Looking ahead: Updates to Tableau Server operating system requirements

Updated November 10, 2020: We are extending our dates of support for Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 for new versions of Tableau. Previously we announced that beginning with our 2021.1 release, we would no longer support these older operating systems. Our plan was that starting with 2021.1 and beyond, we would require Windows Server 2016 or later (or one of the numerous Linux versions we support).

Today we are announcing a six month extension for this change. The change is that beginning with our 2021.3 release (as opposed to 2021.1) we will require Windows Server 2016 or later. This change moves the support date from early 2021 to the second half of 2021.

As always, and per our standard policy, we support releases for 30 months from their original release, including the maintenance releases for those versions. For example, a customer running Tableau 2021.2 on Windows Server 2012 R2 will continue to be supported, including maintenance releases (such as 2021.7, 2021.2.8, and so on) for this operating system. However, upgrading to Tableau 2021.3 or later would require an operating system upgrade as well.

Why the change? Well, 2020 has been quite a year. Companies have had to deal with many unexpected hurdles in the pandemic. Our customers have been focused on priorities other than upgrading Windows Server. Acknowledging the extraordinariness of the situation, we are extending the deadline to give customers more breathing room. Ultimately every move we make is in the customer interest and we feel that this is the best way to support our customers now.

The original content of this post has also been updated:

To make Tableau Server even more scalable, performant and secure, we’re taking advantage of new operating system level containerization technologies. Starting with the third release of 2021, Tableau Server will require Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2019, or Linux.

With this change, we will end support for Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 for new versions of Tableau Server with our 2021.3 release. Of course, we will support the previous versions of Tableau for our standard 30-month support window, so the 2021.2 version will get security updates and other fixes into this first half of 2023.

A timeline showing the adjusted schedule for Tableau supporting deployments on Windows Server 2012

Tableau adjusted timeline, updated November 10, 2020

Previously, in line with Microsoft’s Windows Server support policy, we ended support for Windows 2008 with the first release of 2020, as Microsoft will no longer support the operating system with security updates.

This change only impacts new versions of Tableau Server starting in 2021. Tableau Server maintenance releases that are aligned to major quarterly releases (2019.2.0, 2019.3.0, etc.) that were released before 2021 are not impacted. There are no changes to our Linux OS support. Additionally, this change does not impact our other products including Tableau Desktop, Tableau Prep Builder, Tableau Bridge, or Tableau Online.

Why are containers a big deal and how do they help you? Basically, they make it easier to scale and support your Tableau Server deployment. Think of containers as an evolution of a virtual machine concept. The operating systems and underlying infrastructure are abstracted away.  In terms of tangible benefits, the container-based architecture will make it easier to quickly and repeatedly deploy Tableau Server and manage system resources. We can also build Tableau Server to take better advantage of dynamic elasticity, offered by our cloud partners.

We encourage you to start planning your OS upgrade strategy today. Start by learning more about the benefits of Windows Server 2019, including improved identity and security features plus the ability to integrate on-premises Windows Server workloads with Azure services such as disaster recovery. If you’ve been curious about running Tableau Server on Linux, this might be the right time to switch. Learn more and see if Linux is right for your environment.

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