14 Replies Latest reply on Oct 6, 2017 11:27 AM by Matt Coles

    vizAlerts sending Multiple/Duplicate emails

    john liptak

      I want to know if anyone is having issues with duplicate emails being sent.  I have a subscription to a view on a disabled alert schedule.  The windows scheduled task is set to run every minute and everything works except that i'm getting 3 emails.  When i look at the view in Tableau i can see only 4 rows and I expect only 4 email (see below). But the first 3 rows are being emailed 3 times and the last row is being emailed only once!!.



      The disabled alerts schedule is configured to run daily at 7:30am and that's when the emails arrive.  so from that point of view everything seems to work.  But why the multiples for the first 3 rows??.

      any ideas??

        • 1. Re: vizAlerts sending Multiple/Duplicate emails
          Matt Coles

          Hi John. First, would you please direct future requests for help to our VizAlerts Group? We monitor that group closely, so responses are typically quite fast, and there are more folks there who can help. I only knew about this because I have a...drumroll...VizAlert set up to monitor the other Community sites for requests for help. (I'd move this there if I could, but I don't have rights).


          Okay, now to solve your problem. VizAlerts takes the summary data from your viz, removes all non-relevant fields (meaning any field not explicitly used by VizAlerts), then removes exact duplicate rows, then sends one email per row. It is possible that the summary data isn't showing the same thing as the viz itself. You can troubleshoot this by downloading the summary data, and seeing what data is there. Perhaps there are more rows. We've seen stuff like this occur sometimes with dual-axis visualizations as well.


          Another possibility is that this isn't even related to this viz--perhaps you have a test viz that is set up to run at the same time? Or a duplicate subscription? Check all the subscriptions that you have and see if there are any duplicates. Another way to test things out is by adding a comment to your viz with the exact text "test_alert". This will trigger a one-time execution of your VizAlert, so that would eliminate any other noise from a separate, duplicate subscription. Note that that technique will take a few minutes to work, so be a bit patient.


          Hope that's helpful to you!

          • 2. Re: vizAlerts sending Multiple/Duplicate emails
            john liptak

            Thanks Matt,

            Apologies for posting in the wrong place.


            Here's what I've tried so far..

            1) The view i'm subscribing to only contains the " Email.. " columns.  So this view is exactly as in the "Email alerts" tab above. Is this correct?

            2) I removed the " Email CC " column completely just in case this was causing issues. - Same result

            3) I changed the yaml  config file "smtp.address.from" to be my personal email thinking that there may have been issues with the from & to being the same - Same result

            4) I've ran the SQL inside the yaml file directly against the PostgreSQL database using the PGAdmin tool and it only returns 1 row.  So does this means there is only 1 subscription? (See below).



            5) I've looked at the windows scheduled task history to make sure it's only running every minute and history suggests everything is ok.


            Other things i've noticed.

            1) The emails are NOT received at "exactly" the same time in the outlook mailbox.  I have watched these come in and they are about 15-30 seconds apart.  This suggests there are 2 emails

            2) These emails always tend to go to my Junk folder.  Not sure why that is??

            3) The size of the emails DOES seems to be different.  If you look at the image above you can see there is a difference BUT i cannot see any difference.  So not sure why this is


            If you think of anything let me know


            • 3. Re: vizAlerts sending Multiple/Duplicate emails
              john liptak

              Hi Matt,

              I've spend most of the day investigating this and i "may" have found the problem.  My " Email Footer" was always set to a single blank space because i didn't want the default footer.  So I decided to remove the footer completely which means the default footer appears in the email.  This seems to have fixed the problem but I don't understand why.


              My problem with the default email footer is that it shows the email of the person who subscribed to the alert.  ie;  "This VizAlerts email generated on behalf of "the.subscriber@test.com", from view Email Alerts.  In my case, the person that subscribed to the alert is not relevant.  The subscription is only there because that's a requirement of vizAlerts.  That's why i put a blank space in the footer. 


              I then put the email footer back in and changed it from a blank space to say "--end of email--"  and it also seemed to work.  Again, I'll confirm over the next few days as i'm going to migrate this to our production environment today.  But this seems strange.


