Yes, you can extract data from a SQL server. How big is the table you'll be extracting?
Not too large-- see the workbook. I am wondering if it is the only way I can create a Pareto table using distinct counts. Is there any other workaround? What is the benefit of extracting?
There are numerous benefits with using the extraction within Tableau. More efficient as it's leveraging the column data store, gives you access to functions which may not be available with certain data sources...
But, I could have sworn SQL allowed for COUNTD
This function is not available in the following cases: workbooks created before Tableau Desktop 8.2 that use Microsoft Excel or text file data sources, workbooks that use the legacy connection, and workbooks that use Microsoft Access data sources.
However a workaround for COUNTD can be to build a WINDOW_SUM(MIN(1)) to give you count distinct then just set up the compute using based on level of aggregation.