Review: Tableau Server

Product Review: Tableau Server

Tableau Software is a data visualization company started in California in 2003 by three men from Stanford. The eight-word mission statement Tableau sticks to is, “We help people see and understand their data.” Their products range from desktop to online services that help individuals and organizations understand their data and put analytics to work.

Related: Server and Application Monitor, monitors/alerts on the health and status of servers and their applications

Tableau Server makes interfacing with data easy and intuitive for users. Little-to-no support from IT is required for Tableau to operate, which makes both IT and users happy.

Efficient servers are necessary in the business world today so that the vast quantities of information being transmitted to, through, and from businesses can be delivered to the right people at the right time. Servers need to transmit data, perform data analysis and manipulate data. The transformation of raw data into something meaningful and an insightful presentation of this data is crucial to a business’s success.

Related: Storage Resource Monitor helps administrators manage resources, capacity and troubleshoot storage environments

Additionally, servers need to do all of the things mentioned above while being safe and reliable. Data security is one of the industry’s top concerns, especially with the increasing pull of virtualization. Reliability is also a necessary feature of a successful server that way employees and admins can access and update data when and where they desire.

Related: Database Performance Analyzer, detects, diagnoses and helps resolve the root cause of long wait times and database performance issues, for MySQL, Oracle and DB2 and SQL Server

Tableau Software provides a solution to this server need. In addition to their desktop, online and mobile products, Tableau delivers a server product called Tableau Server. Tableau Server provides solutions to all of the basic server needs while adding details that make it one of the best options on the market today. The Server operates by housing and sharing dashboards created in Tableau Desktop in a matter of minutes. These dashboards can be accessed by users from mobile devices like tablets and phones as well as from individual PCs.

Desktop to Server
Desktop to Server

The most recent release of Tableau Server (ver. 9.3) boasts improvements to self-service, flow, data, and speed capabilities. Self-service improvements include improved search feature, improved versioning capabilities, content and server management, and improved content analytics.

Related: Log and Event Manager, monitors log data from devices and applications on the network. Alerts and takes action against suspicious and malicious activities detected

New Publish Data Source flow makes it easier for a user to publish and update data visualizations and communicate updates to other team members via notifications. Improved connectivity also allows for easier access for authorized users from mobile devices and browsers. Data improvements include easier combination methods for existing data, the ability to create groups and bins and faster connections by only displaying data you’re interested in instead of the data in the entire workbook.

Related: Network Performance Monitor monitors/alerts on the health and status of network nodes and interfaces

Tableau’s speed enhancements help keep Tableau Server relevant and competitive in the server market. Its use of fresh data and near-instant updates allow users to access the most current data and share information quickly. Smaller improvements like the addition of new geographical codes for analysis, increased graphic display of personal devices, and easy-to-read totals tools also contribute to the overall improvement of speed for Tableau.

Tablet Image for Tableau
Tablet Image for Tableau

Tableau’s key differentiator is its self-service capability. Tableau Server makes interfacing with data easy and intuitive for users. Little-to-no support from IT is required for Tableau to operate, which makes both IT and users happy. Other notable features Tableau offers are its choice of deployment (You can deploy server on prem, on the private cloud (Tableau Online) or through AWS, Azure and Google), live or extracted data, and its ease of deployment and administration.

Key Features

Figure 1. Publish shared data models with Tableau Server.
Figure 1. Publish shared data models with Tableau Server.
Figure 2. Access and analyze data from anywhere.
Figure 2. Access and analyze data from anywhere.
Figure 3. Choose your analysis method and identify worksheets easier with visual customization.
Figure 3. Choose your analysis method and identify worksheets easier with visual customization.

Specifications

  • Pricing
    • $10,000 for 10 users
    • Annual upgrades and support are 25% per year
  • System Requirements
    • Microsoft Windows 7 or later
    • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 SP2 or later
  • Virtual Environments
    • Citrix, Hyper-V, Parallels, VMWare
    • Proper underlying operating system hardware
  • Internationalization
    • Unicode-enabled and compatible with data stored in any language
    • Interfaces in English, French, German, Spanish, Brazilian, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, and simplified Chinese
  • A full list of technical specifications can be found here.

Tableau continues to be one of the top companies for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms according to Gartner. 2016 is the fourth year in a row that Tableau has landed in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for this category. Other companies competing against Tableau include Qlik, Microsoft and Alteryx, with none of these competitors out-performing Tableau in their ability to execute their vision.

One of the biggest pieces of news for Tableau was the release of version 9.3 for Tableau Server in March 2016. In the past month, BBC News has highlighted Tableau for its rapid research and development, and Forbes featured Tableau to trace its foundation on “beautiful charts”. A full list of press releases and news coverage can be found on Tableau’s newsroom page. Later this year (November), Tableau will host its annual Tableau Conference where industry members can connect with each other and with Tableau.


Additional Resources:

Tableau Security 
Gartner Survey Analysis
Tableau for the Enterprise: An Overview for IT White Paper
Tableau Governed Self Service at Scale: IT Powered Business Analytics White Paper
Tableau Server on AWS White Paper

Rebecca Seasholtz

Rebecca is a senior Materials Science and Engineering major at Georgia Tech. She specializes in soft materials (i.e. plastics and textiles) and has also worked extensively with functional materials for electrical applications. Rebecca is originally from Grayson, GA and likes to spend her free time running, cycling, drinking coffee, or hanging around the campus house of a ministry she attends at Georgia Tech. Contact Rebecca at [email protected]