The retail IT infrastructure is a very peculiar environment to manage, particularly with regards to the point of service (POS) devices. By its very nature, the retail business is characterized by a multitude of end point devices spread across diverse geographical locations, with the IT admins always vying for centralized management of their point of service landscape.
At SUSE, we have been particularly observant of these specific challenges in the retail environment and have historically addressed these with two separate offerings: SUSE Linux Enterprise Point of Service and SUSE Manager.
The SUSE Linux Enterprise Point of Service (SLEPOS) operating system was tailored specifically to address the needs of the retail industry. With its 3-tiered layered architecture of the admin server, branch server and point of service terminal components, SLEPOS provided centralized management and administration of POS server and image builds, as well as eased the deployment of updates to the POS environment.
The addition of SUSE Manager into the retailers’ IT environment ensured that they could comprehensively manage their IT assets. Particularly in the context of POS devices, they could automate software, patch and configuration management, with added capabilities for system provisioning and monitoring.
However, our constant endeavor to provide the best-in-class solutions to the retail industry led us into combining the capabilities of SUSE Manager and SLEPOS into a single offering: SUSE Manager for Retail. The retail customers will now only need a single stack to manage and administer their POS landscape. The SUSE Manager for Retail solution has the following components:
1. SUSE Manager Server – The SUSE Manager Server will be enriched with the functionalities of the erstwhile SLEPOS Administration Server. Whether it is about storing all system information or holding the master repository for the images required to boot and configure the POS terminals or providing the utilities required to build those images, the SUSE Manager Server will manage it all.
2. SUSE Manager for Retail Branch Server – The SUSE Manager Proxy will be enriched with the erstwhile SLEPOS Branch Server functionalities to form the SUSE Manager for Retail Branch Server component. This component will be able to boot the POS clients from the local network, register new client devices at the site and distribute operating system image updates to the client devices.
3. SLEPOS Clients – The end point devices running the SUSE Linux Enterprise Point of Service operating system image.
I am sure at this point you would be thinking: What happens to SLEPOS now?
SLEPOS goes from being a 3-tiered stack to a standalone operating system for the point of service client devices. This naturally implies that the SLEPOS Administration Server and Branch server components will be discontinued going forward and any future SLEPOS releases will only refer to the SLEPOS Clients.
We will, however, continue to support our SLEPOS 11 SP3 customers till March, 2022.
SUSE Manager for Retail 3.1
The current release of the SUSE Manager for Retail solution is the 3.1 version. This release is a partial integration of SUSE Manager and SLEPOS. This implies that while from a functionality perspective, it is completely identical to what is available today with SUSE Manager and SLEPOS individually, but from a product perspective, the SUSE Manager for Retail 3.1 installation still involves installation of SUSE Manager (server and proxy) and SLEPOS (administration and branch server patterns) components individually. For installation instructions please refer to the documentation available at https://www.suse.com/documentation/suse-manager-for-retail/index.html.
The development of a fully integrated SUSE Manager for Retail solution is on going and with future releases we will have achieved a complete integration of SUSE Manager and SLEPOS functionalities, wherein the installation of SUSE Manager for Retail solution would imply installation of only 3 components:
1. SUSE Manager Server
2. SUSE Manager for Retail Branch Server
3. SLEPOS Clients
I will soon update you with migration options to the new SUSE Manager based stack for our point of service solution.
For further details, do not forget to tune in to our webcast on Wednesday, 8th November 2017. Here are the details of the webcast:
Title: Intelligent In-Store Computing