Local Scheduling and Flow Refreshes with Tableau Prep


Local Scheduling and Flow Refreshes with Tableau Prep

by Igor Garlowski

Running multiple flows every day from your computer and opening them one by one is a method that’s far from perfect. The reason why we put work into implementing more robust solutions than copy-paste between Excel workbooks was to cut the time on manual, repetitive work. Fast-forward a few years, and we are doing it again.

Tableau Prep Conductor

To mitigate these tedious, time-consuming problems, Tableau offers a solution to schedule your flows from your Tableau Server with Tableau Prep Conductor. It is part of an add-on called Tableau Data Management and additionally offers the Tableau Catalog.

Tableau Conductor allows us to:

  • Schedule Prep flows
  • Monitor flows across your server

This does, however, come with a cost. According to the latest prices on Tableau website, it’ll cost $5.50 per user. This can add up quickly. For example, if there are 2000 users on your server, it would cost $11,000/month.

Tableau Prep Flow: Local Scheduling

Some alternatives to Conductor can be either:

  • Manually running flows locally
  • Local schedule of flows using command lines

When approached about “command lines,” many of us may feel a bit uneasy. Experience shows that in many cases, such solutions are time consuming to create and maintain, and they demand expertise not every Tableau user has.

For all the reasons above, we prepared for you an Excel workbook that will create all necessary files for you and easily enable you to schedule your workflows from your local machine.

It is very simple to make a local schedule. You only have to download the Excel workflow below, follow a few basic instructions on how to fill in the details, run the solution and use your built-in Windows Task Scheduler to run the files as often as you need.

Solution Disclaimer

  • The solution you can download below is based on the officially supported Tableau solution. You can find the detailed description of how to refresh flow output files from the command line here.
  • Local schedules depend on your computer being available to perform them, i.e. turned on, connected to the internet, etc.
  • Additionally, local schedule demands that you keep files locally on your machine with the credentials to your account for every input and output, which may be a security risk.
  • Local schedule uses your local machine to run it. It will:
    • affect the performance of your machine if you are working on it at the moment, and
    • affect the performance of the Prep flow in comparison to running it on Tableau Server

Bonus Resources

You can explore more great content in this blog series about Tableau Prep and Conductor from Dan Murray. Want to grow more familiar with the Data Management Add-on? Watch our webinar replay! And always feel free to reach out to our team for support in your Tableau journey.

More About the Author

Igor Garlowski

Analytics Consultant
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