10 Replies Latest reply on May 11, 2018 2:00 AM by Steve Adams

    Tableau Performance with Mac Pro - Experiences?

    Max Bahne

      Hey,

       

      I have got a question regarding the Tableau performance with a Mac Pro. I have built very complex reportings in Tableau which I upload to Tableau Server. After the last iteration of modifying the reportings, my machine takes up to 40 minutes to calculate the reportings before they were uploaded to Tableau Server. So I asked myself if I can improve the performance significantly if I use a Mac Pro instead of my MacBook Pro. Has anyone collected some experiences with this topic? That would be very helpful for me.

       

      Here are some more details on the current setup:

       

      I am using Tableau Desktop Professional 10.1, but I will upgrade to 10.3 any time soon. The reportings are feeded out of 13 data sources with round about 2 million rows and 20 dimensions/measures, so I have a dataset of 40 million cells. I am working with extracts, not with live connections.

       

      Currently I am working with a 2017 MacBook Pro with 2.9 GHz i5, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD and mac OS Sierra. The Mac Pro I have in mind is the 8-Core Xeon E5 with 3,0 GHz, 32 GB RAM, two AMD Fire Pro D700 GPUs and 512 GB SSD. I already checked some benchmarks and I noticed that the Mac Pro gets a score that is four times higher than the MacBook Pro-score - but it is hard for me to evaluate if that difference in performance will have a significant impact on the Tableau performance.

       

      By the way: Does anyone know if Tableau Desktop also uses the GPUs for calculation? I know that there was a huge performance improvement in Bitcoin mining after they started to use GPUs for calculation too.

       

      Best regards,

       

      Max

        • 1. Re: Tableau Performance with Mac Pro - Experiences?

          Nicholas Hara aka performance guru, mind taking a look?

          • 2. Re: Tableau Performance with Mac Pro - Experiences?
            Nicholas Hara

            Hi Max,

             

            You will probably experience some performance gains by upgrading your hardware. I do not recommend upgrading just yet though.

             

            I'm not precisely certain what would be slowing down your views or where the issue is occurring. It could simply be network related. Before purchasing a new computer I would strongly recommend taking a performance recording to see what is causing load times to be slow. Additionally, I recommend taking a look at this article: 6 Tips to Increase Dashboard Performance

             

            Follow the blog and see if you can find some areas where performance can be improved.

             

            As for utilizing GPUs, Tableau does use accelerated graphics for rendering views. Data visualization currently requires a lot of read activity on the disk though, a task that a GPU cannot handle. Additionally, data transfer often happens over a network, another area where GPUs are unable to assist with accelerating.

             

            Hope this helps!

            • 3. Re: Tableau Performance with Mac Pro - Experiences?
              Max Bahne

              Hey Nicholas,

               

              thank you very much for the detailed answer! I already looked at the performance report and it seems that I have some combinations of views which are responsible for the lack of performance. I will chat with my colleagues if they can work with another visualisation.

               

              Best regards,

               

              Max

              • 4. Re: Tableau Performance with Mac Pro - Experiences?
                Nicholas Hara

                Can you post the workbook and/or the performance recording?

                 

                A slow viz can usually be fixed by being strategic about what is in the view.

                • 5. Re: Tableau Performance with Mac Pro - Experiences?
                  Max Bahne

                  Hey Nicholas,

                   

                  unfortunately I cannot post the workbook or the performance recording, because it contains sensible data and we have a very strict data policy here in Germany. But I can describe you what causes the lack of performance: I have one overall view where I collect all important KPIs from different ad channels (Facebook, YouTube etc.). Therefore I created a dashboard with containers. These containers contain a lot of data tables (5 data tables for every channel + one bar chart for every channel). In addition to that the dashboard is part of three stories - all in one .twb. Unfortunately I have not found another solution which fits our business needs (we need this dashboard in our story and we need all three stories on Tableau Server too). Maybe you have an idea to improve the performance?

                   

                  Best regards,

                   

                  Max

                  • 6. Re: Tableau Performance with Mac Pro - Experiences?
                    Kyle Smith

                    Asking a similar question - I have a 2015 Macbook Pro (2.8GHz Quad Core, 16GB) and am wondering if I will see a decent performance improvement with the new 2017 Kaby Lake Macbook Pro or even the Mac Pro (8 Core, 64GB Ram). The newer Macbook pro has a much faster SSD, and the Mac Pro would allow for more RAM as well.

                    • 7. Re: Tableau Performance with Mac Pro - Experiences?
                      Nicholas Hara

                      Hi Kyle, my response remains the same as with Max. While a faster computer will always perform better at similar tasks, Tableau is not designed to need the latest hardware to perform well.

                       

                      If you are experiencing performance issues, then the cause is unlikely to be related to hardware.

                       

                      A 2015 Macbook Pro is still miles ahead of most computers running Tableau currently.

                       

                      If you cannot post your workbook to the forums due to confidentiality issues, Tableau Technical Support or Professional Services can assist with improving performance while maintaining confidentiality.

                      • 8. Re: Tableau Performance with Mac Pro - Experiences?
                        Max Bahne

                        Hey everyone,

                         

                        maybe I can give you a quick update to the topic I mentioned in the first post: I upgraded to Tableau 10.3 after my company upgraded our Tableau Server to 10.3. That reduced the uploading time of the reporting significantly (from 40 minutes to 15 minutes). Furthermore I improved my workbook: I had four dashboards that contain a lot of views with many filters - after combining many views into a single one, the processing time was reduced too (from 15 minutes to 5 minutes). Maybe that will help you, Kyle, with your issues.

                        Nonetheless I will receive a Mac Pro because I need a high-performance machine for applying some text mining algorithms, so I can provide an update if I could increase the Tableau performance again with the new machine.

                         

                        Best regards,

                         

                        Max

                        • 9. Re: Tableau Performance with Mac Pro - Experiences?
                          Max Bahne

                          Hey everyone,

                           

                          I received the Mac Pro a few days ago and I am blown away: The performance boost is significant! As I mentioned in my first post, I have a high complexity in my reportings and with the Mac Pro they get calculated a lot faster then with my Macbook Pro. So if you have the opportunity to use this machine for Tableau and if you have very complex calculations in your reportings, I would recommend to use the Mac Pro.

                           

                          Best regards,

                           

                          Max

                          • 10. Re: Tableau Performance with Mac Pro - Experiences?
                            Steve Adams

                            Hi

                             

                            Sorry to jump on this thread, but I have a related question...

                             

                            I have just upgraded my iMac from 8 to 40 Gb RAM. Running an extract refresh doesn't seem to have reduced the speed significantly, and I notice that Tableau is only using 5 Gb of RAM. Do I need to configure anything to allow Tableau to grab more RAM? There is 20 Gb sitting around idle at the moment..

                             

                            Many thanks

                             

                            Steve