PDQ Inventory: Collection Drill Down

Thank you to everyone who is taking some time to test Beta 1 of PDQ Inventory. We have uncovered a handful of bugs and gotten some great suggestions, most of which will be implemented in Beta 2.

Today I want to go over a feature that many will find useful: Collection drill down. This feature allows for a natural way to nest collections so that the set of computers that are members of those collections get narrower as you open, or “drill down” into, them. An example works best to demonstrate how this works.

Let’s start with a collection that contains all of the Windows 7 computers:

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Now, you want to get a collection that has all of the 64-bit Windows 7 computers. You can do this simply by creating a collection within Windows 7 that filters 64-bit operating systems.

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The key here is to make sure that “Drill down from parent collection” is checked. What this does is apply filters against the computers that are part of the parent collection. With the box unchecked then the filters are applied to all computers (this is the same if the computer is at the top of the collection hierarchy, regardless of how the checkbox is set).

Then drill down can continue by, for example, filtering on the service pack.

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You then can end up with a whole set of collections allowing quick access to more and more specific filters.

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This makes it easy to copy and paste collections from one parent to another and not have to make any changes to the filters, like I did here by making copies of the service pack collections.  (Note: Copy and paste of collections is coming in Beta 2, it doesn’t yet work in Beta 1).

AA Console

If you’ve used AA Console you may notice that this is similar to Rollup Collection Folders, but that it works in the opposite direction. We decided, based on feedback from users and our own testing, that the drill down metaphor is more natural than rolling up. It also makes defining the filters simpler since they don’t need to be duplicated between the child collections.

You can still get the functionality of rollup collections by having a parent collection refer to child collections in its filters.  In fact, this is what PDQ Inventory does when it imports collection folders from AA Console. It’s a bit more work, but there are always trade-offs with these types of decisions.

Again, thank you all for your help in testing Beta 1.  We hope to have Beta 2 out in the next couple of days.  Keep watching this space because we’ve got some big updates for PDQ Deploy Pro just over the horizon.