Move Tableau to the Cloud

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From the beginning, Tableau has helped people see and understand data, no matter how they choose to do so. That philosophy extends to our customers’ deployment strategy. You can host Tableau Server on-premises, host Tableau Server on a public cloud platform (AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, or Alibaba), or choose a fully-hosted offering, Tableau Cloud (formerly known as Tableau Online). You’re not locked into that choice once you begin your data journey. If your organization changes its data strategy, Tableau adapts with you.

As cloud adoption has increased, many customers have elected to move Tableau to the cloud. This section outlines the benefits of migration, key factors to evaluate your ability to migrate, and guidelines and key resources to help you complete a migration. These considerations are different depending on whether you would like to move Tableau Server to a public cloud or if you would like to transition from Tableau Server to Tableau Cloud.

*Please note that this section is specifically created for customers who have an existing deployment and are considering changing their deployment method. New customers can skip past these considerations and learn more about Tableau Platform Architecture.



Platform migration provides a unique opportunity to optimize your environment. Many customers choose to take this time to evaluate these areas to ensure the best user experience:

Considerations for Migrating from Tableau Server to Tableau Cloud

Many organizations are strategically moving to fully hosted Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings to increase their agility and focus on analyzing data instead of managing infrastructure. Migrating your on-premises or public cloud version of Tableau Server to fully hosted Tableau Cloud can offer many benefits, including:

  • Significant reduction in hardware and infrastructure complexity and cost

  • Reduction in administrative overhead and expense

  • Automatic software updates. Tableau Cloud is always running the latest version of Tableau.

  • Consistent performance and scalability – no matter your user load or workbook complexity, Tableau Cloud automatically adapts and scales without any customer administrative requirements

  • Positioned for the future of data analytics and visualization, which will be available immediately after it’s released (Tableau GPT and Tableau Pulse being prime examples)

There are two general areas of consideration when contemplating a move from Tableau Server to Tableau Cloud:

  • Should you migrate?

  • If so, how do you migrate?

Before making your decision, reach out to your Tableau account team. They will work with you to identify the best option for your organization and can assist with migration planning.

Should You Migrate from Tableau Server to Tableau Cloud?

The majority of Tableau customers will find that Tableau Cloud meets their needs. To help determine if migrating from Tableau Server to Tableau Cloud is not presently appropriate for your organization, consider the following:

  • Information Security Compliance

  • Data Source Type/Location

  • User Authentication

  • Custom Repository Views

  • Tableau Licensing

  • Tableau Server Deployment Complexity

Information Security Compliance

While Tableau Cloud conforms to a large complement of standard Information Security standards, two specific areas of compliance are currently unsupported:

  • Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FEDRAMP)

  • Payment Card Industry (PCI)

If you’re currently complying with these standards with your existing Tableau Server implementation, you’re not presently a candidate for Tableau Cloud migration. Also, Tableau Cloud is presently hosted on Amazon Web Services. While Tableau is fully responsible for the staging, performance, and infrastructure that supports Tableau Cloud, some customers may have policies in place that prevent using Amazon-hosted products. In this case, you’re not presently a candidate for Tableau Cloud migration.

Ask your Tableau account team to inform you when additional Tableau Cloud options are announced that mitigate these limitations.

Data Source Type/Location

Because Tableau Cloud is an entirely internet-based SaaS product, connecting to your data sources may require special consideration. Tableau Cloud can connect directly if you’re accessing internet-based data sources (such as Snowflake or Databricks). Connecting Tableau Cloud to on-premise data sources (as you may have done with Tableau Server) must be accomplished securely across the internet, typically by installing the Tableau Bridge product within your network. While Tableau Cloud supports the vast majority of common data sources, there are a few limitations. As part of your evaluation for migration, consult supported data sources and data source limitations to ensure your data sources are compatible with Tableau Cloud. And, if you’re extensively using server-based Tableau Prep Flows with on-premise data sources, you’ll need to consider whether a migration will be feasible, as Tableau Bridge doesn’t presently support Prep Flows. You may be able to make use of this workaround, but should evaluate how much this may impact a possible migration to Tableau Cloud.

User Authentication

Users must individually authenticate on Tableau Cloud, just as Tableau Server users do (Tableau Cloud doesn’t support a non-authenticated ‘Guest’ user). Because Tableau Server is hosted within a private network, authentication options may need to be modified when migrating. For example, if you’re authenticating Tableau Server users via on-premises Microsoft Active Directory, you’ll need to consider an alternative cloud-based authentication method, such as Azure AD via SAML.

Tableau Cloud Multi-Factor Authentication Requirement

Your data security is a very high Tableau priority. As such, Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is required with Tableau Cloud. Tableau with MFA authentication is an option if you won’t be choosing an external Single Sign-On identity provider that supports MFA.

