In A Galaxy Far, Far Away…

I’ve been working in the BI (business intelligence) & report automation industry since its early days (over 20 years) and have experienced various BI tool sets. Far and away Tableau has been the easiest and most enjoyable to work with.

 

The Force Awakens

My first experience with Tableau was at the urging of a manager when Tableau Desktop was deep into version 5.  I taught myself with help from the free videos and by reading the manual.  In two weeks I had a really cool viz for our VP in IT. Additional reports came forth quickly and easily, and usage began to spread.  I was hooked and this was the droid, er, reporting software I was looking for!  Tableau Server was in its infancy and wasn’t something really necessary nor easy to justify.

 

A New Hope

A couple years later I accepted a contract job as a part-time Cognos Developer and part-time Tableau Server Administrator.  We were using Tableau Server version 7.  Using TS was still not fully enterprise-ready and there was no good access to the TS’s internal database for administrative reporting!

I became a full-time employee and version 8 was available.  This version seemed to be the turning point for Tableau to become serious about entering the corporate environment for TS.  However, version 9 is where TS began to make the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs by providing better security administration, access to the internal database, overall report processing time reduction, and programming interface updates gained importance for automation purposes.  Version 9.3 gave us much more for a typical dot-release, like it was setting up version 10 by giving some very tasty improvements:  Workbook revision history, low disk space monitoring & alerts, and progressive dashboard loading to name a few.

 

The Force Is Strong With This One

I think Admiral Ackbar would approve of the new Tableau Server environment.  There is a better focus towards enterprise administration now.  From an administrator’s point of view here are my top likes:

I was happy to see hard drive space monitoring in 9.3 but being able to track Desktop licenses is fantastic – we can finally know where our unused licenses are and give them to those who need them.

The other Jedi mind-trick is that server updates look to be much better as TS will have an installer for updates that should reduce server downtime and forced automatic backups (which can take an hour and longer!) are now optional.  These behind-the-scenes may not seem sexy like performance improvements (yes, Tableau keeps improving in this arena as well) but for administrators it makes our job that little bit easier and faster, allowing us to spend time where it can better be used.

 

From an end user’s point of view I like these additions:

Email alert when an extract fails.

Subscribe others to vizes.

Enhanced web authoring.

Did I mention more performance improvements?

 

May The Force Be With You

Major versions in software always bring improvements and version 10 does not disappoint.  Coming from the server administration side of the Force I think Tableau has made notable improvements.  TS has firmly graduated from Apprentice to Padawan.  I foresee TS becoming a powerful Jedi Knight soon…

 

Your Humble Tableau Padawan,

    Toby Erkson

    tableau10