About the Bridge Client

This topic describes the Bridge client and requirements for running and using it. In most cases, the site admin is responsible for installing and managing the client.

Client overview

The client is required to enable connectivity between Tableau Online and on-premises data. When the client is running, it's accessible from the Windows system tray on the machine where it is installed.

The client is comprised of the following parts:

  1. Client name, which is also the name of the machine where the client is installed.

  2. Connection status indicates whether the client is connected to Tableau Online.

  3. Site: The Tableau Online site that the client is registered to.

  4. Settings menu, which contains options to disable error reports and unlink the client from a site.

  5. Data sources: By default, this area displays a list of data sources that are being load balanced (or pooled) by clients across the site. This list can also contain data sources that have been assigned to this specific client using Bridge (legacy) schedules.

    Note: This list does not show data sources that are refreshed with the Online refresh (formerly called Recommended) schedules. To see data sources refreshed with Online refresh schedules, go to the Jobs page and filter on Bridge Refreshes.

  6. Pooling status: This shows whether the data source is part of the client pool.
    • Live: A Live status indicates the data source has a live connection and is part of the pool of clients.
    • Blank: A blank status indicates the client is not part of the pool. This is because the data source is using Bridge (legacy) schedules.
  7. Legacy options: These options display on hover to edit or view connection information, go to the schedule, and run a manual refresh on hover for data sources that use Bridge (legacy) schedules.

  8. Client mode indicates if the client is running as a Windows application or service. For more information, see the section below.

Application versus Service mode

A client can operate in one of two modes: Application or Service.

The mode the client can run depends on the Windows user account it's running under, the Tableau Online site settings that the client is registered to, and general data freshness needs.

  • Application: When the client is set to run in Application mode, it runs as a Windows application.

    In this mode, the client can facilitate live queries and scheduled refreshes for data sources that connect to on-premises data while the dedicated user is logged on to Windows. If the dedicated user logs off Windows, the client cannot maintain live queries and refresh extracts on a schedule. Client versions 2020.1 and earlier run in this mode by default.

  • Service: When the client is set to run in Service mode, it runs as a Windows service.

    In this mode, the client runs continuously even if the user is logged out of Windows. The Windows user account must be a member of the local Administrators group to run the client in service mode. This mode is recommended for pooled clients that load balance live queries and scheduled refreshes. Service mode is the default mode beginning with Bridge 2020.2 clients.

Mode guidelines

  Extract connection with scheduled refresh Live connection
Application mode
  • Quickly set up and validate that the client is keeping data sources up to date.
  • Have more control over when the client is performing data freshness tasks.
  • Doesn't require the user to be a local admin on the machine.
  • Requires the user to be logged on to Windows.
Service mode
  • Set up the client once — if the machine has to restart, the client reconnects to Tableau Online automatically.
  • Requires the Windows user account to be a member of the local Administrators group on the machine. In addition, to refresh file-based data sources, the account must have domain access to the network shared drive where the file data is hosted.
  • Doesn't require the user to be logged on to Windows.

Recommended for load balancing refreshes. For more information, see Configure and Manage the Bridge Client Pool.

Recommended for load balancing live queries. For more information, see Configure and Manage the Bridge Client Pool.

 

Client requirements

In order to run and use the client, a certain set of requirements must be met as well as some additional requirements that are unique to the data freshness task.

Core requirements

  • Client can only run on 64-bit version of Windows.

  • Only one client can be installed on a machine.

  • The machine on which the client is running must be on the same Windows domain and have access to the underlying database specified in the data source.
  • Both the machine and the Windows user must have access to the underlying data specified in the data source.

  • The appropriate database drivers must be installed on the machine where the client is running.

For more information, see Plan Your Bridge Deployment.

Additional requirements for Service mode

  • To run the client in Service mode, the Windows user account running Bridge must be a member of the local Administrators group on the machine. The user doesn't need to be logged on to Windows, but the machine must be powered on with Windows running.

  • When using the client in Service mode and connecting to file data hosted on a network shared drive, it's required that the account have domain access to the network shared drive.

Additional requirements for extract connections

To refresh data sources, the client can run as a Windows service or as an application. In addition to the core requirements above, the following requirements must be met:

  • The user signed in to Tableau Online from the client must have a Creator, Explorer (Can Publish), or one of the two types of site admin role: Site Administrator Creator or Site Administrator Explorer.

    If the user is not a site admin, he or she must be the owner of the data source.

  • If the client is set to run as an application, it completes refreshes only when the machine is powered on, and the Windows user is logged on and running Bridge.

    If the machine is turned off, if the user logs off of Windows, or if the user exits the client, updates for the data sources running on that client (either through the pool or manually) will not be able to reach Tableau Online, and the data sources won't get refreshed until the user signs in again. During this time, the data source owner will receive refresh failure notification emails from Tableau Online. For more information, see Stop Keeping Data Fresh Through Bridge.

  • To ensure refreshes of file-based data sources complete without any issues, a client that has been set up to run as a service must reference the full UNC path of the source file and not the mapped drive path. For a client that has been set up to run as an application, we strongly recommend that the client also references the full UNC path. For more information, see Change the file path for a data source.

Additional requirements for live connections

To run live queries (for data sources with live connections), the client can run as a Windows service or as a Windows application. In addition to the core requirements above, the following requirements must be met: 

  • The user signed in to Tableau Online from the client must have one of the two types of site admin roles: Site Administrator Creator or Site Administrator Explorer.

  • Each Tableau Online site can have multiple clients that maintain live connections. Those clients can also be used to refresh extracts.

  • If the client is set up to run as an application, live queries can only occur when the computer is on and the Windows user is logged on and running Bridge.

    If the computer is turned off, if the user logs off of Windows, or if the user exits the client, updates to the data sources will not be able to reach Tableau Online, and the data sources can't be kept up to date.

  • To maintain live connections, the databases that the data sources connect to can't be accessible from the public internet.

Repair a client running in Service mode

Occasionally something causes one of the data source connections to stop functioning normally. When this happens, an alert appears, and it usually provides information that direct you toward the cause of the problem. However, if Tableau Online cannot provide troubleshooting information in the alert, and if you run Tableau Bridge as a service, you can use the Repair command to try to reset connections.

To help repair a client in Service mode, in the Windows system tray, right-click the Bridge icon and select Repair. This stops and restarts the service, which can be enough to resolve the issue.

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