The Tableau 2019.3 release was a big one! It delivered everything from Tableau Catalog, to encryption at rest, and Explain Data. Today, we’ll take a deeper look at our new offering, the Tableau Server Management Add-on, to provide you more context around why we created it, what’s in it, and what you can look forward to in the future.

The Server Management Add-on brings together advanced platform capabilities in the areas of security, scalability, and manageability. It's designed for IT administrators who have more specific technical requirements to support their deployment. Tableau continues to make significant investments in enterprise configuration and management capabilities. In recent years, we’ve released Tableau Server on Linux, the brand new Hyper in-memory database engine, new APIs like Dashboard Extensions, and new security capabilities like encryption at rest.

Figure 1: Enterprise investments in the Tableau platform

Customers are deploying analytics broadly across their organizations because they recognize the transformative potential of data, have aligned their strategic initiatives and analytics strategy, and are enabling users of all skill levels to use it for informed decision-making. As customers have become more successful, we’ve started seeing larger and more complex Tableau deployments supporting more users and use cases.

Managing any platform at scale can be challenging. Deploying and running a platform for 100,000+ users has different challenges then running the same platform at 1,000 users. Based on customer feedback, we’re doubling down on capabilities specifically for large-scale, business-critical deployments. The Server Management Add-on delivers value in three key areas: increased operational efficiency, improved scalability, and enhanced security.

Let’s take a quick tour of the capabilities being delivered in each of these areas in Tableau 2019.3.

Increased operational efficiency

Tableau Resource Monitoring Tool:​ Get more from your deployment through enhanced agent-based monitoring. The Resource Monitoring Tool offers deep insights into the health and performance of a Tableau Server cluster by parsing and analyzing the logs generated by overall Server usage and combining that with monitoring of physical system usage (CPU Usage, RAM, Disk I/O etc.).

Tableau Content Migration Tool:​ Manage workbook and data source content workflows through an easy to use interface without the need for scripting. The Content Migration Tool enables workbook and data source migrations through rule-based selections and facilitates complex transformations of the content during migration. The tool works well for dev/test/prod content promotion, templatized OEM distribution, and both cross-server and intra-server.

Improved scalability

External Repository using Amazon RDS:​ For large deployments hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS), customers can choose to host the metadata repository in Amazon RDS Postgres instead of Tableau Server’s built-in Postgres database. This approach provides increased scalability and high availability for organizations with large amounts of Tableau metadata.

Workload Management: ​Optimize performance by customizing which nodes in the cluster process background jobs and extract refreshes. This provides more control, better scalability, resource governance, and in some cases, performance gains for specific workloads in Tableau Server.

Enhanced security

AWS Key Management Service:​ For customers who deploy Tableau Server on AWS, ​leverage the AWS Key Management Service (KMS) for storing the root key for encryption instead of the default built-in KMS. This integration with AWS uses IAM roles to authenticate Tableau Server to AWS KMS, ​providing an enhanced level of integration and security to meet the most demanding compliance needs​.

Looking ahead

There’s a lot of goodness being delivered in the Server Management Add-on in Tableau 2019.3, but we’re really just getting started! To take advantage of the capabilities, you must upgrade to Tableau 2019.3, so start planning that upgrade now. The Server Management Add-on is licensed separately, at the Tableau Server Deployment level. It’s $3 per user, for all users in your deployment. Subscription core pricing is also available.

Beyond 2019.3, we'll continue to add more configuration and management capabilities to meet your technical requirements. You may have noticed a couple of the capabilities were specific to customers running in the Amazon cloud. The reason we started there is because we first built and road-tested these capabilities for our own SaaS offering, Tableau Online (which runs on AWS) and have now made them available for Tableau Server customers. We also have a lot of customers who run Tableau Server on AWS, and it made sense to start there. Rest assured, we are planning to bring similar capabilities to Microsoft Azure, the Google Cloud Platform, as well as support for on-premises deployments. And speaking of Tableau Online, it is important to note that this add-on is not for Tableau Online customers. Since Tableau Online is a fully hosted service, we manage the environment on behalf of our customers, alleviating the need for the capabilities in this Add-on.

One of the next exciting items coming early next year is integration with network file storage. In addition to virtually eliminating the possibility of running out of disk space, many of these devices offer hardware snapshotting capabilities for backups. By leveraging this snapshotting with Tableau, customers will see dramatic improvements in backup and restore times. Further enhancements to the add-on include improvements to the Content Migration and Resource Monitoring tools, additional resource governance controls, support for more advanced authentication scenarios, and containerized deployments of Tableau Server.

We are excited about this new, enterprise-focused area of investments that support our customers deploying Tableau at scale. If we’ve piqued your interest, you can join the pre-release program and try out new features as they become available. Give us your feedback and be sure to let us know which other areas you’d like to see us making future investments.

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