Tableau Online and Tableau Server Comparison

Version 4

    Tableau Online and Tableau Server are complementary products that provide a way to publish, share, and distribute Tableau workbooks and data sources. This article compares some of the important features, to help you decide which is the right product for your organization.


    Both Tableau Online and Tableau Server require Tableau Desktop Professional Edition for publishing workbooks (views and dashboards) and data sources.


    Tableau Online

    • Hardware and systems maintained by Tableau, outside of your firewall.

    • You can purchase and maintain multiple sites, configure users and permissions.

    • Supports live data connections to Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery, as well as to SQL-based sources hosted on cloud platforms. For a complete list, see Allow Direct Connections to Data Hosted on a Cloud Platform in the Tableau Online Help.

    • Scheduled refreshes for published data: For complete information, see Keep Data Fresh in the Tableau Online Help.

      • For extracts of cloud-based data sources, you can schedule refresh tasks directly on Tableau Online.
      • For extracts of data sources that you maintain on your local network, or for Oracle data hosted in the cloud, you can schedule refresh tasks using the Online sync client that comes with Tableau Desktop. Schedules can be as frequent as every 15 minutes. [Note: Tableau Bridge is the Online sync client plus live query functionality. Bridge was released with Tableau version 10.3, at which point it replaced the sync client]

      • You can also update extracts manually using Tableau Desktop, or automate updates using a command-line utility. Select a pre-configured schedule or create a custom schedule.

    • Authenticate users through TableauID (email address and password) or configure a site for single sign-on using SAML.

    • No guest access; all users accessing views and dashboards published to Tableau Online must be authenticated.

    • Custom branding: upload your company logo.


    Tableau Server

    • You install the software and maintain the systems on your own hardware, inside or outside your company firewall.

    • You can create and maintain multiple sites at no additional cost, configure users and permissions.

    • You can schedule refresh tasks for published extracts. Select a pre-configured schedule or create a custom schedule.

    • Can be configured for local authentication, Active Directory integration, trusted authentication, or single sign-on using SAML or Kerberos.

    • Provides Core Licensing option, which allows guest access.

    • Supports live connections to your local data sources and to Google BigQuery and Amazon Redshift. Supports published extracts.

    • Custom branding: change the logo and the company name that appears in various web browser locations and tooltips.


    Note: Tableau Public is a free service for publishing views that you can share publicly. You can create and publish views from the free Tableau Desktop Public Edition, or from Tableau Desktop Professional Edition. For information and to try it out, visit the Tableau Public website.