Migrate from Core-Based to Role-Based Licensing

You can migrate Tableau Server from a core-based license metric (which counts the processor cores on which you have Tableau Server installed) to a role-based license metric (which counts named users). To learn more about licensing metrics, see Licensing Overview.

Prepare for migration to role-based licensing

Core-based licenses allow an unlimited number of users, including view-only guest accounts. Every user has a site role when they are added to Tableau Server, and these users and site roles persist when licensing is changed. Because role-based licenses limit the number of users, you should ensure that your new role-based licenses accommodate the number of users who are currently connecting to Tableau Server, including the users currently using guest accounts.

Important: If your new role-based licenses don't accommodate the full number of users, some users will move to the Unlicensed site role, which can be very CPU intensive. If you have a large number of users, your application server processes may become unavailable until all the users are processed. This operation could take hours to complete, so plan accordingly.

Before you migrate, verify that you have user licenses and corresponding product keys to allow all users to access Tableau Server after the migration is complete:

Migrate to role-based licensing

To migrate to role-based licensing you must stop Tableau Server, deactivate the core-based product key, activate the role-based product key(s), and then start Tableau Server. Because this process will result in a restart of Tableau Server and cause downtime for Tableau Server users, you should migrate licensing during a period of low usage.

  1. Stop Tableau Server:

    Use the tsm stop command.

  2. Deactivate the core-based product key(s):

    Use the tsm licenses deactivate command with the core-based product key(s).

  3. Activate the role-based product key(s):

    Use the tsm licenses activate command with the role-based product key(s).

  4. Start Tableau Server:

    Use the tsm start command.

Use role-based licenses on a server with core-based licensing

The 2018.1 release of Tableau Server allows you to add Creator role-based licenses to Tableau Server installations with existing core-based licensing.

Note: If you upgrade a Tableau Server installation to 2018.1 without activating role-based licenses, Tableau Server will continue to operate as it did previously, with no changes to Tableau Server UI or permissions except that the legacy Viewer site role is renamed to Read Only. In version 2018.2, the Read Only site role was deprecated and once again became the Viewer site role.

When Creator licenses are introduced to Tableau Server, all Server Administrator users are required to have Creator license roles, which may require additional licenses. Administrators can activate additional Creator licenses using the tsm licenses activate command in Tableau Server to increase licensed user capacity. Activating these role-based licenses gives you a combination of the capabilities granted by role-based Creator licenses and the capabilities granted by your core-based license. To learn more about the different types of role-based licenses, see role-based licenses.

Note: The unlimited number of users who have access to Tableau Server under core-based licensing have equivalent capabilities to users with an Explorer license under role-based licensing. Creator functionality is limited to the defined user license model(s).

For example, if a Tableau Server installation has a 16 core license that includes guest access, and you added 10 Creator licenses, that server would have the following capabilities:

  • A limit of 16 processor cores on hardware that runs Tableau Server
  • Guest access
  • Unlimited Explorer/Viewer licenses (from the unlimited user licenses that come with a core license)
  • 10 Creator licenses

Example of completing a migration from core-based licensing

To extend the example above: If the core-based license was then deactivated, the following capabilities would be available:

  • No limits on server hardware
  • No guest access
  • 10 Creator licenses

If you then added 50 Explorer licenses and 200 Viewer licenses, after deactivating your core-based license, the following capabilities would be available:

  • No limits on server hardware
  • No guest access
  • 10 Creator licenses
  • 50 Explorer licenses
  • 200 Viewer licenses
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