1 2 Previous Next 19 Replies Latest reply on Sep 26, 2018 7:29 AM by Matt Coles

    Stale Content: How do you deal?

    Matt Coles

      How do you get rid of the kruft that always collects on Server? Old workbooks no one uses, test workbooks, datasources that have become obsolete, stuff left by past users who have moved on. I'm an Admin and I've got stuff that falls into this category, so I have to assume that it's a fairly universal problem, and that many folks have tried to solve it. Have you? What have you done, and how well did it work?

        • 1. Re: Stale Content: How do you deal?


          Great question. Here is one flow that an admin at one of our customers is using. I would love to hear what other admins are doing as well. Some of this is done outside the product.


          1. Get a list of all workbooks that haven't been viewed in X number of days (from postgres tables)

          2. For each workbook, look up the owner and email them letting them know that their workbook is not being actively used and is being considered for deletion. 

          3. The email embed a policy that clarifies to the user when the content will be deleted ( ex : in Y days your workbook will be deleted automatically, if you wish to keep the workbook please view it again or share it more widely)

          4. After a week, the admins sent another reminder to the owner of stale workbooks.

          5. After another week a final email goes to the owner of stale workbooks.

          6. At the end of the policy period, after Z number of email reminders, the admins clean up the workbook.


          There are risks and trade offs each admin would have to make in the work flow above that are specific to their business, but wanted to share the workflow for discussion.

          3 of 3 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Stale Content: How do you deal?
            vikram bandarupalli



            I've created a workbook which gives me information on how frequently the information is used, who is using it and days last used. This workbook is given to all publishers. I send bi weekly remainder emails to those who workbook hasn't been used for > 30days. I than remove any unwanted workbooks from the system.

            Since we do a daily backup, it's always easy to recover any workbooks that might have been deleted.

            1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Stale Content: How do you deal?
              Matt Coles

              Thanks Vikram! Do you do the same for data sources? Or do you treat those separately?

              • 4. Re: Stale Content: How do you deal?
                Toby Erkson

                I built this simple wkbk some time when I first began admin'ing our server.  It lets me see how long it has been since a workbook was last touched.  Trouble is, when you ask someone if they are still using it they may go look at it, thus kind of a "resetting the counter".


                I just send an email asking if they are still using it.  If not then to please delete it.  I have it on our admin page on SharePoint:


                As for data sources...huh...never occurred to me.  I'd have to figure out which ones are "old" and if still in use before removing them.

                2 of 2 people found this helpful
                • 5. Re: Stale Content: How do you deal?
                  Ken Patton

                  Over the years I have tried all the gentle approaches: calling or emailing the publishers of stale contents, etc.


                  But truth be told, not everyone responds well to the approach.


                  So, regretfully, I have gone to a more harsh treatment:  I have a network-mounted NAS drive with lots of storage room on it.  So, for Workbooks and published Data Sources which have not been touched in more than 6 months, I download them, save them on the NAS drive, then just flat-out Delete them from the Server. 


                  Every once in a while, someone squawks, or just re-publishes what they had before -- in which case we then know what content is still active / relevant.   But generally if it's been forgotten that long, then it's okay for it to stay forgotten.  We can always put it back, if the NAS is the only archival copy left in existence.


                  Not graceful or delicate, but pragmatically, it's reduced the occupation of my production Server by about 20%.

                  2 of 2 people found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: Stale Content: How do you deal?
                    Ali Powell

                    Do any of you have examples/steps on how to create these types of workbooks to monitor how often a report is viewed?  I just look at the maintenance section in Tableau Server right now but it's not always that helpful.  Is it easy to create?




                    • 7. Re: Stale Content: How do you deal?
                      Matt Coles

                      Hey Ali. First you will need to open up access to your Tableau Server repository for reporting with the "readonly" user. Then, use Tableau Desktop to build the viz you want. For myself, I've built some rather fancy published datasources that rely on CustomSQL to pull the data I need. But I threw together a simple workbook that lists all workbooks that have not been accessed in the last 90 days by way of example. When you open it, you'll need to tell the workbook what the servername is that hosts your Repository database.


                      I recommend taking an extract of this data (preferrably during an off-hour period), as the custom SQL used to build this data is pretty slow and inefficient. No warranty expressed or implied, your mileage may vary.

                      • 8. Re: Stale Content: How do you deal?
                        Toby Erkson

                        Ali Powell, my users like this:  Who has seen this view?  Workbook and View hits report.

                        It allows them to monitor the reports they create to see which ones are being used, how popular, did someone really look at the report , etc.


                        It's very basic but it provides a good start.

                        • 9. Re: Stale Content: How do you deal?
                          James Kane

                          Hi Matthew,

                          Please take a look at our Power Tools for Tableau.

                          Power Tools For Tableau

                          Our work book tools can assist with the Data Source Auditing and our Enterprise Deployment Tool can assist with Version control of workbooks, moving workbooks and more.

                          There is a free 14 day trial on the website, let me know if you need any help.


                          • 10. Re: Stale Content: How do you deal?
                            Matt Coles

                            Thanks James Kane I actually already have a key for your Power Tools and Enterprise Deployment Tool and am in frequent contact with the Interworks devs with my feedback.   They're looking great, btw!


                            Regarding stale content itself, though, I'm wondering how your tools specifically help manage that problem? I had not considered them for that particular purpose.

                            • 11. Re: Stale Content: How do you deal?
                              James Kane

                              No, thank you Matt Coles for being a customer / trialling our software.

                              Stale content is a challenge, the EDT will allow you to Archive Workbooks to a Project in a destination server or site.

                              Not sure if this helps?

                              • 12. Re: Stale Content: How do you deal?
                                Ali Powell

                                Thank you!  This is helpful

                                • 13. Re: Stale Content: How do you deal?
                                  Ali Powell

                                  Thanks Matthew!  This is also a helpful tool.  I have had a hard time finding efficient ways to pull data like this.  Thanks for input.

                                  • 14. Re: Stale Content: How do you deal?
                                    Sunil Tikar

                                    Names are not appearing .jpg

                                    Hi Toby ,I tried to build a report over my tableau server using your's (I just changed my tableau meta data connection details ) I am able to generate it but 1.I am not able to pull in Size of workbook (which can help to determine if size of it also impacting anything .

                                    2.Per image attached workbook names are not appearing properly .

                                    Any suggestions.

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