Dynamic Workload Driven Data Integration in Tableau

Proceedings of SIGMOD’12 May 2012. 807-16.

Tableau is a commercial business intelligence (BI) software tool that supports interactive, visual analysis of data. Armed with a visual interface to data and a focus on usability, Tableau enables a wide audience of end-users to gain insight into their datasets. The user experience is a fluid process of interaction in which exploring and visualizing data takes just a few simple drag-and-drop operations (no programming or DB experience necessary). In this context of exploratory, ad-hoc visual analysis, we describe a novel approach to integrating large, heterogeneous data sources. We present a new feature in Tableau called data blending, which gives users the ability to create data visualization mashups from structured, heterogeneous data sources dynamically without any upfront integration effort. Users can author visualizations that automatically integrate data from a variety of sources, including data warehouses, data marts, text files, spreadsheets, and data cubes. Because our data blending system is workload driven, we are able to bypass many of the pain-points and uncertainty in creating mediated schemas and schema-mappings in current pay-as-you-go integration systems.


Morton, K., Morton, R.

Tableau Author(s)

Ross Bunker, Jock Mackinlay, Chris Stolte