SUSE Manager for Retail 3.2 now available: Lowering Costs and Optimizing Retail Operations
Before I introduce you to the new SUSE Manager for Retail 3.2 offering, let me walk you through the journey of how SUSE has evolved its offerings for the retail environment.
We have moved away from just an image management paradigm with the legacy SUSE Linux Enterprise Point of Service offering to a comprehensively managed end-point paradigm with SUSE Manager for Retail.
Legacy SUSE Linux Enterprise Point of Service
Traditionally the solution SUSE offered for the point of service (POS) environments was SUSE Linux Enterprise Point of Service, or SLEPOS as we call it.
SLEPOS was a 3-tiered solution, with 3 separate components;
We offered the SLEPOS Admin Server, which was ideally installed in a central location. This was a central point for basic management of the point of service infrastructure. It hosted an LDAP database to store configuration information for the point of service client devices and the branch server. Among other things it also provided the tools for creation and customization of system images, as well as storing of those system images for distribution to the branch servers and the point of service terminals. There was usually 1 Admin Server in the entire environment.
Then the next component was the SLEPOS Branch Server. An ideal environment included 1 Branch Server in the back office of every store, and provided the network boot and system management infrastructure for the point of service terminals.
Finally there were the SLEPOS Clients. These were the customized operating system images for the point of service terminals themselves.
A lot of our current customers, the big retailers, are still using this 3-tiered SLEPOS stack. However, retailers strongly expressed the need to have a unified solution for management of their data center and store infrastructure. Something that will help them optimize their operating costs.
This was a core driver for us to enhance our offering which was targeted to this market, which is why we introduced SUSE Manager into the mix.
SUSE Manager for Retail
What we offer our customers now, is a product which provides them the ability to manage their traditional data center infrastructure and at the same time is optimized to manage the store IT infrastructure (including the servers and point of service terminals).
This product is called SUSE Manager for Retail.
In a nutshell, what we have done is, we have taken the feature-set which SLEPOS Admin and Branch Server had to offer and added those functionalities in SUSE Manager. Effectively, SUSE Manager has been enhanced with a feature set that is relevant and tailored to retailers. Going forward, we will continue to add on top of SUSE Manager’s core features and optimize the product for use in retail environments.
SUSE Manager for Retail is simplified and has only 2 main components:
- A central SUSE Manager Server
- SUSE Manager for Retail Branch Server (which can be installed in the back offices of every store).
With SUSE Manager for Retail 3.1 we did not completely replace the SLEPOS Admin and Branch servers with SUSE Manager. That full integration has been achieved with SUSE Manager for Retail 3.2.
What we delivered with SUSE Manager for Retail 3.1 was a close integration between traditional SLEPOS and SUSE Manager. We enabled the customers to install the SLEPOS Branch Server and SUSE Manager Proxy on the same host in the store environment -Something which was not available earlier. We packaged them as one product: SUSE Manager for Retail 3.1. With this packaging customers were still required to install SUSE Manager and SLEPOS as separate products.
Today we are we pleased to announce our first fully integrated release, SUSE Manager for Retail 3.2.
SUSE Manager for Retail 3.2
This product delivers best-in-class open source infrastructure management, optimized and tailored specifically for the retail industry. It is designed to help retailers reduce costs, optimize operations and ensure compliance in their environment. It provides a reliable, flexible and open platform for managing point of service and point of sale terminals, kiosks, self-service systems and reverse-vending systems.
The following are the retail optimizations that have been built on top of the core functionalities of SUSE Manager 3.2, to deliver SUSE Manager for Retail 3.2:
- Simple and flexible image building – To help the retailers more quickly build customized images for their POS terminals, thereby saving them time and money. Through the SUSE Manager UI retailers can now setup an image build host and build customized images or leverage pre-build image templates to setup their POS systems.
- Formulas with Forms – To quickly and efficiently setup retail store servers. We are leveraging the forms-based framework of SUSE Manager to configure key services such as DHCP, DNS, PXE, TFTP and FTP, on the store server. The store server could then provide the network boot and systems management infrastructure for the point of service terminals in the store.
The store server can be configured in several different configurations:
- If the store server has a dedicated network interface card and terminals use an isolated internal branch network, then in this configuration, the store server manages the internal network and provides DHCP, DNS, PXE, FTP and TFTP services.
- If the store server shares a network with the terminals, and provides a connection to the central server, then in this configuration the store server is not required to manage a net-work (DHCP and DNS services). Instead it acts as a PXE boot server and provides FTP and TFTP services.
It is important to note that SUSE Manager for Retail 3.2 is built on the latest release of SUSE Manager.
Here is how SUSE Manager for Retail 3.2 will prove beneficial in a retailer’s environment:
- Reduce bandwidth costs, minimize resource needs and ease deployment with the SUSE Manager for Retail Branch Server – This allows the product to easily scale larger environments
- Improve operational efficiencies by providing easy automation of repetitive tasks without the need for advanced scripting skills via re-usable action chains.
- Ensure retailer can meet their business’ compliance requirements, by monitoring and patching devices and container-based workloads to the latest security and patch levels.
- Easily manage complexity with the extended capabilities in our easy to use forms-based UI. This allows administrators to define/model even more complex configurations, helping ensure more consistent and repeatable installations and deployments of those complex retail configurations.
Learn more about SUSE Manager and SUSE Manager for Retail at: