Tableau Server is the enterprise platform software for publishing, securing and distributing the content (dashboards and data sources) created by Tableau developers. It can be installed on a standard Linux or Windows Server in your data center, private cloud or public cloud (AWS, Azure, etc.).
Tableau Online is Tableau’s SaaS offering for Tableau Server. You choose from one of seven fully managed, multi-tenant environments (five in the U.S. and two in the EU) where you simply publish and access your content. There is a very limited amount of configuration and integration options available, but what it may lack in flexibility for some organizations, it makes up for in simplicity and ease of use for others.
Adding Managed Services into the Mix
To help achieve the best of both worlds, a managed services provider can be engaged to deploy and administer your dedicated (single-tenant) Tableau Server on a public or private cloud of your choice or in your data center. InterWorks offers managed services through our ServerCare program. These services include environmental monitoring, timely support (with SLAs), quarterly health checkups by Tableau Server solutions architects, OS patching, Tableau upgrades and adoption reporting.
As part of that process, choosing the network location of your Tableau Server is an important decision that should be approached thoughtfully. With each Tableau Server Rapid Start we do, we emphasize two questions to help determine where the Tableau Server should be located.
Where is your data?
- If it’s behind a firewall, either the Tableau Server needs to also be behind this firewall (usually recommended) or a firewall exception needs to be made for your Tableau Server in a different data center to query against your databases.
- Consider network latency and bandwidth constraints between the data sources and Tableau Server. Locating your Tableau Server in a different data center than your data source can introduce additional constraints as data has to travel over the internet, usually at slower speeds.
- If the Tableau Server must live outside the data center with your databases and an inbound firewall exception cannot be made, there are ways to automate the refresh of data on Tableau Server, but they introduce additional process complexity and development time.
Where are your users?
- If your Tableau Server end users (dashboard consumers) are all going to be on your network (physically or via VPN), then it makes the most sense for your Tableau Server to live there also for maximum security and network speed.
- If one or more of your end users need to access Tableau Server via the broader internet, then there needs to be a path (via a reverse proxy or load balancer) to port 80/443 on Tableau Server. Tableau Server should not be directly accessible via the internet.
Learn More About ServerCare
We know several people who don’t have the time to fine-tune their Tableau Server and keep it running on all cylinders. We also know others who want to go beyond the scope of Tableau Online with functionality and integrations. We created ServerCare to bridge those gaps, and our team has the knowledge to turn your Tableau Server into the streamlined, centralized content hub you need it to be.
With us taking care of Tableau Server, you can focus on the reason you bought Tableau in the first place: creating beautiful, informative visualizations to help your organization succeed. If you’re interested in learning more, head over to our ServerCare page.