Tableau’s Approach to Cloud: It’s All about Choice

By Ashley Jaschke 2016/05/04

Tableau’s internal business systems are powered by the cloud. You’ll find us using as our CRM, Jive to run our community boards, and ServiceNow to handle workplace requests. And of course, you’ll see Tableau powering our business analytics.

Many of our customers also use the cloud to run their businesses. And they’re taking different paths to get there. Some are moving data to the cloud. Others are transitioning infrastructure to cloud platforms. Often they’re doing both simultaneously. Still more are born in the cloud and run on web applications and cloud-native data.

To meet the many needs of our customers, Tableau’s approach to cloud is simple: It’s all about choice. The choice of how and where you deploy your analytics. The choice to analyze any data, regardless of where it resides, no matter how you’ve chosen to deploy your analytics.

Deploying Your Analytics in the Cloud

You’ve built your analytics in Tableau Desktop. Now you want to share them with colleagues and clients. The first aspect of our approach to cloud is ensuring you have the choice to deploy your analytics in whatever way makes sense for your business. And regardless of what you choose, Tableau works with all your data, whether in the cloud or on-premise.

Fully-Managed Cloud Analytics with Tableau Online

As a fully-managed SaaS product, Tableau Online requires neither installation nor maintenance. In seconds you can sign up and begin securely sharing your analytics from Tableau Desktop. When you need to add users to your site, you can effortlessly scale up at whatever pace makes sense for you.

The security and reliability of your analytics are our top priority, and Tableau Online has a dedicated team working to maintain your site. And as a web application, you’ll never have to install or configure a software update again. We’ve also recently added a Tableau Online data center in Europe, giving you the option to deploy your analytics from the US or the EU.

Analytics Deployed in Public Cloud with Tableau Server

Tableau Server is the installed version of Tableau Online. It can be deployed on all major public cloud providers, allowing you to maintain full control of the software in your cloud environment.

Already running business applications on Amazon Web Services (AWS)? Deploy Tableau Server on Amazon EC2. Prefer Microsoft Azure? Tableau Server is tuned to run on Azure’s virtual machines. Using Google Cloud Platform? Tableau Server is now also compatible with Google Compute Engine.

We also offer Tableau Server preconfigured for one-click installation in both AWS and Microsoft Azure marketplaces. Simply choose the size of your deployment, and click to launch. In seconds, a virtual machine spins up with a pre-installed instance of Tableau Server. Don’t yet have a license but still want to test things out? Our free 14-day trial is available in both marketplaces.

For organizations running a private cloud, Tableau Server is also fully compatible with these environments.

Connecting to Your Data in the Cloud

The second aspect of our approach to cloud is enabling you to work with all your data, no matter where it resides. Tableau Online and Tableau Server both provide native connections to cloud and on-premise data sources.

Cloud Data

Tableau supports connections to over 40 types of data sources, many of which can be hosted on cloud services like Amazon RDS. Tableau Server deployed on a cloud platform connects directly (“live”) to all 40+ of these sources, including when they are hosted in the cloud.

Tableau Online supports data extracts of all 40+ data sources, excepting multidimensional cubes. Tableau Online also supports direct connections to the following cloud-hosted data sources:

  • Amazon Redshift
  • Amazon Aurora
  • Google BigQuery
  • Google Cloud SQL
  • Hive and Impala on Amazon Elastic MapReduce
  • HP Vertica
  • Microsoft Azure SQL Data Warehouse
  • Microsoft Azure Database (Marketplace DataMarket)
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • MySQL
  • PostgreSQL
  • Snowflake
  • Spark SQL

Data from Web Applications

Today, vast amounts of data also streams in from web applications. Tableau Online and Tableau Server both support connections to the following web apps:

  • Google Analytics
  • Any website publishing data in JSON, XML, or HTML formats (this includes Facebook, Twitter, and many more), using our Web Data Connector.
  • Quickbooks, Google Sheets, Google AdWords, Marketo, and Eloqua are coming soon!

On-Premise Data

If your organization has a hybrid cloud strategy, you may also have important data stored on-premise. With any Tableau product you choose, you’ll be able to access this data. Tableau Server hosted on a cloud platform supports live connections to all 40+ Tableau-compatible data sources, including when they are hosted on-premise. Tableau Online uses our Sync Client to automatically publish extracts of on-premise data sources directly to your site on a scheduled basis.

It’s Your Choice!

Our goal is to provide you with the best analytics solution for your business. Depending on your needs, Tableau Online or Tableau Server on a cloud platform empower you to share analytics in the cloud.

To understand some additional differences between these two products, check out our comparison guide.


Submitted by Gaurav P. on

Ashley - thanks for this article. The recent announcement by AWS and Tableau offering per hour pricing for Tableau Server on the AWS Marketplace is a great option for customers looking to get started on Tableau Analytics and Collaboration. The AWS Marketplace offers the ability to buy and configure Tableau Server in 10, 25, 50 and 100 user variations. It is a great way to jumpstart a pilot. For users that may not have the AWS skills and experience we have developed a jumpstart wizard called StackBuilder available at that allows users to quickly launch their own Tableau Servers on AWS. Thanks again for the great post!


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