Preview: IBM Retail Environment for SUSE LINUX Version 2

IBM United States Software Announcement 205-005
January 11, 2005


 ENUS205-005.PDF (19KB)

Table of contents   Document options  
TOC link At a glance TOC link Planned availability
TOC link Overview TOC link Description
TOC link Key prerequisites TOC link Reference information
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At a glance

IBM Retail Environment for SUSE LINUX Version 2:

  • Offers proven retail functions such as those provided by IBM's 4690 features, such as:
    • Server-based POS loading and booting
    • Industry standard system-wide configuration and change management
    • Automatic problem determination with single-step dump button support
    • Combined server/terminal support
    • Client preload GUI
    • Remote Management Agent for systems management support
  • Helps reduce total cost of ownership through expanded versatility, scalability in the store, and single-source technical support
  • Combines a reliable, enterprise-class Linux distribution with a retail-friendly support and maintenance model
  • Offers enhanced functionality designed to streamline installation, configuration, and systems management

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With IBM Retail Environment for SUSE LINUX (IRES) Version 2, on demand retailers can acquire all of the advantages of Linux™, run it at the point of sale (POS) and on back-office servers, enjoy robust functionality drawn from 30 years of IBM Retail experience, and receive outstanding technical support from IBM. Like IRES V1, IRES V2 includes a retail-optimized distribution of Novell's robust SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server (SLES) called SUSE LINUX Retail Solution (SLRS). IRES V2 adds 4690-like function such as POS multi-cast boot and software loading, improved problem determination including dump button enablement, improved operator guidance, a simplified configuration graphical user interface, and retail industry standard tracking for software and hardware change management. IRES supports select IBM SurePOS™ systems, IBM eServer xSeries® hardware, and IBM middleware. Version 2 also includes a cost-effective, retail-friendly support and maintenance model that delivers the long lifecycle and rapid response retailers need to maintain high uptime in the store.
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Key prerequisites

The only prerequisite for IRES V2 is supported hardware.

Hardware supported

  • Select IBM eServer xSeries servers (with 1-2 processors) certified for SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server (SLES x86)
  • Minimum: Intel™ Pentium™ 300 MHz
  • IBM POS systems, including: SurePOS 700 Series, SurePOS 500 Series, SurePOS 300 Series, select SurePOS 4694 POS Systems, and IBM Kiosk
  • Memory Minimum: 64 MB (dependent on application)

Software supported

  • SUSE LINUX platform
    • Industry-standard Linux distribution (ordered from IBM and delivered by SUSE)
    • Server images modeled on SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server 9 (SLES9)
    • Client images modeled on Novell Linux Desktop (NLD)
  • Java™
    • IBM SDK 1.3.1 and 1.4.2
  • Drivers
    • JavaPOS 1.7.4A and POSS/LIN 3.1.0
  • Management tools
    • SLES system management utilities including centralized POS management with the offering's enterprise administrative server
  • Middleware
    • Select IBM middleware supported on SUSE's SLES-based offerings
  • Applications
    • Multiple IBM Business Partner software solutions

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Planned availability

Third quarter 2005

Previews provide insight into IBM plans and direction. Availability, prices, ordering information, and terms and conditions will be provided when the product is announced.
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IBM Retail Environment for SUSE LINUX Version 2 offers the following:

  • A truly retail-ready Linux platform

    With IBM Retail Environment for SUSE LINUX (IRES) Version 2, on demand retailers can acquire all of the inherent advantages of Linux, run it equally well at the point of sale (POS) and on back-office servers, and receive outstanding technical support from IBM. Specifically, IRES V2 includes a distribution of SUSE LINUX from Novell that is modeled after the robust SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server (SLES) code base called the SUSE LINUX Retail Solution (SLRS). This enterprise-class operating system is optimized to work with select IBM SurePOS systems, IBM eServer® xSeries hardware, and IBM middleware. IRES V2 also includes a cost-effective, retail-friendly support and maintenance model that delivers the long lifecycle and rapid response retailers need to maintain high uptime in the store.

  • Low total cost of ownership

    IRES can help reduce total cost of ownership in many ways. The SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server operating system scales to virtually any size retail environment and can run at the POS, on back-office servers, or on a mainframe. This helps reduce the costs of managing multiple operating systems, in a single store or across the enterprise. IRES V2 allows retailers to use a single POS terminal as both a server and client, reducing the need to buy additional hardware. It includes scalable systems management tools designed for employees with little IT expertise. And unlike some platforms, IRES supports thin-client diskless environments — which help improve uptime and speed recovery from downtime — without the need to purchase additional software.