Custom Repository Views

Tableau Server provides the ability to design custom administrative visualizations via the PostgreSQL repository database connector. If you have used this feature, it will not be directly compatible with Tableau Cloud, as the Tableau Cloud repository database is not directly accessible.

Tableau Cloud’s alternative is Admin Insights, a Tableau Cloud-only project that is pre-populated with carefully curated data sources and a pre-built workbook of your site's data. Just like the repository of Tableau Server, you can create custom workbooks with this data to better measure your Tableau user engagement and adoption.

With Advanced Management, you’ll also have access to Activity Log, which provides details on specific events that happen in your site. You’ll have greater insight on what happens in Tableau Cloud to understand things like Permission-related changes to ensure access is properly granted on your site.

Tableau Licensing

If you’ve been using Tableau Server for some time, you may be using legacy licensing and pricing models, such as CPU core licensing and Guest user access. Tableau Cloud, however, only uses Role-Based Subscription licensing. If you’re on a previous licensing model, please contact your Tableau account team to convert your licensing to a Role-Based Subscription. For more information, see Tableau License Management.

External analytics deployments can also leverage our usage based licensing model to scale insights outside your organization in a more scalable, agile and cost-effective way.

Complex Tableau Server Environment

If you have utilized Tableau Server’s extensibility and expandability capabilities to support a complex environment (for example, many server sites, a complex project/content/permission model, a large number of Tableau Server nodes, or extensive embedding of Tableau Server content into other applications), discuss the applicability of Tableau Cloud with your Tableau account team. You may find that the benefits of a fully-hosted Tableau Cloud environment provide the scale and performance you’ve come to expect without the complexity required to maintain your existing infrastructure. Or, you may discover that you will be best suited to maintain your current Tableau Server environment. Your account team may recommend that you engage Tableau Professional Services to conduct a thorough evaluation of your environment and recommend the best approach to migrating to Tableau Cloud.


How Do You Migrate from Tableau Server to Tableau Cloud?

After evaluating the presented considerations, you’ve decided to migrate from Tableau Server to Tableau Cloud. Great! But how do you migrate? Generally, depending on the size and complexity of your Tableau Server environment, there are two directions available for migration:

  • Self-migrate to Tableau Cloud

  • Engage Tableau Professional Services or a Migration Partner

Self-Migrate to Tableau Cloud

The size and complexity of your Tableau Server environment will determine if self-migration is a viable option for you. Each Tableau Server installation is unique, and you’ll ultimately need to determine if a self-migration is appropriate (your Tableau account team can help you decide).

Self-migration may be appropriate if:

  • Your Tableau Server supports no more than 100 - 150 users

  • You have a simple project/permissions structure (generally speaking, no more than 20 - 25 projects/nested projects and simple permissions with a small number of user groups)

  • Your data sources are easily accessible by Tableau Cloud (either directly or via Tableau Bridge)

  • You maintain a relatively small amount of content (generally, no more than 50 workbooks, data sources, and other content items)

  • You aren’t using multiple sites

  • You have an available technical resource comfortable with the migration process

If this doesn’t sound like your Tableau Server deployment, we recommend skipping down to “Engage Tableau Professional Services or a Migration Partner.”

Because migrating from Tableau Server to Tableau Cloud isn’t as simple as creating a Tableau Server backup file and restoring it to another server, you’ll need to start with a good understanding of the migration process. The first step is determining what content to migrate. The best starting place: identifying stale content. If you’re not using workbooks or data sources, you probably won’t need to migrate them.

The Tableau Cloud Manual Migration Guide is your roadmap to self-migration. Specifically designed to guide you step-by-step through the process, you’ll want to consult this document as soon as you consider self-migration. You’ll immediately know the scope and effort required to migrate your particular Tableau Server environment. This guide breaks down the migration process into a logical, organized process:

  • Plan Your Migration

  • Create and Configure a Tableau Cloud Site

  • Migrate Data Sources and Workbooks to Tableau Cloud

  • Recreate Refresh Schedules for Tableau Cloud

  • Configure Permission and Content Access for Migrated Users

  • Add Remaining Users to Tableau Cloud

  • End-User Migration Checklist

The most appropriate people you'll designate to self-migrate will probably be those most familiar with your existing Tableau Server environment, perhaps a Tableau Server administrator or a third-party consultant you originally engaged to install and maintain your Tableau Server environment. They should consult the Manual Migration Guide and plan the migration process accordingly.

Engage Tableau Professional Services or a Migration Partner

We strongly recommend engaging Tableau Professional Services or one of our experienced partners for more complex Tableau Server environments, or if you don’t have ready access to appropriate technical resources.

Because this is a one-time effort that benefits from specialized knowledge, most customers with more complex deployments opt to maximize time-to-value by utilizing Tableau’s experts and our trusted partners. Our experience in the process has helped customers migrate confidently in a more clearly defined timeframe. Your Tableau account team can provide you with details on Tableau Professional Services options or refer you to a trusted Migration Partner.


