Plan Your Bridge Deployment

As a site admin, if you're setting up Tableau Bridge for the first time or upgrading, there are a set of recommendations, best practices and planning tasks to follow to optimise Bridge for your organisation.

For a general overview of Bridge, see Use Bridge to Keep Data Fresh.

Before you deploy Bridge, review the following information to help you, as the site admin, understand the different components of Bridge, how these components work together, and how they impact your Bridge deployment.

Bridge software

Bridge is stand-alone software, provided at no additional cost, to use in conjunction with Tableau Cloud. Bridge is a thin client that you install behind a firewall to enable connectivity between private network data and Tableau Cloud.

To take advantage of the latest security and feature updates, always install the latest version of the Bridge client from the Downloads(Link opens in a new window) page. For more information, see the Install Bridge topic.

In most cases, you will own the set up and management of several clients, or pools of clients, in your organisation.

  • Clients can only be registered to one site at a time.
  • There is no limit on how many clients that can be registered to a site.

Database drivers

To facilitate connectivity between private network data and Tableau Cloud, Bridge requires drivers to communicate with some databases. Some driver software is installed with the client. Other driver software must be downloaded and installed separately. For more information, see the Install Bridge section in the Install Bridge topic.

Pooling capacity

By default, data freshness tasks, live queries and data sources or virtual connections that use extract connections refreshed with Online schedules are distributed and load balanced across available clients in a pool.

Data Freshness TaskPooling SupportConcurrency Capacity
Live queryYes16 live queries per client
Extract connection – Online refresh schedule (published data sources)Yes10 refreshes per client (can be configured)
Extract connection - Bridge (legacy) scheduleNo 1 refresh per client

Bridge is designed to scale up and scale out. When configuring your Bridge deployment, consider the following:

  • For a smaller pool of clients running on higher specification machines, each client can be scaled up to run more scheduled refresh jobs in parallel.
  • For a larger pool of clients running on lower specification machines, though each client can run fewer refresh jobs in parallel, each client still provides high throughput and capacity for the pool as a whole.

For information about Tableau site capacity, see Concurrent jobs capacity.

Data access and authentication

The underlying data that a data source or virtual connection connects to often requires authentication. If authentication is required, the publisher or owner can configure how the database credentials are obtained.

For data sources

The authentication configuration options for data sources are: Prompt user or Embedded password.

If the data source is set to prompt users, database credentials are not stored with the connection. This means, a user who opens the data source (or workbook that uses the data source) must enter his or her own database credentials to access the data. If a data source is set up with the password embedded, database credentials ares saved with the connection and used by anyone who accesses the data source (or workbook that uses the data source). For more information, see Set Credentials for Accessing Your Published Data(Link opens in a new window).

For virtual connections

Database credentials are stored with a virtual connection's connection and are used by anyone who accesses the virtual connection.

Content management

In most cases, the site admin owns and manages the Bridge clients. Content owners manage the data sources or virtual connections themselves for tasks that range from publishing to updating database credentials and refresh schedules.

Timeout limits

Live queries have a timeout limit of 15 minutes. This limit is not configurable. Refreshes have a default timeout limit of 24 hours and are configurable by the client. For more information, see Change the Bridge Client Settings.

To use Bridge on Linux, you must create a customised Docker image, install the RPM package and then run Bridge from inside the container image. The Bridge on Linux project is supported only on CentOS 7. For more information, see Install Bridge for Linux for Containers.

Linux deployment

To use Bridge on Linux, you must create a customised Docker image, install the RPM package and then run Bridge from inside the container image. The Bridge on Linux project is supported only on CentOS 7. For more information, see Install Bridge for Linux for Containers.

To deploy Bridge, do the following:

  1. Create a customised Docker image and install the latest RPM package.

  2. Install the drivers.

  3. Create a Personal Access Token (PAT).

  4. Deploy the Bridge container.

  5. After installation, sign in to the client using your Tableau Cloud site admin credentials to ensure that the client is running.

  6. Open a browser, sign in to Tableau Cloud using your site admin credentials and go to the Bridge settings page to ensure:

    1. Installed clients are properly linked to the site.

    2. Clients are part of the client pool .

  7. Monitor the Bridge live queries using Bridge Connected Data Sources admin view, and refresh jobs from the Jobs page on Tableau Cloud.

Windows deployment

Minimum hardware recommendations

Tableau recommends installing the Bridge client on a virtual machine behind your firewall so that it does not compete with resources from other applications. Only one client can be installed on a machine.

  • Microsoft Windows 10 or later, 64-bit
  • Windows Server 2012 or later
  • CPUs must support SSE4.2 and POPCNT instruction sets

For more information, see Windows Client requirements

The following table shows hardware guidelines for virtual environments running Bridge. These guidelines are based on the number of concurrent refreshes you need each client to be able to run in parallel.

