Computer Associates has introduced new usage-based pricing for its mainframe management products, aligning itself with IBM's On Demand model.

All of CA's products for use with IBM's zSeries mainframes and the zOS operating system are now available on a pay-as-you-use basis. CA is following IBM, which introduced a similar pricing model several years ago for some of its products.

"We're validating that the model makes sense for us as well," said Mark Combs, senior vice president of corporate pricing at CA. "We have had requests from customers to consider this model. It is consistent with the move to on-demand computing, consuming resources as needed as opposed to just buying them."

CA's usage-based model, dubbed Measured Workload Pricing, is an extension to the company's FlexSelect licensing program. Customers pay for baseline software use at a set cost, with additional use charged according to a pre-determined scale. Usage is measured using IBM's Sub-Capacity Reporting Tool, or SCRT.

Though CA would not provide actual licensing fees, Combs said the usage-based model does not constitute a price hike or drop. "This is not a price reduction, nor is it a price increase. It is a more flexible way of licensing, one that allows a customer to tie licensing and costs more directly to the value he is receiving," he said.

Along with the introduction of the new licensing model, CA announced 20 packages of software tools that it will license exclusively under the new license. The packages are focused on particular infrastructure management areas such as network management, systems management, job optimisation and storage management.

Measured Workload Pricing is available to new and existing CA customers. Competing offerings are available from vendors including IBM, BMC and Compuware. Not everyone is enamoured with the pay-as-you-go approach however, with some viewing it as little more than hype.