FotoFirst clicks with Linux

By   |  October 19, 2003

The Teltron group, owners of FotoFirst and other retail photography businesses, has turned to Linux to manage its software and data synchronisation across the its more than 80 branches in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. The company has deployed Obsidian Systems\’ Synchrony solution to manage its network of point of sale terminals.

Teltron systems manager Francois van der Merwe, says that each branch runs a Linux-based automated point of sale system which returns daily transactional information back to the head office\’s financial system. \”Our previous system was manual. Drivers would have to visit branches and bring back physical records which were then captured at head office. When we decided to automate this process we were concerned with the challenges of keeping all our branches in sync running the same versions
of our software, receiving the same price updates from us and executing the same scripts.\”

Obsidian Systems\’ Synchrony is a low-cost solution for deploying and maintaining large numbers of turnkey systems. Sales manager at Obsidian Systems Charles Leaver says Synchrony can handle point-of-sale systems, stock-control systems or any other large systems that require distributed nodes to manipulate one or more central databases.

He says the system ensures that all nodes are running the newest version of the client software, and all local databases are in sync with centrally shared databases. This means that all software issues are resolved from a central point, as changes are spawned to every branch, he says. This ensures total synchronicity throughout the organisation. \”Teltron\’s software and scripts can be updated or changed remotely on a completely automated basis, ensuring that they have complete control over each branch\’s software from a central location.\”

Teltron\’s Van der Merwe says that using the system has led to a much lower total cost of ownership for the company. \”Each branch\’s system runs on a tamper-proof customised server. We have no license fees to worry about as the system runs on Linux. There is very little scope for error since update processes are controlled by us and no staff are required on the client side to perform updates manually.

\”sAs anyone who runs a business with branches all over the sub-continent knows, it can be a nightmare to manage crashing systems and incompatibility between sites. But the Synchrony system is incredibly stable, requires very few server resources and allows all sites to run the same version of the software at all times,\” he says.

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