Tony Espley, Technical Consultant, Data Center, Managed Services at PCMS Group plc said, “In the retail industry, delivering streamlined, high-quality checkout services is a key priority, and our VBS solutions are designed with the customer experience in mind.
“One crucial but often overlooked element of POS solutions is the server platform for the stack. Selecting the optimal platform is vital, as it will ultimately determine the manageability, stability and overall performance of the POS solution—and the experience of customers who interact with it on their retail journey.”
Arcadia Group—the largest privately owned fashion retailer in the UK—engaged PCMS to deploy a fresh POS solution across its entire retail landscape. PCMS realized that the demands on the underlying server platform would be unusually high.
Andrew Clarke, Group IT Director at Arcadia Group said: “We operate numerous brands and a footprint of hundreds of stores across the United Kingdom alone. In addition to implementing an aggressive strategy for international expansion, we are also in the process of consolidating our store landscape.
“When we began scoping the VBS implementation project, we realized that fast and effective change management in the POS arena would be essential. If we decided to consolidate two brands in a single store, or to open a variety of new stores overseas, we needed to rapidly configure the POS solution to support additional product catalogs, and to build new POS systems with support for different time-zones.”
“The great advantage of SUSE Linux Enterprise Point of Service is that it offers extremely powerful scripting tools to automate the process of building and managing the POS landscape,” said Tony Espley.
“Rather than building each POS system in a store individually, we simply use a bootable SUSE Linux Enterprise Point of Service image on a USB stick to build one ‘master’ POS system. Using utilities such as YaST®, LDAP and PXE, the master POS system then builds all of the other POS systems in the store with minimal human intervention.”
Andrew Clarke said: “SUSE Linux Enterprise Point of Service is extremely lean in terms of processor utilization. This enabled us to obtain an even better performance than with our previous environment but with a reduced capital investment in hardware resources.”
“Today, automation from our SUSE platform enables us to manage Arcadia Group’s extensive landscape of POS solutions with minimal manual effort,” said Tony Espley. “Using our remote tools and scripts, we can perform the vast majority of maintenance and management tasks without the need for an on-site engineer visit—helping us to deliver constant availability for the VBS solution.
“For example, when we roll out quarterly updates for the VBS system, built-in monitoring tools such as YaST in the SUSE Linux Enterprise platform help us ensure that the update packages are downloaded and installed successfully. Obtaining this kind of granular insight from other operating systems we have used would require extensive modifications, but with SUSE Linux Enterprise it works straight out of the box.”
Tony Espley concludes: “The retail industry is evolving rapidly, and our SUSE Linux Enterprise Point of Service platform ensures that we can react with agility to meet our clients’ requirements.”