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Hi David -
At the moment, Tableau doesn't directly support sliding windows in the extract process. As a result, a "do a full refresh now and then to clear our old records" approach might be best.
Let me ask you this - is six months a magic number in terms of your analysis, or just as a rough measure of when the extract starts getting "big"?
If it's the former, you could create a pretty simple workaround by making a copy of your date field and using that copy of the field as a relative date filter, only showing the last 6 months. You could make this "copy of the date field" filter Global, and/or experiment with putting it in Context, too. Then, you could do your full refresh every week-end or something to "clean up".
Hope this helps a (very!) little?
thanks for the answer,
i do hope that the guys @ tableau software will be able to add this "sliding window" extract featrue to the next major version...
Would you mind submitting your request in the "Ideas" forum? Internal folk give the product team feedback like this, but the same request coming from a customer goes a much longer way.