Tableau Server: Everybody's Install Guide
Tableau software is a family of analytics tools designed to help anyone see and understand their data. With Tableau, you ask questions, find answers, and share insights from data. Tableau Desktop is the visual exploration and analysis application, and you can use Tableau Server or Tableau Online to collaborate on the web.
In this chapter
Don't skip this part
It's true that this section has a bunch of "before you begin" advice, but it's important and could end up saving you a lot of time, and perhaps even some money. Reading it may change everything.
So you want to install Tableau Server ...
Tableau Desktop users are a motivated bunch. Many of the first Tableau Server installations in an organization are driven by power users and champions of Tableau Desktop.
This guide walks you through the planning and installation tasks required to deploy a single-server installation of Tableau Server in your organization. You can walk through this guide, step-by-step, and end with an appropriately-sized, secure, performant installation of Tableau Server.
This approach to deploying server software—generally driven by a power user—is unique in the business intelligence solutions industry. We’ve written this guide to accelerate this deployment scenario by gathering together the essential deployment planning, installation, and management tasks into a single guide.
Do you know an IT pro? Let them help!
For the most part, we've written this guide for someone who might be tasked with setting up Tableau Server solo. But we don't want you to be on your own! If you have an IT department, share this document with your IT contact. Get their buy-in and trust their expertise and input.
But even if you're not an expert and your organization doesn't have an IT department, this guide will help you get Tableau Server up and running.
Who should read this?
This guide is designed for two primary audiences:
People new to installing server software. This guide is especially for people who might not usually have the job of installing server software. This guide ensures that people with limited IT experience are comfortable installing and managing Tableau Server. For example, we explain the concepts that you need to understand as we go.
Seasoned IT administrators or server administrators. If server installations are already your thing, we think you'll find this guide useful as an overview of the essential configuration settings that are available with Tableau Server, or for setting up a trial or first deployment. We've also called out where your expertise will probably be needed if you support new admins who use this guide to install a departmental Tableau Server. This guide gives you the background to answer their questions.
Install Tableau Server on premises? Or use Tableau Online?
Keep in mind that you can help your team, department, or organization embrace data and analytics without necessarily taking on an on-premises installation of Tableau Server. You can save yourself a lot of work—both upfront and in the long run—by letting Tableau manage Tableau Online for you.
Tableau Online is a cloud solution hosted by Tableau. It does what Tableau Server does, but you don't have to install anything on your own hardware. Instead, you create a Tableau Online account and host your workbooks and data sources online. No buying and setting up servers. No integrating networks, no downloading drivers and installing updates. Publishing, sharing, and editing workbooks inside of Tableau Online is exactly the same as with Tableau Server.
If you're interested in building and sharing analytics without ever having to think about the underlying infrastructure, Tableau Online may be the best choice for you. Plus you can stop reading the rest of this guide, start a free trial, and begin sharing workbooks in less than ten minutes.
So then why install Tableau Server? Here are a few reasons to install Tableau Server on premises:
Control. The primary concerns for most of our customers are control and compliance. For example, industry-specific regulation may require an on-premises deployment. By installing Tableau Server on premises, you can conduct compliance audits guaranteeing physical control of the content and data that Tableau Server houses.
Guest user access. Depending on your license, an on-premises installation allows you to configure the server so that people can see embedded views without having to authenticate to the server. (We call this a "Guest user.") This is ideal for organizations that have a small number of authors and publishers and many users who only need view access on the server. This functionality powers Tableau Public, where anyone in the world can view Tableau visualizations.
Internal live data source connection. Tableau Server is optimized to connect to many different data sources that may be running within your organization. While Tableau Online supports live connections to a number of cloud data sources, it provides limited support for live connections to data sources in your organization. If your business requires querying internal data in real-time, then Tableau Server is a better alternative for you.
Active Directory integration. Tableau Server integrates with Windows Active Directory users and groups. You can also enable single sign-on and seamless connections to popular relational databases such as Microsoft SQL Server with Kerberos authentication.
If these factors apply to you, then read on and proceed with Step 1: Verify the basics.
Use this guide if ...
Before you dive into planning, let's make sure that your goals line up with the purpose of this guide.
|You want to install Tableau Server on a single server computer.||Tableau Server can run on multi-node clusters, as well as virtual machines (VM), but we don't cover those scenarios in this guide. However, scaling out Tableau Server later is surprisingly easy compared to other enterprise server solutions. Our scale-out model always requires a primary node. You can use this guide to help you quickly roll out a primary node for a trial run.|
|Your Tableau Server will support from 2 to about 100 users.||We assume that you have a limited number of users, most of whom are only viewing content on Tableau Server, not publishing or editing. (While single-machine deployments can support up to 1000 users, such deployments are best managed by IT specialists.)|
|You're an IT generalist.||You don't consider yourself an IT expert, but you're comfortable installing and configuring software and changing software settings.|
|You're installing into an existing IT environment ...||You and your group are part of a business unit within a broader organization. Possibly your organization uses Windows Active Directory to manage resources and provide authentication and authorization to those resources.|
|... or you're installing into a small business environment.||You're not part of a larger org, and you don't use Active Directory. We cover that scenario, too.|
|You're doing a trial deployment.||Most of what you'll find here is useful if you're setting up a trial version.|
This guide will probably not be helpful if ...
If any of the following describe your scenario, this guide will probably offer only limited help, and we encourage you to explore our extensive Tableau Server documentation, our forums, knowledge base, and live support.
You want to deploy a distributed, multi-computer Tableau Server deployment. To learn more about planning these sorts of deployments, see A Guide to Scaling Tableau Server for Self-Service Analytics.
You plan to install on under-powered hardware. The methodology in this guide will result in hardware specifications that are properly resourced for your deployment. Do not install Tableau Server onto under-powered machines or machines that are sharing resources with other server applications.
You must install Tableau Server into a DMZ, edge, or other advanced network deployment. Some business scenarios require access to Tableau Server or data sources in a tiered network environment protected by multiple firewall layers. However, the scenario in this guide assumes that your data sources and Tableau Server are located in the same internal network. External client access, where users are accessing your Tableau Server from the internet, is explained in this guide.
If you are going to install Tableau Server, then we've got you covered.
We've laid out this guide so that all of the tasks related to planning, installing, and configuring Tableau Server are presented in order in the drop-down menu at the top of each page.
Ready? The first step is Planning Your Deployment.