12 Replies Latest reply on Nov 29, 2018 3:55 PM by Bryan Fernandez

    Upgrading Tableau and Migrating to VMWare

    James Hollington

      Hi there,


      We currently have two application servers running Tableau 10.1.1 (10100.16.1103.2343) 64-bit on two identical physical boxes, which are HP ProLiant DL380 G7 with 64GB of RAM and Xeon CPU X5680 @ 3.33GHz.  One server is the active server and the second is the passive server, sitting ready if the active server fails.


      As the Tableau version is over two years out of date we are planning to upgrade to 2018.1 and part of this upgrade process is to create a virtual server to replace the physical tin but, a proof of concept needs to be created first.


      I would like to first install the same Tableau version we currently have on the physical boxes onto the virtual server and do a like for like benchmark and compare the performance results.  My first thought would be to use a log snapshot taken from the active server and use LogShark and Replayer to see how the virtual server would handle the workload.


      My question is would this be the best thing to achieve the desired benchmarking results?


      Many thanks



        • 1. Re: Upgrading Tableau and Migrating to VMWare
          Michael Gillespie

          Sure, that will work.  Not sure the results you get will be terribly meaningful, though.  10.1 and 2018.x are completely different codebases.


          Make sure you read and understand the proper way to configure VMware to host Tableau Server.  It is NOT the same configuration as a normal workload.  Tableau Server needs custom configuration, and most VMware shops are reluctant to configure the hosts optimally for Tableau.

          • 2. Re: Upgrading Tableau and Migrating to VMWare
            James Hollington

            Hi Michael,


            Thanks for your response.


            I will be comparing version 10.1 on the virtual and physical at first.  Need to make sure my proof of concept machine is configured to the same version of Tableau as the current physical environment.



            • 3. Re: Upgrading Tableau and Migrating to VMWare
              Michael Gillespie

              Sorry, misunderstood you!  I get it.

              • 4. Re: Upgrading Tableau and Migrating to VMWare
                Donna Coles

                Thanks for posting James - any advice you can offer James in relation to this move to a VM environment and how to verify its fit for purpose would be appreciated.  James is my network/infrastructure colleague and working with me to get this done at our company.


                Thanks in advance!


                • 5. Re: Upgrading Tableau and Migrating to VMWare
                  Bryan Fernandez

                  Hi James,


                  In my opinion,  comparing the Physical hosts and the virtual machine

                  will have different results, as you know that Hosts server share its resources

                  to the Guest Machines.


                  Now, talking about Tableau Server 10.1 , you may surely not get the same speed that your current

                  Tableau Server experience on the Physical server where it resides. Knowing the obvious factor

                  of the basic system requirements of Tableau Server, it requires a minimum of 32GB of RAM, 8 Cores,

                  All Technical Specifications | Tableau Software

                  Note that minimum won't give you better results as you were expecting.


                  Your Hosts server already accumulated its resources already by its Operating systems and applications,

                  adding VM system on top of it will surely increased its workload.


                  I agree with Michael that 2018.1 is far different to 10.x versions. As its overhauled and added lots of features

                  and knowing it will not be perform the same compare to older versions.


                  Knowing your server hardware requirements and the applications needed system requirements

                  are the key.




                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: Upgrading Tableau and Migrating to VMWare
                    Michael Gillespie

                    I have attached 2 relevant white papers to this reply; they are a little old, but still very relevant.


                    To take off from Bryan's response, there are some things to consider as you start the process of migrating to VMware.


                    First, and this is one of the critical things to know about Tableau on any virtualization solution, for optimal performance, Tableau Server should be the only software on the ESX host.  Tableau's architecture assumes that it has access to the entire operating environment, and it reserves something like 90% of available system memory for its own purposes.  Tableau Server then manages that memory across all the components of the environment to provide an optimal experience.  Letting VMware manage memory dynamically across multiple guest environments on the same host will (eventually) result in a degraded performance experience for your users.


