Tableau Cloud Manual Migration Guide
This guide explains how to manually migrate your Tableau Server deployment to Tableau Cloud. In a nutshell, this guide is useful for administrators who are running a Tableau Server with fewer than 100 users and who are comfortable with a fully manual, self-service migration process.
If you have a lot more users and your data requirements are more complex, you may benefit from working with professional services or an experienced migration partner(Link opens in a new window) to migrate to Tableau Cloud. Further down, this topic includes guidance on how to plan your migration.
But first, let's make sure you understand why moving to Tableau Cloud is probably the smart move for your organisation.
Why migration can make sense
If you are running a single Tableau Server for a small group of users, then it's almost impossible not to save time and money by moving your operation to Tableau Cloud. The easy win for moving to Tableau Cloud is savings in time, which tends to be in short supply for most of us. And if you are a data scientist or analyst who has found themselves unexpectedly running a Tableau Server installation, migrate and get back to your data!
What about bigger organisations? If your organisation exceeds 100 users, then you will also undoubtedly benefit from savings of cost and time at scale. Tableau Cloud is built to handle big organisations, but this guide isn't. If you're looking to migrate a bigger organisation, check out Tableau Cloud Migration(Link opens in a new window) where you can learn more about working with professional services or an experienced migration partner.
For many organisations, Tableau Cloud will be faster and more reliable, with less bother than whatever you are doing now to keep your Tableau Server humming. You will never need to face another major server upgrade, or even a maintenance release update, which, as you know, is really just an upgrade smuggled in under another name. Tableau Cloud is always running the latest release, with the most up-to-date features. Reliability and performance are baked into the service. After the migration process, your time with Tableau Cloud will be spent managing users and data. That's it. You won't be troubleshooting service errors or combing logs or restarting, and restarting.
Work with your account manager to figure out the costs for supporting your users. As you evaluate overall cost, remember that the single metric of per-user licensing expense does not provide an apples to apples comparison between SAAS and self-hosting a server. This comparison is especially impoverished if you are not including the time spent managing Tableau Server, and the capital cost of refreshing or leasing hardware. The annual cost of running a single server in the cloud can be more than $10,000 a year. And of course any analysis must include your staffing cost of maintenance, periodic updates and troubleshooting.
- For a quick and relevant evaluation of moving to Tableau Cloud, see the blog post, Should I Move My Analytics to Tableau Cloud?(Link opens in a new window)
- For more information about the advantages of moving from on-premises or self-hosted to Tableau Cloud, see GigaOm's research article, CxO Decision Brief: SaaS Business Intelligence Platforms(Link opens in a new window).
- For a case study detailing cost savings and performance improvement in the real world, see Splunk migration to Tableau Cloud eliminates server admin overhead and drives better dashboard performance(Link opens in a new window).
When migration doesn't make sense
The following list describes scenarios where continuing to manage your own instance of Tableau Server instead of migrating can make sense. We’re committed to continually improving Tableau Cloud and will update this list as we release new features to address these gaps. However, it is important that you verify that Tableau Cloud meets your requirements before you decide to migrate. Please be sure to validate your requirements before moving forward with a migration.
- Regulation and data residency: Your business operates in a space that must comply with a regulatory (such as FedRAMP, PCI, etc.) or data residency requirement that Tableau Cloud does not yet meet. Please review our list of current compliances(Link opens in a new window) and check back often to learn when new certifications become available.
- Data sources: Your organisation relies on a data solution that does not work with Tableau Cloud, is not supported by Tableau Bridge, or is otherwise beyond the scope of your ownership to extract in a compatible way. Examples of such data sources include cube data sources, custom connectors, packaged Tableau connector (.taco) files, among others. The next topic, Plan Your Migration, walks through the different supported data sources and options available in Tableau Cloud. You can also download the free Tableau Cloud Migration Technical Readiness Assessment to see which data sources you’re currently using and whether they are supported on Tableau Cloud.
- Site capacity: If you have more than 100 GB of data, take a look at Advanced Management for Tableau Cloud(Link opens in a new window). Otherwise, review Tableau Cloud Site Capacity(Link opens in a new window) to optimise any necessary consolidation. The Tableau Cloud Migration Technical Readiness Assessment can help you identify assets that will require consolidation.