  • Comprehensive, single-source support

    The end-to-end support and maintenance component of IRES Version  2 provides the reliability and continuity of service retailers demand — at a level typically unavailable with consumer-grade Linux distributions. IRES V2 maintenance helps ensure retailers automatically receive release updates and full support for future versions. IRES also includes real-time technical help from IBM, so you have a single, convenient and highly available point of contact for all your support needs, including systems integration. Yet even as you enjoy a longer service and support lifecycle, this distribution remains open source.

  • Enhanced retail functionality

    IBM offers one of the most diverse solutions portfolios in our industry, and has extensive hands-on experience in a wide range of retail formats. With this expertise, we are uniquely positioned to deliver operating systems that are conditioned for high performance in retail. To this end, IRES V2 includes several operational enhancements designed to improve overall reliability and ease of use. New systems management components make it easier to keep track of in-store hardware and software inventory, so you can service peripherals proactively and validate software updates. A new graphical user interface (GUI) streamlines the reporting process for easier network diagnostics. In addition, IRES is the preferred choice for retailers implementing the innovative IBM Store Integration Framework — a unified integration environment that speeds rollout of new hardware and software and helps retailers manage store and customer data in real time.

  • Faster, easier configuration

    IRES V2 uses dynamic role-based configuration, which helps simplify network administration. Instead of configuring each client individually, you simply select a default configuration based on the system's role in your store — POS, help desk, service, gift registry, or many others. In some cases, adding a new POS system to your store may not require any configuration at all. IRES also facilitates turnkey installation of in-store servers, so you can get a new server up and running in a Linux environment with less intervention and fewer manual steps.

Enhancements in IRES V2

  • Graphical user interface (GUI) for Setup Cash Register (SCR)

    A user-friendly visual interface replaces the traditional command line interface to SCR, the mechanism used to build client images. Through the GUI, users can easily choose from a list of features and the SCR configuration tool automatically selects the correct base image. This eases the burden on technical resources and reduces the risk of configuration errors.

  • Problem determination bundle

    This tool collects and bundles all of the diagnostics required for a fast recovery in the event of downtime. It produces them in a consistent format, which helps IBM service teams resolve problems — even those not related to IBM hardware — more rapidly.

  • Dump push button

    Applicable to IBM POS hardware, this button allows users to dump the memory of any POS client for remote collection in the back office. Remote collection helps ensure fast diagnostics and resolution in the event of a system crash.

  • PXE bootstrap

    This systems management tool helps enable fast loading of thin clients, automatic updating of client BIOS, and improved messaging during the boot process.

  • Improved distribution

    During complex software updates to clients and servers, images sent from the enterprise level to the store level include only the segments that are new — instead of the entire image. This reduces strain on store bandwidth and speeds up the maintenance process (especially in large operations). It also allows you to return to the previous image automatically if updates are not completed correctly.

  • SLRS9 currency

    Based on SLES9, SLRS9 uses the 2.6 kernel of Linux for complete currency, including Quad Byte support for Chinese code pages. SLRS9 currency also ensures that this Linux distribution will easily accommodate new middleware and software offerings that are SLES9 certified.

  • Server/client hardware support

    IRES V2 allows retailers to use a single POS system as both a server and client, enabling retailers with very few POS systems to take advantage of IRES without necessarily needing to purchase a separate Linux server.

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Reference information

For information about IBM Retail Environment for SUSE LINUX (IRES) V1, refer to Software Announcement 204-002 , dated January 13, 2004.

Also, refer to PRPQs P85722, P85723, P85724, P85725, P85726, and P85727. The respective Product ID numbers are 5799-RYL, 5799-RYP, 5799-RYN, 5799-RYQ, 5799-RYR, and 5799-RYT.

Business Partner information

Direct Resellers - System Resellers acquiring products from IBM may link directly to Business Partner information for this announcement. PartnerWorld ID and password required (use IBM ID).

BP Attachment for Announcement Letter 205-005


SurePOS is a trademark of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States or other countries or both.
xSeries and eServer are registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States or other countries or both.
Intel and Pentium are trademarks of Intel Corporation.
Java is a trademark of Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds in the United States, other countries or both
Other company, product, and service names may be trademarks or service marks of others.

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