                    Bryan may very well be right that all things being equal, you will see a slight performance decrease on VMware vs. bare metal, since you have an additional layer of software between the Windows operating system and the hardware.  It is not a huge difference however, and I wouldn't let that impede my choice of virtualization vs. bare metal.


                    I mentioned that the 2018.x codebase is completely different from 10.x and previous versions.  As I understand it, it was a complete rewrite of the codebase, and overall the 2018.x stream is more efficient and more performant than previous releases.  As always, much depends on the specifics of your use cases, but you should not be surprised to see a performance lift by moving to 2018.x, even accounting for the additional of the virtualization layer.


                    Lastly, now is the time to engage your VMware colleagues in planning for this deployment.  As I noted, the optimal configuration for VMware running Tableau Server is NOT the same as for a generic workload.  Helping your VMware team understand why that is the case, and educating them about what Tableau needs to run successfully before you attempt a deployment will help a lot later.


                    Search the forums for a couple of really good past discussions about VMware.  Your big takeaway should be that Tableau runs very successfully on virtualized hardware, all over the world.  Achieving that takes collaboration and customized configuration - but it CAN be done.

                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
                    • 7. Re: Upgrading Tableau and Migrating to VMWare
                      James Hollington

                      Excellent, thanks for your reply Bryan.

                      • 8. Re: Upgrading Tableau and Migrating to VMWare
                        James Hollington

                        Thanks, Michael, this is awesome.  Will take a look at the whitepapers.


                        Our ultimate goal is to upgrade to 2018.1 running on VMware so, the improvement to the newer versions are in our favour.


                        Many thanks,

                        • 9. Re: Upgrading Tableau and Migrating to VMWare
                          Bryan Fernandez

                          As Michael says, Physical and logical machines are different yet they do the same job. Using VMware for me is highly recommended particulary in deploying server systems.


                          In this case, Tableau Server has just its necessary configurations and required resources for it to work efficiently.

                          Im into virtualizations and I did a lot of it on a wide array of system applications and services.


                          Yet answering your question for speed, you can still have it (but not the same) by migrating to VMWare from bare metal.

                          Following the recommended tuning will do better results.


                          Maybe Tableau Server 2018.3.0 will do better perhaps?




                          • 10. Re: Upgrading Tableau and Migrating to VMWare
                            Donna Coles

                            HI Bryan - whilst my ideal would be to move to 2018.3, I'm concious the introduction of TSM in v2018.2 has caused a fair amount of pain for those trying to upgrade.  We're already taking a leap from v10.1, so moving this far up is just a step too far I feel with the noise I've seen in the community.  Once we're established on v2018.1 and hopefully on VM, I'm hoping the upgrade to v2018.3 (or whatever version is released), will be smoother as Tableau will have ironed out the current pain points, and easier for us to manage with a VM environment.   I've seen your other thread with all the additional steps and issues/workarounds you've been documenting and I applaud the effort you've put in and the help/advice you're giving to others.  I'm hoping Tableau are taking note and addressing it all to make the upgrade process much cleaner.



                            • 11. Re: Upgrading Tableau and Migrating to VMWare
                              Michael Gillespie

                              Donna, a word of caution.


                              Your approach is right, but the details are going to bite you.


                              DO NOT go to 2018.1 first.  You cannot upgrade 2018.1 to a later release.  Start with 2018.2 - that release provides an in-place upgrade path to 2018.3 and beyond.

                              There were significant changes under the covers between .1 and .2.  .2 is a much more stable release, with more TSM functionality.

                              • 12. Re: Upgrading Tableau and Migrating to VMWare
                                Bryan Fernandez

                                Hi Donna,


                                Thank you for noticing it.

                                However, 2018.1 and 2018.3 on upgrading method is different also, 2018.3 will wipe out

                                your 2018.1 settings as it needs to have fresh installation. Your 2018.1 data backup and later versions

                                is the only thing that you can preserved.