Considerations for Migrating Tableau Server to a public cloud

Tableau Server was originally intended as, and is often referred to, as an on-premises product, originally intended to be installed within your own network behind your corporate firewall. But the advent of cloud computing gives Tableau Server customers additional options. As opposed to the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model of Tableau Cloud, there is the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS, or often referred to as public cloud) model (arguably pioneered by Amazon Web Services). This hybrid model, sitting between traditional on-premises and fully hosted SaaS options, provides the ability to offload on-premises hardware and infrastructure requirements, while maintaining the complete flexibility and customizability you’ve come to expect from your on-premises Tableau Server.

If you are considering migrating your on-premises Tableau Server to a supported public cloud, this section is for you. If you are a new customer just starting your Tableau journey and don’t presently have Tableau Server running in your own environment, consult Tableau Platform Architecture and Tableau Cloud as you consider a destination for your new Tableau environment.

If you are planning to migrate Tableau Server from an on-premises deployment to a deployment hosted in a public cloud, you will need to consider five areas:

  • The migration process

  • Architecture

  • Networking

  • Data connectivity

  • Tableau licensing

Because considerations and services differ depending on the public cloud provider, general language is used to describe these services and processes. Refer to your provider’s documentation for information on how best to manage their services.

Your Tableau account team is ready to help you with your migration. They may recommend that you engage Tableau Professional Services to conduct a thorough evaluation of your environment and recommend the best approach to migrating to your public cloud provider.

Migration Process

Migrating content is a relatively standard process. There are two primary routes. The most straightforward approach involves backing up your existing Tableau Server environment, installing Tableau Server in the new location, and then restoring the backup file.

However, as part of the migration process, you may consider identifying content that is no longer being actively used on your existing server. You may then manually migrate only desired content to your new environment. This is most commonly used for smaller deployments which have fewer assets or if there are significant administrative changes being made in tandem (like changing the Identity Store). If you have acquired Tableau Advanced Management, the Content Migration Tool can significantly speed up your ability to migrate selected assets to the new environment.

Enterprises migrating their analytics applications and data infrastructure to AWS require expertise, resources, and alignment of business and IT strategy. Many organizations can accelerate their migration and time to value through working with a consulting partner validated by both Tableau and AWS. To learn more about this specialized offering, see Modern Cloud Analytics.


While you’ll no longer be responsible for installing and maintaining physical or virtual machines in your own network to run Tableau Server, you’ll still need to specify and configure adequate virtual machine (VM) resources with your specific cloud provider. As you did when you initially installed Tableau Server in your own environment, you’ll want to consider initial sizing for your public cloud environment.

As public cloud environments are entirely virtualized, one of their primary benefits is flexibility to add additional capacity as you find the need. For example, you may easily duplicate your initial configuration to facilitate creation of separate production and test environments. And, public cloud environments provide the perfect flexibility for scaling Tableau Server up (expanding processor, memory, or disk capacity for a single VM) or out (adding additional VM nodes). With no more concerns about hardware or infrastructure requirements in your own network, you may easily modify existing VMs or “spin up” new ones, facilitating your desired High Availability and Disaster Recovery scenarios.


Considering that your Tableau Server will no longer be behind your corporate firewall, connection consideration for both data source access and user access will be critical. As you plan, you will need to balance both security and accessibility. Cloud providers have a robust set of services to enable secure and flexible communication, as evidenced by this Amazon Web Services example.

While specific services are different for each cloud provider, your networking considerations do not change. There are the three primary routes of communication you will need to enable as you establish your networking rules.

  1. Tableau Server will need to be able to connect to data sources.

  2. Creators will need to be able to access both Tableau Server and necessary data sources (whether the data sources are on-premises or cloud-hosted).

  3. Your data community will need access to Tableau Server.

The path you take to achieve this will vary, depending on your choice of cloud provider and your organization’s network infrastructure. Regardless, you’ll need to accommodate each of these requirements to successfully migrate Tableau Server to the public cloud.

Data Connectivity

While overall networking considerations discussed previously are important, perhaps the most critical consideration you’ll need to make early in your migration planning is data connectivity. Depending on where critical data sources are located, connecting your public cloud-based Tableau Server to them may be straightforward, or may involve more complex requirements.

If your data sources are also being moved to the same public cloud provider, modifying Tableau Server data connection names or IP addresses may be all that is required. However, your data sources may still be located within your existing network, behind your corporate firewall. In this case, you’ll need to leverage vendor-specific services to create secure pathways to your data, have your networking team make firewall modifications to allow Tableau Server access, or migrate the data itself to a cloud-based data provider (such as Databricks or Snowflake).

Tableau Licensing

Whether you choose to deploy Tableau Server on-premises or in the cloud, there are no licensing implications. You may even use the same license keys when you migrate to the new environment.


More Resources

For more helpful information on migrating Tableau deployments to Tableau Cloud, check out these resources:


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