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Usage data does remain on Server, but not in the place where it can be referenced and reported on by Tableau Server. That's why re-publishing a deleted workbook doesn't re-create its usage stats. Use the TS Events data source I built to do historical activity reporting off the Tableau Server repository database, as it will be way easier than joining all the tables yourself. That post also has lots of other data sources that you can use to build vizzes using metadata in Tableau Server.
From what I uncovered, the Tableau Server database does not keep a history of viewed dates, only the most recent, so it's not possible to count historical viewed dates. Thus it’s not possible to get a history of exactly when a User viewed content beyond their last visit. When a Workbook or View is deleted the transaction is recorded and while the object ID is logged in the historic events table, that entry (the object ID) is deleted from the object history table so that object ID in the historic events table now points to nothing. Thus it’s not possible to get counts from objects that were deleted.
Matt Coles, if I'm wrong please let me know but this is how I understand it.
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There are around four different tables you can find records of user activity when it comes to looking at a viz:
1. views_stats: Aggregated stats on how often a user is accessing a viz per day. Used to drive "who has seen this view" feature. Retained indefinitely.
2. view_metrics_aggregations: Aggregated stats on how often a viz is accessed per day / month (older data is aggregated to the month). Used to drive content metrics feature (the popularity bar charts in vizportal). Retained indefinitely.
3. http_requests: Stores info akin to an Apache log, focused on user interaction with a viz and the web requests required to make it happen. Retained 7 days by default.
4. historical_events: Master audit table that contains 85% of the high-level things a user does, as well as other server activity such as backgrounders. Retained 180 days by default.
Toby, that should not be right--historical events should still contain all the records related to a viz that it had before it was deleted. The only thing that should be a factor in deleting historical_events records is time. That said, if you'd been inner joining historical_events and hist_views directly to views, and then you delete the workbook, then your results will disappear, of course. But using left joins, and being clear on which fields you're using as dimensions in your viz should avoid that problem.
Thanks for that info, I had a look at your other post and had a poke around in that schema, but the big sticking point is the 180 day retention, and given the volume of logs generated I'm not keen on pushing that out just for the benefit of showing performance of deleted workbooks.
I've solved the problem by running an ETL from the postgres database to archive the data I need and will report on it from there.
Cheers for your help, very informative.