3 Replies Latest reply on Jun 28, 2012 10:15 AM by Tim Latendress

    Tableau server with published data source vs. local data extract -- which yields better performance?

    Steve Wexler

      Hello,

       

      I am running into myriad nasty problems trying to use published data sources.

       

      I'll explain in a moment, but I need to know if Tableau Server performs differently under the following two scenarios:

       

      1. A very large packaged workbook (230MB) where the TDE is embedded in the TWBX file; vs,
      2. A small workbook that uses a very large TDE from a published data source.

       

      I'm hoping that somebody makes my day and tells me that either the first is better or that performance will be the same as using a published data source.  I've run into a lot of frustrations using published data sources starting with the timing of when the source is first created.  I made the "mistake" of creating one after I had already crafted a lot of custom calculations; these custom calculations where then subsumed by the data source as opposed to being part of the workbook.

       

      I realize this is by design, but when I attempt to change data sources (which has been fraught with problems, including Tableau crashing) the new data source does not have any of the custom functions that were once in the workbook but were moved to the data source.

       

      I think for what my client needs to do we will be happier doing this

       

      1. Connect to MS SQL Server
      2. Create workbook
      3. Create extract
      4. Publish workbook
      5. Schedule workbook refreshes
      6. Chang connection to point to different MS SQL database
      7. Create different extract
      8. Publish "identical" workbook but with different data extract embedded
      9. Schedule workbook refreshes
      10. Poor a cold one and kick back

       

      So, who's gonna make my day?

       

      Steve

        • 1. Re: Tableau server with published data source vs. local data extract -- which yields better performance?
          Tim Latendress

          Hi Steve,

           

          Long time no see. Hope all is well.

           

          We've had quite a few growing pains with performance and data server ourselves, so I can relate.

           

          First, this was not your main question but when you connect to the data extract on the server you can then right-click on it and "Create local copy" which will bring those calcs back into your local workbook.

           

          Performance wise we have been trying out a mix of SQL Server vs. TDE options. Each case seems to perform differently either due to dashboard design inefficiencies or SQL Server indexing issues.  For the most part we have simply stayed with TDEs with nightly SQL Server refreshes. 

           

          For the very large workbooks with extracts (> 300Mb) our performance has been horrible -- 90 sec load times. The guy's users are happy because the Tableau workbook replaced a 3-week long, multi-person data processing effort. So 90 seconds is a godsend for them. However, even with that workbook, there are number of efficiencies we're trying to gain by minimizing the use of "Show sheets as tabs" and switching directly to SQL Server where it makes sense.

           

          Small workbooks connected to large server-based data seems to perform better. We have a couple of large extracts (850Mb+) that people are hitting directly and the response times are generally 12-18 seconds. Still not what I would like to see performance-wise. But we are planning major upgrades to our hardware this Fall which will gives more room to adjust the servers, workers and possibly upgrade our CPU licenses.

           

          Hope this helps in some small way.

           

          --Tim

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          • 2. Re: Tableau server with published data source vs. local data extract -- which yields better performance?
            Steve Wexler

            Tim,

             

            Hey there!  Thanks for piping in.

             

            Indeed, I know about the "create local copy" (and it has helped!) but there are still some fields that get lost when you swap sources.

             

            I also think that my client is still using an early version of server is compounding my difficulties, but I'm ditching the published data source approach for now.

             

            Hope to see you again in the not-too-distant future.

             

            Steve

            • 3. Re: Tableau server with published data source vs. local data extract -- which yields better performance?
              Tim Latendress

              I figured you already knew about that but figured I throw it out there anyway

               

              If I come across any new data server performance options I'll make sure to send 'em your way.

               

              Take care!

               

              --Tim