by U.S. citizens who are located in the United States.

  • IBM provides U.S. Citizen support via telephone, only to your information systems (IS) technical support personnel during prime shift hours of 8AM - 5PM in your time zone, Monday through Friday, excluding national holidays.
  • A Service Request will be created and placed in an incoming queue which is managed and handled by a U.S. citizen. IBM provides assistance for your 1) routine, short duration installation and usage (how-to) questions; and 2) code-related questions ("Support"). Information systems (IS) technical support personnel can open an unlimited number of technical support incidents.
  • Response time objective is within two hours during prime shift hours of coverage for voice problem submissions

There is a corresponding application and middleware offering described in Appendix A.

Program Services

  Program Services is a support element of some IBM products that allows you to report suspected IBM defects to IBM. While Program Services is primarily the purview of zOS, some non-zOS and OS/390 products purchased before 2003 included some form of Program Services, such as the ability to report defects by fax or mail. Check your program license for details.  Program Services do not supply all the elements of Foundation Support, but services as the basis for the services that complete the package.

IBM System z (zOS) software

Program Services support for most Series z/OS products includes remote problem support for defects in IBM code and publications via telephone (voice), and electronic access. This support is available until such time as it is withdrawn with at least 6 months notice via an IBM announcement letter. IBM will provide prime shift, remote technical assistance for IBM defects at no additional cost to you. Support for critical IBM defect problems is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

IBM Subscription & Support offering for selected mainframe products (S&S)

  Some System z products are only sold as one time charge, unlike the recurring charge products that predominate the platform. These products have a separate  subscription and support offering. If purchased, this offering provides for the same level of support as Program Services.  It also includes future releases and versions. Without the support and subscription offering, the only support available is self help from the Internet.

IBM offers Subscription and Support for one time charge mainframe products as a separately purchased offering. This offering:

A third type of product on the Series z platform is one that is intended to be installed and run on any platform. Such products carry the support characteristics of the distributed platforms (described below).

Discontinuance of Program Services

IBM provides program service for most of its software products, as assurance that failures to conform to specifications will be addressed. Thus, discontinuance of program service for the last release in a version of a software product is an indication of IBM’s expectation that customers will not experience disruptions due to program defects. When service is discontinued, corrections to known problems remain available, but the development team is redirected to other work, and no new, tested corrections will be generated for general use. Known problems may be reviewed and ordered via electronic vehicles such as the internet (e.g., However support provided by the IBM Support Center will be discontinued. At discontinuance of program service, associated services terminate as well, e.g. IBM Support Line and SoftwareXcel. The IBM Customer Agreement (for monthly license charge products) provides information on notification requirements for discontinuance of program services.

Distributed platform software products

(System p, System i, System x, Intel and non-IBM platforms)

Products for platforms other than System z do not include program services, but include some level of enhanced services for a period of time. The Support Foundation section outlines these enhanced services.

IBM's Support Line (or equivalent services by country)

  The Support Line offering provides support for those operating systems and associated products that are not available with the Passport Advantage Subscription and Support or Software Maintenance offerings. Having Subscription and Support, Software Maintenance and Support Line will ensure total support coverage for your enterprise needs, including IBM and selected non-IBM products.

Refer to the Supported Products List for the Support Groups and products supported in your geography, at More information is available at Please check with your local country representative to make sure Support is announced in your country. Changes are made periodically to reflect new products added and products that are no longer supported.

IBM's SoftwareXcel for System z customers in the United States

  SoftwareXcel (enterprise edition) provides:

Please refer to for more information.

IBM Canada Layers of Support

IBM Canada has created a table showing the types of support available in the different tiers of support.  This table will help understand what type of support you need to solve a particular type of problem.  See IBM Canada Services Layers.

IBM Selected Support Offering

(support-only offering for designated IBM no-charge and non-IBM products)

The Selected Support offering is available for designated no-charge IBM and non-IBM products. Often support-only offerings are made available for products or offering code that is developed and delivered through the open source community. The open source business model is built on the concept of free and frictionless access to technology with optional paid support. In the open source business model, the product is available at no charge to download and use so customers can begin development, testing and deployment at no cost. The offering code could be available from an IBM website, or from the applicable third party provider.

The Selected Support offerings are purchased via an annual subscription and are available for purchase through Passport Advantage or Passport Advantage Express.

Refer to Appendix A for more detailed offering information.

Designated Programs eligible for Selected Support are listed at:
These Programs currently include things such as:

Premium Support

  Premium Support offerings are services that provide both additional and specialized support on Operating Systems, Applications or Middleware products. Premium Support offerings focus on the vertical depth of support, and feature a personalized relationship with our technical experts, on-site assistance and knowledge transfers as well as horizontal breadth for multi-product and multi-vendor IT environments to maximize IT infrastructure availability.