              As an aside, we have a user account called "svc_tableau".  This is the windows user account that the Tableau runs under.  When I subscribed to the view using this account, none of the alerts were triggered.  This is the account that i would prefer to user rather than my own account because this is a permanent account for Tableau.  If I ever leave the organisation my AD login will likely be disabled/removed and I'm not sure what would happen to the alerts if this happened.  But for some reason nothing happens when this "svc_tableau" account is the subscribed to the view.  Any ideas on this?



              • 4. Re: vizAlerts sending Multiple/Duplicate emails
                Matt Coles

                Again, you need to check the summary data in the view to understand why multiple emails are being sent. I have no idea why changing the footer would make a difference, unless you were referencing some other field from your data in there. Impossible to say without seeing the logs and temp files. Glad it's working for you now though!


                If "svc_tableau" has no email address in Tableau Server, its subscriptions will be ignored. Subscribers need an email address, primarily because you need to know if your alert didn't run successfully. Check to see that it has one.


                If you create an alert yourself, then leave your company, presumably your user will become unlicensed in Tableau Server. When that happens, your alert will start failing, and the admin will receive emails saying so. If you had just a Simple Alert set up, in v2.0.0, they get ignored, but if it's an Advanced Alert, then the admin will get the failure message, still. The idea is that if it's Simple, then it's clear it's just you who won't get the mail anymore, but if Advanced, then it could be impacting others.

                • 5. Re: vizAlerts sending Multiple/Duplicate emails
                  Toby Erkson

                  john liptak , did you get this to work?

                  • 6. Re: vizAlerts sending Multiple/Duplicate emails
                    john liptak

                    yes, we did.  The problem was to do with the scheduler.  I can't remember the exact specifics but our installation of Tableau was setup with just 1 background task enabled for scheduled jobs/extracts.  This meant that the VizAlerts subscriptions schedules would be in a queue with other jobs scheduled on that the site.  So a VizAlerts scheduled for 7am could in theory actually run HOURS later!! Which is why we had emails coming in at odd times and not coming in when they were expected.  We got around the problem by simply changing the schedules and increasing the number of background tasks available to run schedules.


                    To be honest, I don't like the way the whole process works.  What I was hoping was that I could run the email job (the vizalerts) immediately after the extract that it depends upon.  But unfortunately it's not designed like that.  ie; You cant have the VizAlerts as a dependency of an extract.   I don't think there is much anyone can do about it right now because of the way Tableau works.  Tableau is a very immature product from a workflow point of view.


                    Good luck

                    • 7. Re: vizAlerts sending Multiple/Duplicate emails
                      Jonathan Drummey

                      Hi John,


                      There’s a (kludgy) way to do this:


                      1) Add one of the extract failure Tableau repository data sources (there’s a few out there nowadays) to your advanced alert trigger view (or simple alert) workbook.

                      2) Blend that source into your advanced alert trigger view.

                      3) Add filters that only show the view within a given time period (like 1 hour) of the desired extract’s success. This makes the view only display when the extract has been updated in the past hour.

                      4) Subscribe that view to an hourly schedule.


                      So VizAlerts will test whether the view is ready to go on some regular basis, but only send out an alert when the extract is recently refreshed and not other times.



                      • 8. Re: vizAlerts sending Multiple/Duplicate emails
                        john liptak

                        Thanks Johnathan,

                        I'll investigate but it may be something we won't do even if it does work.  Problem is documenting the process for those that follow then having to explain why it's done like this.  I think we'll wait for Tableau to come to the party or look at alternatives to workflow.  SAP have recently been knocking on our door trying to sell their latest offerings and they seem very impressive indeed. Given that we are already a Business Objects shop it seems a natural fit and in all honesty may end up far cheaper for us than having two products.  Tableau seems to only be good at dashboards and now that the other vendors have caught up I think that Tableau are in some trouble.  Time will tell.



