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Migrate from Core-Based to User-Based Licensing

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

This guide tells you how to migrate Tableau Server from a core-based license metric (which counts the processor cores on which you have Tableau Server installed) to a user-based license metric (which counts named users). To learn more about licensing metrics, see Licensing Overview.

Note: As an alternative to migrating to user-based licensing, you can also continue using a core-based license and add user-based Viewer, Explorer and Creator licenses as-needed to provide users with the capabilities granted by these licenses. To learn more, see Use user-based licenses on a server with core-based licensing.

Prepare for migration to user-based licensing

Core-based licenses allow an unlimited number of users, including view-only guest accounts. Every user has a site role when they are added to Tableau Server, and these users and site roles persist when licensing is changed. Because user-based licenses limit the number of users, you should ensure that your new user-based licenses accommodate the number of users who are currently connecting to Tableau Server, including the users currently using guest accounts. If your new user-based licenses don't accommodate the full number of users, some users will move to the Unlicensed site role. To learn more about site roles, see Set Users’ Site Roles.

To count the number of users in your Tableau Server installation, export a list of users to count them with a tool such as Microsoft Excel. To learn how to export a list of users, see Export a User List.

Migrate to user-based licensing

To migrate to user-based licensing you must stop Tableau Server, deactivate the core-based product key, activate the user-based product key(s), and then start Tableau Server. Because this process will result in a restart of Tableau Server and cause downtime for Tableau Server users, you should migrate licensing during a period of low usage.

  1. Stop Tableau Server:

    Use the tsm stop command. To learn more, see: tsm stop.

  2. Deactivate the core-based product key:

    Use the tsm licenses deactivate command with the core-based product key.

  3. Activate the user-based product key:

    Use the tsm licenses activate command with the user-based product key.

  4. Start Tableau Server:

    Use the tsm start command.

Use user-based licenses on a server with core-based licensing

The 2018.1 release of Tableau Server now lets you to add user-based licenses to Tableau Server installations with core-based licensing. If you upgrade a Tableau Server installation to 2018.1 without activating user-based licenses, Tableau Server will continue to operate as it did previously, with no changes to Tableau Server UI or permissions except that the legacy Viewer site role is renamed to Read Only.

The first Creator or Explorer license that you add to Tableau Server will be used by Server Administrator users. Administrators can activate additional Creator, Explorer and Viewer licenses in Tableau Server to increase licensed user capacity. Activating these user-based licenses gives you a combination of the capabilities granted by user-based Creator, Explorer and Viewer licenses and the capabilities granted by your core-based license. To learn more about the different types of user-based licenses, see User-based licenses.

Note: The unlimited number of users who have full access to Tableau Server under core-based licensing have equivalent capabilities to users with an Explorer license under user-based licensing.

For example, if a Tableau Server installation has a 16 core license that includes guest access, and you added 10 Creator licenses, that server would have the following capabilities:

  • A limit of 16 processor cores on hardware that runs Tableau Server
  • Guest access
  • Unlimited Explorer licenses (from the unlimited user licenses that come with a core license)
  • 10 Creator licenses

Example of completing a migration from core-based licensing

To extend the example above: If the core-based license was then deactivated, the following capabilities would be available:

  • No limits on server hardware
  • No guest access
  • 10 Creator licenses

If you then added 50 Explorer licenses and 200 Viewer licenses, the following capabilities would be available:

  • No limits on server hardware
  • No guest access
  • 10 Creator licenses
  • 50 Explorer licenses
  • 200 Viewer licenses