3 Replies Latest reply on Oct 20, 2016 2:15 AM by Glen Robinson

    Best place to store Excel files used in extracts

    Alex Aitken

      I have a particular query that might benefit from some kicking about, No idea too ridiculous


      We store our excel files on a windows file store specifically created for this use.

      Our internal users can access it with the AD accounts, drop their excel files on it and then create an extract that points to the UNC path for that server. They then publish that extract, with a schedule set up to refresh the TDE. The Tableau Server admin account has the same access to this windows store so it can update quite happily. All the user needs to do now is occasionally update the excel file and know that after the next refresh the server workbook will be up to date.


      This saves us embedding excel files in the workbook, which would mean constant publishing and migration from our pre-production environment to our live environment.


      This has worked really well up to now. Our users log into tableau using SAML LDAP accounts and have access to the file store using their Windows AD accounts.


      The issue now is that we need to offer this same service to people outwith our firewalls who already have the SAML LDAP accounts for Tableau but will never have an internal windows AD account.This means that we would need to provide some sort of secure file storage, sitting outside our firewall, that these external users can log into.


      Does anyone else have a similar situation to this and what (secure) solution have you put in place to solve it? Where do you store your Excel files so that your Desktop and Server can both see them, wherever you are based?

        • 1. Re: Best place to store Excel files used in extracts
          Glen Robinson

          Hi Alex

          Have you thought about storing your spreadsheet data in Google Sheets instead?

          That way external users can store them 'securely' and your Tableau Server will be able to connect to it.

          Also, you dont have any infrastructure to manage or worry about.

          Hope this helps


          • 2. Re: Best place to store Excel files used in extracts
            Alex Aitken

            Thanks Glen. If only life were so simple


            Information Governance would probably have a field day with that one. Data will need to reside within the UK, especially with the uncertainty of Brexit looming. I suspect that a physical server would be the only solution that would fly. You built our system so you know some of the constricts that a Public Service in the UK has to comply with.


            My main worry with free cloud systems is the long term support of the spreadsheet. If I created it in my own Google sheets account and allowed the Tableau server access then it would work but if I leave my employment how would my employer maintain that sheet. We have the need for that sheet to be edited by multiple people and that data stays within UK boundaries.

            • 3. Re: Best place to store Excel files used in extracts
              Glen Robinson

              Hi Alex


              I thought that you would say that

              If you need to manage the storage that these excel files are on, then you have 2 options.

              That storage can be inside the firewall or outside.

              If its inside, then you are going to have to allow external users access and give them accounts.

              If it is outside then your Tableau Service Account is going to need to be able to access that storage.

              The potential difficultly (i think) is that your Tableau Service Account is a Domain Account, so the external storage will also need to be on a Domain, and a trust relationship created between the 2 domains (or you may be able to use ADFS, but i'm not sure).

              This means that the external storage needs to be on a domain, with a domain controller, etc...

              You will need to manage user accounts for this domain for your external users.


              I think that it would be relatively straight forward to setup on AWS (or similar). The harder part would be getting sign off, managing users, etc etc


              Hope this helps