Premium Support provides:

Premium Support offerings include:

Refer to Appendix A for more information about the availability in your geography.

IBM Account Advocate, for U.S. customers

This optional fee feature provides you with remote telephone or electronic access to an account advocate team which will assist you with coordination and escalation of reported problems for products you have covered by Support Line. Account Advocate support extends to distributed middleware products supported on the operating systems covered by Account Advocate and covered by IBM Subscription and Support. This feature is available during prime shift only. Contact your IBM representative for additional information.

For more information on Account Advocate services and the products to which it applies, visit:

IBM Enhanced Technical Support (ETS) for U.S., Canadian and European customers

Enhanced Technical Support (ETS) offers an integrated approach for proactive, coordinated support for multi-product and multi-vendor IT environments, including Hardware, Software, Application, Middleware, Server and Storage platforms, on top of standard annuity support offerings, to meet the increasing needs for higher IT infrastructure availability at an effective cost.

ETS provides proactive recommendations and guidance to pre-empt problems, and enhanced problem management to improve availability across the whole HW & SW IT infrastructure.

ETS services are built around three value propositions:

ETS covers common IT infrastructure support, including IBM Server and Storage platforms, IBM Middleware and strategic OEM products, like Linux and Microsoft.

ETS offers several enhanced priority support capabilities on top of the standard basic support offerings such as HW & SW Maintenance, Support Line, and Passport Advantage.

For more information on ETS and additional support services visit
US & Canada:

IBM Software Accelerated Value Program

The perfect complement to the IBM software behind your mission-critical applications and high-availability solutions are IBM's Guidance and Optimization Services. Our capabilities expand from advisory services known as the Software Accelerated Value Program and managed business solutions, to enhanced support and extended support services and skill transfer. Depending on the level of services selected, you decide when and where our software experts take over and provide assistance for a successful deployment or implementation or manage the full lifecycle of your projects. Our tiered offering levels provide flexibility in building a partnership with IBM. In turn, that partnership assists you with preventative actions, delivering smooth interoperability management, and overcoming implementation barriers for new technology. 

The key to building this partnership is through our Accelerated Value Leader and Accelerated Value Specialist. 

Additional services available depending on level of services purchased:

You can purchase the IBM Software Accelerated Value Program for many IBM products. A list of the products covered can be found at:

For more information on IBM Software Accelerated Value Program contact the Sales Specialist for your region.  or email:

Visit our Website.

IBM Custom Technical Support for System I and System p operating system software

Custom Technical Support for System i and System p software provides customers with an additional specialized proactive support, enhanced problem management and performance reports, and an assigned Technical Solutions Manager on AIX and i5/OS Operation Systems. This service:

Refer to Appendix A for more information about the availability in your geography.

Further IBM Premium Support Services for customers in Japan and the Asia Pacific region

Further Premium Support Services are available in Asia Pacific and Japan at an additional fee. Most of these offerings provide you with an integrated problem management approach, on-site assistance, faster response times and/or extended preventive/proactive services.

For more information on availability and additional support services, contact the IBM representative for your region.

Custom Requirements

  Custom Requirements services are optional services that are available to you for an additional fee. They can be customized to fit your individual needs. Designed to provide additional value, these offerings are aimed at clients who run business critical systems, need high availability and need to minimize system downtime. The offerings are focused on the client's environment, are often proactive so as to focus on problem avoidance and are tailored to meet the needs of each client and their environment.

Complete information about IBM's Support Family of Services for most countries can be found on the Internet at:

Support Without a Contract

  Electronic Support

The most basic form of support is to use IBM's Electronic Support provided via the Internet. We offer a vast range of on-line options and services designed to augment and enhance the value of your IT operation. With these resources and tools, our support sites are likely to meet most of your needs.

For Electronic Support on operating systems, middleware, programming languages, and most application software the IBM Software Support homepage is available at .

  Product Warranty and Program Services Support

For most IBM Mainframe platform software products, you are entitled to report IBM defects during normal business hours (and offshift for critical problems) by voice or electronic and will receive assistance in identifying the source of the IBM defect, as long as the product release is current.   Should the problem turn out to be a defect in IBM code, we will issue defect correction information, a restriction, or a bypass per the IBM Customer Agreement (the document that covers mainframe software).  Beyond the self help provided via the Internet,  Installation support, problem source identification support (beyond IBM defect) and support for Q&As is delivered as part of fee services.  As long as the product is current, you are entitled to receive fixes for defects and release upgrades.

Most IBM Distributed (non-S/390) platform software is provided with the first year of Subscription and Support included, giving you the ability to report suspected defects electronically (where available), by phone and/or via forum (where available), get installation and Q&A support, fixes for IBM defects, and product release and version upgrades.  If you elect to not renew the Subscription and Support when it expires, your support is limited to self help from the internet.