“The more you have in your cup, the more likely people are, to want a drink.”
In the first eight chapters you have learned how to use tableau to connect to data, analyze data, visualize data, and build dashboards. Chapters 9, 10, and 11 are about installing, managing, and maintaining tableau’s information sharing products. Tableau provides three distinct tools for sharing information-tableau public, tableau online, and tableau server.
Tableau public is a free cloud-hosted service aimed at bloggers, students, or data visualization enthusiasts who want to share their work publicly. It is not designed for enterprise environments that demand data security. In fact, anything published on tableau public is openly available for anyone to download. This tool is predominantly not used in enterprise environments that need to control access to the information and put it confidential.
Tableau server is for customers who want to control where and how the data must be stored and managed. It can be installed on hardware behind your firewall or on cloud services that you contract with directly. You can license it by named-user, or based on the server hardware that is installed.
Tableau online (released recently in 2013) is another cloud-based information sharing environment (managed by tableau software) that provides data security without the need for installing any software or managing hardware. Your data is stored in a secure environment managed by tableau software. To start using tableau online, it just requires singing-up for the service and assigning access to your users based on your security needs.
Because tableau online is a service that doesn’t require to have provision hardware and can install any software, the majority of this chapter will be about your choices for installing and configuring tableau server. In the sections of the chapter related to setting-up security, differences between tableau server and tableau online will be discussed.
Before you install
Make sure the computer on which you’re installing Tableau Server meets the following requirements:
The reasons to deploy tableau server
Server’s architecture provides the flexibility to scale from a single box to larger multi-server deployments. User-friendly tools are provided for setup and maintenance of access to rights, scheduling,
The reasons to deploy tableau server
Server’s architecture provides the flexibility to scale from a single box to larger multi-server deployments. User-friendly tools are provided for setup and maintenance of access to rights, scheduling and notification. Once setup is complete, continuing administration is normally minimal. Downloading and installing tableau server normally can be done in less than two hours.
A new feature in tableau server version 8 provides users with the additional flexibility of editing or creating new reports and analysis. This functionality isn’t a replacement for tableau desktop, but does allow staff that doesn’t have a tableau desktop license to build and modify reports.
There are three primary reasons to deploy tableau server:
Securing proprietary or confidential data is not only a business need, but also a legal requirement. Information managed by health care providers, insurance companies, and government entities is controlled by law. Businesses have a legal obligation to ensure that private employee and customer data is kept confidential and secure. Questions regarding policy implementation, data stewardship, and adaptability have to be balanced against this need for security.
Technology staff must be concerned about the accuracy and consistency of the data being consumed by staff without being overly controlling. Tableau server balances these different needs very well by supporting best practices in data governance. It allows information technology staff to maintain control over data sources (providing a single version of the truth) while simultaneously providing information consumers with the ability to adapt reports to their own purposes-without the need for additional technical staff or without any need to resort to create new (unauthorized) data sources.
Sharing reports are very easy via tableau’s free desktop report consumption tool-tableau reader. However, this approach doesn’t scale well and provides only limited means for securing the underlying data. Updating desktop reports is easy, but can be time-consuming if you have dozens of weekly reports to deliver. Tableau server provides a secure environment for report consumption and can automatically update reports and inform users about new report availability via the server’s subscription service. Administrators can monitor, report consumption, server utilization, and performance.
Tableau online provides similar benefits at a lower price point, but requires publishing your tableau reports outside your firewall.
Many times the data source doesn’t include all of the information desired. Domain experts inside your entity may create initial workbooks that address aggregation needs, dimension grouping, and other particulars that would be desirable to share with everyone using tableau. Server facilitates this sharing by allowing users to publish that metadata via data source files through the server-thus saving everyone time and ensuring report consistency. If those data source files are modified, then changes are automatically propagated to everyone using that data source.
Personnel consuming reports don’t need to install any software to view reports because everything is viewed via a web browser. Internet explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari are all supported.
While tableau connects directly to a wide variety of sources, if you desire to run reports from data extracts, extract updates can be scheduled to run automatically at any time interval desired. Do not underestimate the level of demand that tableau generates. In short order, your deployment may go from a few users to hundreds, and then thousands. The number of reports will increase as well as the server provides the users with an easy-to-navigate consumption environment that allows them to ask questions and get answers. It provides administrators with the means for managing and updating reporting needs without the need for daily manual intervention.
Reports published via server can include direct connections to data sources or data extracts that are automatically updated by the server. Administrators can assign rights for publishing, consuming and even modifying reports. Reports can be embedded into existing company websites, and tableau can pass through the security layer without requiring the user to enter redundant login information. Information consumers can securely view and edit reports via the web on their desktop, laptop, and on IOS or android tablet devices.
Tableau server is a robust environment that not only provides technology managers with the tools to secure and maintain the environment but also provides information consumers with fast access to the information they need.
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As a Senior Writer for Mindmajix, Saikumar has a great understanding of today’s data-driven environment, which includes key aspects such as Business Intelligence and data management. He manages the task of creating great content in the areas of Programming, Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, Oracle BI, Cognos, and Alteryx. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.