 Refreshes running in parallel per client
<=5<=10
vCPU48
RAM16 GB32 GB
NVMe SSD150 GB300 GB

Virtual environments

All of Tableau’s products operate in virtualised environments when they are configured with the proper underlying Windows operating system and minimum hardware requirements.

  • Citrix environments (non-streaming)
  • Microsoft Hyper-V
  • Parallels
  • VMware
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Amazon EC2

Required accounts for Windows

There are two types of accounts that your Bridge deployment requires: a Windows service account and a Tableau Cloud account.

Windows services account

Bridge clients can run in one of two modes: Application or Service. To run the client in Service mode, a Windows services account is required. Service mode allows the client to run continuously without a dedicated logged-on user. Service mode is recommended to support 1) data sources or virtual connections with live connections to private network data, and 2) load balancing (pooling) of clients. For more information about each mode, see About the Bridge Client.

Important: We recommend that no more than 10 clients run under a single Windows services account.

Tableau Cloud account

Tableau Cloud authenticates the client by the user that is signed in to and managing the client. Therefore, a Tableau Cloud site admin account is necessary to perform certain management tasks, like adding or removing a client from a pool, both on the client and Tableau Cloud site.

One of the following site roles is required to manage Bridge:

  • Site Administrator Creator
  • Site Administrator Explorer

The non-administrator site roles, Creator and Explorer can publish data sources, refresh data and use Bridge to facilitate the live and extract connections between Tableau Cloud and private network data. The Creator or Explorer role and Data Management is required to publish virtual connections and refresh data with Bridge.

Scheduling capacity

Because Bridge clients can easily be connected and disconnected, you can leverage scripts to schedule Bridge capacity (that is, the number of running client machines) in advance of anticipated data freshness workloads.

For example, if your Bridge clients run on virtual machines on AWS, the following AWS resources can help you get started with scheduling: 

New Bridge deployment on Windows

To deploy Bridge, do the following:

  1. For each machine, log on using your Windows services account, and install the latest client.

  2. After installation, sign in to the client using your Tableau Cloud site admin credentials to ensure that the client is running under Service mode (on by default).

  3. Open a browser, sign in to Tableau Cloud using your site admin credentials and go to the Bridge settings page to ensure:

    1. Installed clients are properly linked to the site.

    2. Clients are part of the client pool.

  4. Monitor the Bridge live queries using the Bridge Connected Data Sources admin view, and refresh jobs from the Jobs page on Tableau Cloud.

Upgrade an existing Bridge deployment

As with previous releases, the enterprise improvements in this release are designed to complement your existing Bridge deployment. As with other deployments, we recommend the following steps below.

Notes: 

  • Sites with default pools can’t be configured to access a specific private network. To reduce the scope of access of this pool and to enable more advanced scheduling capabilities, we recommend that you create new pools and map them to specific domains. For more information, see Step 2: Configure a pool.

  • Because Bridge pools are mapped to and refresh data from specific domains, we strongly recommend that extract data sources that contain connections to multiple domains be updated in one of the following ways:

    • Consolidate underlying data locations so that the connections are in the same domain
    • Change the connection type of each connection to use live query
    • Convert each connection to a data source
  • When using 1) Tableau Desktop on a Mac, 2) publishing a file-based data source from a Windows network file share and then 3) configuring an Online schedule, the refreshes will fail. If this file-based data source is a business-critical resource for your organisation, consider configuring a Bridge (legacy) schedule instead. For more information, see Set up a Bridge (legacy) schedule.

  • Existing data sources, including all file-based data sources that are already configured with Bridge (legacy) schedules and associated with specific clients will continue to run as expected. Important: Support for Bridge (legacy) schedules will be removed in a future release. To ensure a smooth transition, we recommend you use Online refresh schedules.

Step 1: Add new clients.
Step 2: Create new pools, map domains to a pool and assign version clients to pools.

Follow the procedures described in Step 2: Configure a pool, Step 3: Specify a domain for a pool and Step 4: Add clients to a pool.

Step 2: If you have Bridge legacy schedules, request data source owners to convert the (legacy) schedules. See Migrate from Bridge (legacy) to Online schedules.

Important: We recommend that data source owners begin the process by converting refresh schedules for extract data sources that are least critical to daily business. This is because converting Bridge (legacy) to Online schedules will immediately delete the existing refresh schedules.

Step 3: Upgrade existing clients

Upgrade all existing clients. For more information, see Install Bridge.

Step 4: Add existing clients to a pool

After upgrade, ensure the upgraded clients are running as a Window service and then add those clients to the pool. For more information, see Step 4: Add clients to a pool.

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