R is a powerful statistical language that helps people working with data uncover rich insights. With R integration in Tableau, you can run and leverage sophisticated functions within your Tableau workbooks. This includes access to a rich collection of statistical analysis, models, and data mining libraries for advanced analytics. However, to surface insights that you’ve discovered with R in Tableau, we understand that you need to securely access your R instance.

In the latest Tableau release (2018.3), we’re thrilled to announce support for TLS/SSL-secured connections to Rserve. You may be used to an External Service Connection dialogue box in Tableau (Help --> Settings and Performance --> Manage External Service Connection…) that looked like this:

In Tableau 2018.3, you'll see a new dialogue box, allowing you to "Select an External Service" to specify whether you're connecting to R to TabPy.

If you have a previously saved configuration for R, the server and port will be prepopulated for you with the existing settings. If you had a TabPy or other External API connection (most commonly Matlab), you will need to select the external service in the dropdown menu.

Otherwise, fire up a new server connection using the appropriate server information, and if it's configured for secure connections, tick the Require SSL box and click to specify the proper certificate. Once you have the right one, you can either click OK or Test Connection to verify that everything's working.

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Things to note:

Tableau's R connection uses the library Rserve, which can be compiled with OpenSSL support in versions 1.7-0 and later. Although technically possible to do so in a Windows environment, when combined with Windows using shared resources for R sessions, using a Linux or Mac environment as the host for Secure R is highly recommended. The use of a Windows-based environment is not supported by Tableau.

Secure R in Desktop is just the current step down the road for the Advanced Analytics team. We'll be extending Server capabilities in our Tableau 2019.1 release—now in beta. Stay tuned for updates! Until then, happy vizzing!

For more information about Tableau External Services, check out these resources:

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