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Distributed and High Availability Tableau Server Installations

Tableau Server on Windows now includes Tableau Services Manager (TSM), which replaces the Configuration Utility and the command line tool. If you need help for an earlier version of Tableau Server, see the Tableau Help page.

The most basic way to run Tableau Server is to install a single node. With this type of installation you have a fully functional Tableau Server, with all Tableau Services Manager (TSM) and Tableau Server processes running on that single node, but this may not be the optimal way to use Tableau Server. You can decide how to install Tableau based on your organization's needs, and your resources, adding additional nodes and configuring Tableau for high availability. Your installation options include:

  • Single-node installation—This type of installation is reasonable for testing, running trials, and for environments that can handle occasional downtime and system availability due to lack of redundancy. All server processes are running on a single machine. There is less redundancy and fewer safeguards in the event of a problem with one of the server processes. You also need to make sure the computer you install Tableau Server on has adequate resources to handle the processes and the demands of users and data.

  • Distributed installation—This type of installation is also called a multi-node installation and requires multiple computers so you can install and run server processes on those distributed nodes. Spreading the server processes out over multiple nodes can extend the reliability and efficiency of Tableau Server by providing redundancy and additional computing power. With the right configuration, a distributed installation can also provide you with automatic repository failover. For more information on failover, see Repository Failover .

  • Highly available (HA) installation—An HA installation of Tableau Server is a special type of multi-node installation with a minimum of three nodes and multiple instances of key processes (the Repository, File Store/Data Engine (Hyper), and Coordination Service) on different computers. With an HA installation, there is built-in redundancy of those key processes, including multiple File Stores, and automatic Repository failover. The goal is to minimize system downtime by eliminating single points of failure, and enabling detection of failures with failover where possible.

The first computer you install Tableau on, the "initial node," has some unique characteristics. Two processes run only on the initial node and cannot be moved to any other node except in a failure situation, the License service (License Manager) and TSM Controller (Administration Controller).

Two other processes are initially included on the initial node but can be added or moved to additional nodes, the CFS (Client File Service) and the Coordination Service.

For information about moving the License service and TSM Controller from the initial node to another node, see Recover from an initial node failure below.

Prerequisite

These instructions assume that your cluster meets the Distributed Requirements.

Note: You cannot install Tableau Server on a combination of Linux and Windows computers.

Creating a distributed Tableau Server installation

These are the general steps you follow to create a distributed installation of Tableau Server:

  1. Begin by installing Tableau Server on your initial node.

    For details, see Install and Configure Tableau Server.

  2. Generate a node configuration (bootstrap) file on the initial node.

    For details, see Generate the node bootstrap file.

  3. Install Tableau Server on an additional node using the node bootstrap file.

  4. Configure your additional node with the processes you want to run on it.

  5. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 for any additional nodes you want to install.

  6. Deploy a new Coordination Service ensemble.

    For more information, see Deploy a Coordination Service Ensemble .

Creating a highly available (HA) Tableau Server installation

A high availability Tableau Server installation is a special type of distributed installation, designed to accommodate failure in key server components without loss of complete server functionality. To create an HA installation, follow the same steps you take to create a distributed deployment but include additional steps to make the deployment highly available. These additional steps include adding at least two additional nodes (for a minimum of three nodes in the cluster), adding a second instance of the repository, and second instances of the data engine/file store, adding additional gateway processes, and deploying a Coordination Service ensemble. You can also add a load balancer to distribute requests among the gateways.

At a high level, these are the steps you follow to create a highly available installation of Tableau Server:

  1. Begin by installing Tableau Server on your initial node.

    For details, see Install and Configure Tableau Server.

  2. Generate a node configuration (bootstrap) file on the initial node.

    For details, see Generate the node bootstrap file.

  3. Install Tableau Server on at least two additional nodes using the node bootstrap file.

    For more information, see Install and initialize an additional node.

  4. Configure each additional node with the processes you want to run on it. These must include a second copy of the Tableau Server repository, and a second copy of the data engine and file store, as well as additional instances of the gateway.

    For more information, see Configure the additional node.

  5. Deploy a Coordination Service ensemble.

    For more information, see Deploy a Coordination Service Ensemble .

  6. (Optional) Configure a load balancer.

    For more information, see Add a Load Balancer.

For details on how to create a three-node HA installation, see Example: Install and Configure a Three-Node HA Cluster.

Recover from an initial node failure

With a Tableau Server installation, the initial node includes two services that are only installed on that node, the License service, and the TSM Controller. If there is a problem with the initial node, Tableau Server may not continue to function, even when configured for high availability. To recover from a situation where the initial node fails, you can move the TSM Controller and the License service to one of your already configured nodes. This allows you to recover from the failure while using resources you already have in the cluster. You do not have to configure a standby initial node in case the initial node fails.

For details on how to recover from a failure on the initial node, see Recover from an Initial Node Failure.

Configure Coordination Service ensemble on additional nodes

Configuring a Coordination Service on multiple nodes provides additional duplication of processes and so reduces the possibility of server downtime due to an issue with one of the Coordination Service nodes. For details on how to deploy a Coordination Service ensemble on your cluster, see Deploy a Coordination Service Ensemble .

Tableau Server service license check

A number of processes are installed when you install Tableau Server. Some of these processes are dependent on the existence of a valid Tableau Server license while other installed processes are not. The subset of Tableau Server that require a valid Tableau Server license are considered "licensed processes."

When a licensed process starts or restarts, the process checks with the Tableau Server License Manager service on the primary node to verify there is a valid license. When the License Manager validates the license, the process is fully functional and able to respond to requests from other Tableau Server processes. Once a licensed process has received confirmation from the License Manager, the process does not need to reconfirm the license for 72 hours, or until the process restarts. If the process is not able to verify that it is licensed (if the primary node is unavailable, for example) it cannot run, but it continues to check for a valid license until it confirms the license. To see when the last licensing check occurred, look at the log files in the ProgramData\Tableau\Tableau Server\data\tabsvc\logs\licensing folder . For more information about licensed processes, see Licensed processes.