                        • 9. Re: vizAlerts sending Multiple/Duplicate emails
                          Matt Coles

                          Thanks for the detailed follow up! Your other issues and concerns notwithstanding, I should clarify that VizAlerts does not use Backgrounder processes and will not be enqueued alongside Subscriptions and Extracts and the like. If the Scheduled Task responsible for running VizAlerts kicks off every minute, as is expected, the VizAlerts should begin firing no later than one minute after their schedule was set for. Many VizAlerts running at the same time will certainly be queued up, but they'd be queued within VizAlerts, not within the Backgrounder queue. So the number of Backgrounders you were running should not directly not affect the performance of VizAlerts.


                          If firing directly after an extract refresh task completed was a big deal for you, I'd consider adding it into the changes for 2.1.0, but it sounds like you might be looking at other solutions in a bigger sense. Still, good to know that it is something important to you--it's likely others feel just as strongly.

                          • 10. Re: vizAlerts sending Multiple/Duplicate emails
                            john liptak

                            Thanks Matt,

                            Yes, apologies for that.  It's been a while since I needed to look at this and forgot exactly how vizalerts works.  We had a process that was taking hours to complete it's extract and because of this all other extracts were being queued.  When the extract I wanted finally ran (10 hours late), vizalerts would send the emails about a minute after that.  It was just one of those things that required a deeper understanding of how Tableau schedules and background processes work because It made no sense at all why we would get emails at random times and we spent way too long on it.  In fact it was just by chance that I was looking at reviewing our job schedules that i noticed what was going on.


                            We analysed all our schedules and put all long-running extracts into a serial schedule and at the same time increased the background processes from 1 to 3.  This meant that the extract with the vizalerts subscription ran almost on time and we would get emails almost immediately after that.


                            As for having emails sent directly after extracts are completed, yes absolutely.  This is what I am looking for and hoping that Tableau will eventually make part of the product. In short, when the extract completes,  send the emails in the email viz..  If it fails don't send any emails.  ie; Don't send emails based on a stale (yesterdays) extract.  This makes the emails dependent directly on the extract irrespective of the time of day it runs.


                            Our final strategy for workflow is complicated.  There are many groups involved.  We're a very large Govt. Department and we have many fragmented installations of SAP/Business Objects and Tableau.  But now there is the possibility of consolidating all our Business Objects and Tableau installations and as part of this we are reviewing the qualities of each product v's cost associated.  Since Business Objects now have a very impressive dashboard/presentation tool the question raised is..do we need both? But this is a long way off and nothing is certain so any enhancements to vizalerts/Tableau in the meantime will be welcome



                            • 11. Re: vizAlerts sending Multiple/Duplicate emails
                              Matt Coles

                              Good to know, I'll see what we can do!

                              • 12. Re: vizAlerts sending Multiple/Duplicate emails
                                Toby Erkson

                                Yes, thanks John for the feedback!


                                I can verify about VizAlerts successfully firing every minute as that is how I have my environment set up.  Here's my VizAlert for failed extracts:  Re: Alerts you've created, Alerts that you want


                                While I agree that Tableau for the enterprise still needs work it's does more than dashboards!  Plus Tableau is constantly improving just like all the major players.  This twitter hashtag shows how exciting Tableau can be:  #makeovermonday hashtag on Twitter

                                Adam Crahen works for the government (U.S. Department of Interior) and they use Tableau:  Adam Crahen (@acrahen) | Twitter  He would be a good person to talk to about why/how they use Tableau.  He was part of a presentation online about using Tableau...I just can't remember where that video is

                                As does Rody ZakovichRody Zakovich (@RodyZakovich) | Twitter

                                We have SAP (one of the many data sources we use) and people are leaving it and coming over to Tableau because it's easier to use and faster since they don't have to rely upon an IT team to create the reports they need.  Same thing is happening with our Cognos users and even some webFocus users.


                                However, if you are in a well-established BI environment with many processes that are dependent upon each other then I can understand that sticking to what everyone knows is easier and less costly (time & money).

                                • 13. Re: vizAlerts sending Multiple/Duplicate emails
                                  Adam Crahen
                                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                  • 14. Re: vizAlerts sending Multiple/Duplicate emails
                                    Matt Coles

                                    Hey John. This thread came back up for me in an unrelated Google search. Just wanted to let you know that the "Run VizAlert on Extract Refresh success (and/or failure)" is a feature included in the latest release, 2.1.0.