PDQ Agent Status Update

TL;DR

The bad: We are announcing the End of Life (EOL) of the optional PDQ Agent beta from our existing products.

The good: We are working to build a more reliable foundation that will handle all the features, tools, and awesome ideas we have for both single and multi-admin customers; this includes researching a possible future agent.

Our crushed dreams: a retrospective

Two of our Core Values here at PDQ.com are “We are honest, even when it’s embarrassing” and “We are always learning and improving”. Well, this is certainly one of those times where we’re honest, it’s embarrassing, but we will learn and improve from it.

We built an agent; it didn’t work. It breaks our hearts we’ve been unable to bring you the Agent as we initially envisioned.

After introducing the optional Agent for PDQ Inventory in May 2018, it quickly became apparent our infrastructure and design could not support the additional load the agent created.

Instead of paying attention to the warning signs, we tried to force a square peg into a round hole by dedicating much of our development time attempting to make it work. We ended up with a few small wins, but ultimately a lot of big fails. As a result, we’ve been unable to introduce some awesome new features to PDQ Deploy and PDQ Inventory and our releases have been few and far between.

In short, we delivered software that wasn’t up to our standards. The removal of the Agent is our acknowledgment of this.

What does the future hold?

We will be exploring a possible Agent replacement. But, in the meantime, we will re-focus on more reliable, timely releases with features that hit the requirements of fast, easy, and intuitive.

We’ve learned a vast amount from our mistakes and will improve by diligently designing and rigorously testing features, products, and initiatives before they are released. In short, we are dedicated to bringing you stable products we are proud of and that you deserve.

We may stumble and fall, but our aim is to keep the stumbling and falling internal so you only receive the best. Whatever the future holds for something agent-esque, you can rest assured that we will not release until we are confident of its quality and stability.

What does this mean for you?

If you currently do not use the Agent, then this announcement can be largely ignored.

If you are one of the 18% of our customers that have ever used the Agent, we recommend you uninstall the Agent at your earliest convenience. For instructions, see ‘Where do you go for help?’ below.

When will this happen?

The Agent will remain “on” for the time being but will be removed in stages not to exceed six months.

We will be taking a phased approach for the removal of the Agent from our products. This will consist of the following:

  • Preventing installations.
  • Removing it as a download with PDQ Inventory.
  • Removing the UI elements.
  • Shutting down the web service for all versions.

This process will begin with version 19 of PDQ Deploy and PDQ Inventory.

Where do you go for help?

For assistance with uninstalling, see consult the documentation https://documentation.pdq.com/PDQInventory/18.1.0.0/uninstalling-agent.htm

For questions, concerns, or feedback about the PDQ Agent EOL, please contact our Solutions team at [email protected]

21 responses

    • Rich,

      Thank you for the feedback. We are beginning research into a possible Agent replacement. I will be sure your ideas of Web-Based Cloud/Onpremise are brought to the table.

  • I loved the agents ability to tell me when a laptop is online and off of our network, this was very useful information for us that we came to rely on. Will be very missed :_(

    • David and Tony,

      Thank you for your feedback. Sadly, although the Agent was working for you, the majority of other users had Agents that were merely limping along (or at times not working at all). These decisions are never easy to make and we knew there would be customers that would be adversely affected. I’m very sorry that you are part of those customers that are impacted. Please know that we do very much appreciate your business and patience while we start researching a possible replacement.

    • Tony,

      I hope you were able to see my response, it was directed to you and David (see directly above). I didn’t realize when I responded that it wouldn’t go to both of you. I just didn’t want you to think you were disregarded in any way.

      Thanks,
      Emily

  • We’re bummed to see this go, however, your transparency and updates are very appreciated and help us plan accordingly. I hope you can restart this project and have better success!

    • Caleb,

      Thank you for your feedback. We do try to be as transparent as possible. We hope we can continue to be a company you can trust.

  • Definitely will miss the agent. Our company highly needs something similar to this. Over half of our machines with pdq are remote and constantly moving around. With nothing to get them to call home I have no way to keep them updated. Keep up the development….doing good letting us know whats going on.

    • Shawn,

      Thank you for the feedback, we value what each customer has to say. We do understand that we’ve now made working with remote machines a pain and your need for something similar. It was a very difficult decision to have to make knowing that our customers might have to take a step back. We really appreciate your understanding of our need for more research and development and we very much thank you for your patience while we do so.

      Emily

  • Too bad you couldn’t get it working. I only had it on a couple machines, but it was very useful. Just curious though – did you try jiggling the handle? You should try that before you kill it.

    • Jason,

      Sadly, we did try jiggling the handle, turning it off and on again, and even bribing it with homemade pecan pie. It just wasn’t having any of it.

      Thanks for a touch of humor and the smile,
      Emily

  • Too bad to see this go.
    We use PDQ as well for over a year and I was just about to look into the agent to maintain systems that are outside a lot.

    Can you please, since you are a company that share openly updates etc. good stuff, tell us when there will be a new beta expected?

    Thanks,
    Mark

    • Mark,

      I really wish I could tell you a date, but even we don’t know that. We’ve just begun exploring. I anticipate with something of this size, we will reach out to users to find some alpha testers. If you would like to be on the list, please subscribe to this blog to join our mailing list.

      Thanks,
      Emily

  • Please build a customer-premise-based DMZ agent handler like McAfee does and charge another license for it. That way it will support local custom packages and put zero load on PDQ’s infrastructure so cost you nothing.
    Have the agent handler punch out host-specific signatures for the agent and do cert-based auth for the inbound.
    Support self-signed or “real” certs please and all the customers will need to do is have an external dis record that gets nat’d to the DMZ handler. Then limit communication across the DMZ to 443 and do the same between the agent handler and inventory. I sent Lisa this same design. Ignore calls for cloud-based solutions that will just cost everyone money. If the customers want to run it in the cloud let them. Hint: I would build the handler on a technology that will run on Linux or Windows as most folks don’t put windows in the DMZ. All you would need to do is change the port of operation on your current agent and remove the inbound target parameter that is pdq hosted, and let the client replace it with their own external dis record. If you want, you can do the cert-specifying on the agent on existing inventory and build the feature to import known-certs there, making the DMZ handler truly a proxy that you can download from SourceForge. You can even set it to translate the inbound port to 7777 or whatever inventory is listening on, but you need to talk 443 across the internet and do tls with the handler in the DMZ to work properly and require 1-way 1-port traffic (I would do 443 again) from the handler to inventory. You realize we’ll pay for this, right?

    • Chad,

      Thank you very much for the candid feedback and great ideas. I am personally not a developer, so I can’t speak to the exacts of your suggestions, but I will make sure they are seen by the team working on this. We’ve had many suggestions and I’m happy to pass on another to be considered.

      Thanks again,
      Emily

  • Busch League, this was half the reason we bought the product. This company needs to take a serious look in the mirror if they want to survive. #NeverAgain

    • Dan, I couldn’t agree more, and I’m one of the founders of PDQ.com. Our team realizes that we have over 25,000 companies who pay for our products and they deserve products that work. You’re spot on and #NeverAgain will we allow this to happen.

      Shawn Anderson
      Co-founder/CEO

  • Hi,
    I would like to second what Chad said! Very good design idea and yes we would be ready to pay an extra for this!

  • So many ideas and ways to make this work! I hope it comes back soon! It is a feature that provides a lot of value, and if you can expand it to support custom packages and scan profiles, it will be crazy useful.

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