One of my favorite new features in the PDQ Deploy Pro 1.4 beta is Linked Targets. Linked targets allow for a live connection to another source of computers for use when creating schedules or deploying software. As is usually the case, an example works best to describe it.
Let’s say you want to deploy to the computers in an Active Directory container. You know you’re going to be deploying to the computers in the container regularly but don’t want to have to maintain a seperate list and keep them in sync manually. You can just create a Target List and link it to the container.
The difference to note here is that you can “Import From” or “Link To” the Active Directory container. The difference is that importing pulls the names of the computers once and linking creates a link that is always current with the computers in the container. When you Import From you get a list of computer names which are added directly to the target list, so any future changes to the container will not affect the list.
The way it works under the skin is that when the Target List is used in a deployment PDQ Deploy Pro connects to the target source of data and pulls the computers. The link isn’t “live” in the sense that changes in Active Directory aren’t reflected in the target list immediately, as it would be too resource intensive to keep up-to-date with all changes that won’t be needed until a deployment is started. A deployment will always have the most current list of computers when it needs them, though, so there is no practical difference in how it works. Schedules will, likewise, use the most current set of computers at the time that a new deployment is created. This makes it easier to set up schedules without having to mannually add new computers to each one.
Target Lists can even be linked to each other which allows for a hierarchy of targets organized inside of PDQ Deploy Pro. As with all linked targets, the ultimate target list is pulled when it’s needed so you can have Target Lists linked to other Target Lists which are linked to combinations of Active Directory containers and other Target Lists. The currently available types of Linked Targets are as follows:
Active Directory Containers – The link can be to the container itself or to the container’s subtree (i.e. all of the containers within the container as well)
Active Directory Groups – Groups can contain computer accounts and other groups
Collections – Collections are baed on filters which use inventory from the most recent scan
Collections – Also based on the most recent inventory scan
Target Lists – Target lists can be linked to each other to any depth
We plan on expanding the concept of linked targets in the future to other systems. If you have a source of computers that you would like to link directly to PDQ Deploy Pro, please feel free to let us know, we love it when our users tell us what to do.