- Authentication: If you require LDAP for an external identity store, Kerberos authentication or Kerberos delegated authentication.
- Data management: Tableau Prep Flows are not supported by Tableau Bridge. If you require automated data updates with Tableau Prep Flows for data behind a private network, see How to Run Tableau Prep Conductor Flows with On-Premises Data in Tableau Cloud(Link opens in a new window). Tableau Prep Flows using Python are also not supported by Tableau Bridge.
Who should read this
This guide is written for the person or team of people who will be performing the migration to Tableau Cloud. The guide is designed for Tableau Server installations that have 100 users or less. This guide provides a step-wise, manual process to get your organisation from Tableau Server to a fully-functional site in Tableau Cloud in a week or two.
After you migrate and create the core administrative functionality (identity/user, site configuration, authentication, data connection, etc) in Tableau Cloud, the bulk of content migration can be shared with the creators at your organisation. A "creator" is a user who has a Creator role-based licence. Depending on your goals, either you (the admin) or your creators can migrate content. For this reason, we've created a chunk of migration-related content you can point your creators to. Users who migrate content need to have a Creators licence and access to Tableau Desktop(Link opens in a new window). If the creators will be migrating Tableau Prep flows, then they must also have Tableau Prep Builder installed.
In this guide we will do our best to cover as much of the Tableau Cloud platform as possible, but there are some features that administrators cannot set up on behalf of their end users. Users will need to make some updates to their content after a migration is complete. There are also some features that are better to recreate anew in Tableau Cloud with the benefit of using cloud-native functionality.
Virtual Connections are not included as part of this migration guide. If you need additional guidance for Virtual Connections, please reach out to one of our experienced migration partners for additional assistance or consider recreating them on Tableau Cloud after migration.
Feature differences in Tableau Cloud
As mentioned previously, running Tableau Cloud vs managing your own Tableau Server is much less labour intensive from an administrative perspective. You can find a summarised list of the feature differences in the Tableau Server help topic, Technical Considerations for Migrating from Tableau Server to Tableau Cloud (Windows(Link opens in a new window) | Linux(Link opens in a new window)). Below are a few of the most common items.
- In Tableau Cloud, as the administrator, you do not have direct access to the Tableau Server Repository (Windows(Link opens in a new window) | Linux(Link opens in a new window)). Instead, you can use Admin Insights(Link opens in a new window) to understand what’s going on in your Tableau environment, including the current licensing state and performance.
- Guest access is not available on Tableau Cloud. Instead use Connected Applications(Link opens in a new window) to broaden access.
- Custom fonts are not available on content.
- Tableau Cloud uses a single site model to simplify administration. If you have multiple Tableau Server sites, your content may need to be consolidated onto a single site.
Run the Tableau Cloud Migration Technical Readiness Assessment to understand if there are any use cases that may need to be adapted before migrating to Tableau Cloud.
Tasks that need to be completed by end users
There are some features that administrators cannot set up on behalf of their end users or that require manual re-configuration. We’ve made a complete list available separately as an End-User Migration Checklist so that you can share it directly with your users, but these tasks include:
- Embedding solutions updates
- Update REST API scripts
- Configuring Analytics Extensions
As a general rule, our documentation is based on recent-to-current versions of Tableau Server, but because the process covered in this guide is not a programmatic or automated migration, we don't foresee issues with migrating from older versions of Tableau Server to Tableau Cloud. Strictly speaking, the process in this guide is more "port" than "migration" when it comes to administrative configurations.
Tableau Cloud uses Role-Based Subscription licensing. Tableau Server supports Role-Based Subscription licensing and legacy pricing models. If you are on a different (earlier) licensing model, please contact your Tableau account team to convert your licensing to Role-Based Subscription.
After reading through this material you may decide that you'd prefer not to take on a manual migration yourself, and would rather leave it to an expert. If so, please reach out to one of our experienced migration partners(Link opens in a new window) to learn how they can help you accelerate a migration to Tableau Cloud.
This guide is organised according to a step-wise process for migrating to Tableau Cloud: