Inventory 13 is available for download and now includes the Central Server!
Enterprise customers can now concurrently connect multiple PDQ Inventory consoles to a single PDQ Inventory server. The number of concurrent connections is based on the number of licenses held. This allows all consoles to connect to the same database and share custom Collections, Reports, Scan Profiles, Custom Fields, Custom Variables, and even custom Tools.
To read more about how Central Server works in PDQ Deploy, see our previous blog on the topic.
Central Server Modes
Central Server is an optional mode of operation and not a component or feature. PDQ Inventory now offers three modes in which it can run. All components installed on that computer (console, CLI, and background service) operate in that same mode and it can only be in one mode at a time. The modes are as follows:
- Local Mode
This is the default mode that PDQ Inventory has always used and is the only mode available for Free and Pro users. While not technically part of Central Server, this mode indicates that Central Server is not running and is disabled. 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 database.
- 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, collections, reports, tools, scan profiles, and other items. The console and the CLI on the Server computer work the same as if the computer were in Local Mode. The server computer hosts the central PDQ Inventory database and facilitates all scans.
- 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 database. A client 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 custom items, including collections, reports, scan profiles, custom fields, tools, and variables are housed on the server and can be seen and used by other client computers. The exception of this is files that are needed for Tools; these are housed locally.
You probably have some questions, let’s see if we can tackle them:
- Is this feature available in Free or Pro mode?
No, this feature is only available in Enterprise mode.
- 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 custom collections, reports, scan activity, etc. from other administrators and that they, in turn, can see mine?
Yes, that is exactly what I am saying.
- 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 is run concurrent consoles on another computer using only the one license.
- Why aren’t files used by Tools housed on the Server’s database for all Clients?
Tools are run locally on the client machine. This means if a tool requires a file, such as PsExec, it will need to be installed on the client machine.
- Is there anything I need to know in order for PDQ Deploy and PDQ Inventory to play nice together?
PDQ Deploy clients that wish to use the Post Deployment Scanning will need to have PDQ Inventory installed on the same client machine, running in the same mode.
- 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 Inventory server.
- My organization has four administrators each with their own PDQ Inventory installation and their own database. How do we migrate to this central server thingy without losing data?
Let me refer you to this article which details how you migrate existing installations and data to a central server. When you designate a computer to run in Server Mode the custom collections, scan profiles and other settings on that computer are retained on that console. When you move a computer into Client Mode any existing custom collections, reports, tools, variables, or custom fields on that computer will not automatically be moved to the central server.
- How does this affect the Sharing feature in PDQ Inventory?
This replaces Sharing.
Although made for PDQ Deploy, the following video does show the functionality of Central Server.