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Finally! Connect multiple PDQ Deploy 13+ consoles to a Central PDQ Server

Shane CorellianShane Corellian
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So let it be written, so let it be done.” All due respect to the fellow bald-headed Yul Brynner, but I wish the writers of The Ten Commandments would have had someone (Charlton, perhaps?) retort, “Hey, Russian Ramses, that’s easier said than done”. Many of you have, most assuredly, noticed that PDQ Deploy version 12 is a little long in the tooth. It was released on December 7th, 2016. That date is, of course, infamous for being Tom Waits’ 67th birthday.

Anyway, the long wait is over as we have finally completed one of the most requested features for PDQ Deploy: A centralized server in PDQ Deploy 13. To update your console, click the “A new version is available” notice in the status bar of your console. If the update link is not visible, go to File > Preferences > Alerts to enable update notices.

TL;DR – Enterprise customers with multiple licenses can now connect multiple PDQ Deploy consoles concurrently (based on the number of licenses held) to a single “PDQ Deploy server” and thus centrally maintain packages, deployment history, schedules, etc. The Central Server is not required and is an optional feature.PDQ Deploy was built to be a standalone deployment solution. The console and server resided on the same computer. While this is still the default way to run Deploy (in fact it is probable that most of our customers will continue running PDQ Deploy in this fashion) the fact remains that quite a few of our customers wanted something a little more centralized to accommodate multiple administrators. Enter Central Server.

Central Server Modes

Central Server isn’t a component, instead it’s a mode of operation. It works in one of three modes. A computer can only be in one mode at a time and all components installed on that computer (console, CLI, and background service) operate in that same mode. The modes are as follow:

Local Mode

This is the only mode available for Free and Pro users and is the default mode that PDQ Deploy has used since the beginning. It’s the mode the application is in when the Central Server is disabled; we include it in Central Server because it indicates that Central Server is “OFF”. In this mode, only the console and the CLI on the same computer can attach to the background service. The console also maintains its own repository.

Server Mode

In this mode, a computer (possibly running a Windows Server OS) is acting as a server for other computers in Client Mode. This means that the console and CLI on other computers can connect to the server and access its background service and repository. The console and the CLI on the Server computer work the same as if the computer is in Local Mode. The server computer will host the central PDQ Deploy repository and facilitate all the deployments.

Client Mode

In this mode, a computer is acting as a client and connects to another computer in Server Mode. The background service on the client computer is not running and the console and CLI connect to the background service on the computer in Server Mode and use its repository. A computer can only be connected to one background service at a time. This is a computer-wide setting so it applies to all of the consoles and CLI running on the client computer. All packages, schedules, and most other tasks are housed on the server and can be seen and used by other client computers.

FAQ

I will present some facts about this new feature in the form of anticipated questions.

  • Is this feature available in Free or Pro mode?

    No, this feature is only available in Enterprise mode.

  • I have one license of Enterprise mode. Will I be able to use this feature?

    Yes. With one license you can have one concurrent connection to the server. What you won’t be able to do (with only one license) is run concurrent consoles on another computer.

  • My company has 25 licenses. Are you saying that if I am connected via a client console to the server that I can see other deployments and activity from other administrators and that they, in turn, can see my deployments?

    Yes, that is exactly what I am saying.

  • How can I control which console users connect to my central server?

    Through the Console Users option on the toolbar. In order to add a new console user you must enter the password for the account running the “background service”. Any user that isn’t either the background service user or an approved console user will not be able to connect to the central PDQ Deploy server.

  • Niccccceeeee. Is a similar central server feature available for PDQ Inventory?

    Not yet. This similar feature is expected in version 13 of PDQ Inventory.

  • My organization has 4 administrators each with their own PDQ Deploy installation. How do we migrate to this central server thingy?

    Let me refer you to which details how you migrate existing installations and packages to a central server.  When you designate a computer to run in Server Mode the schedules, packages and other settings on that computer are retained. When you move a computer into Client Mode any existing packages on that computer will not automatically be moved to the central server.

  • How does this affect the Sharing feature in PDQ Deploy?

    This replaces Sharing.

A short video tutorial is on the way. In the meantime, enjoy our PDQ Deploy beta webcast.

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