Tableau Server External File Store

This topic provides an overview of Tableau Server External File Store.

Tableau Server File Store stores extracts and workbook revisions. Typically, Tableau Server File Store is a built-in Tableau Server process that is installed locally on Tableau Server. Starting in Tableau Server 2020.1, you can configure Tableau Server to use an external storage to store the File Store data. The external storage must be a network share, a dedicated file storage that enables multiple users and heterogeneous client devices to retrieve data from a centralized disk capacity. This can be a Server Message Block (SMB) for Windows or a Network File System (NFS) for Linux installations. Users on a local area network (LAN) access the shared storage via a standard Ethernet connection.

With this new feature, Tableau Server can now be configured in two ways:

  • Install File Store locally, meaning File Store is installed on the Tableau Server nodes.
  • Use External File Store (Beginning in 2020.1).

Why use External File Store?

Using external storage has the following key benefits over installing File Store locally:

  • Centralized location: When File Store is installed locally, the data needs to be replicated across multiple File Store nodes, which will consume network bandwidth. Moving data to a centralized location will eliminate the need for running File Store on multiple nodes in a Tableau cluster and replication between the nodes. This also reduces the disk space requirements on an individual node and also reduce the network bandwidth usage since the data will not be replicated on multiple nodes.
  • Improving backup time: Snapshot backup technologies are efficient, and by using snapshot backup of the Tableau Data, you can expect to significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to do a Tableau backup.

Managing External File Store

License Management

To configure External File Store, you must first enable this feature using Advanced Management product keys. For more information, see About Tableau Advanced Management on Tableau Server. If you don’t have an Advanced Management key activated or if the license is expired, you will see the following behavior:

  • If you try to configure Tableau Server with External File Store during installation, you will see an error message, but you will be able to continue the installation and Tableau Server File Store will be installed locally.
  • If you are already using External File Store, and the Advanced Managementlicense expires, you will see the following behavior:
    • The server will fail on restart.
    • Backups will fail.
    • If you no longer have a valid Advanced Management license, but have a valid Tableau Server license, you can migrate the External File Store to local File Store, to get your server up and running again. For more information on how to migrate from external repository to local repository, see Reconfigure File Store .

Supported Migration Scenarios

  • Moving File Store installed locally on Tableau Server to an external managed storage (network attached storage).
  • Move File Store from external managed storage to Tableau Server.

Backup and Restore

Backup on Tableau Server with External File Store is different than how you would create backup when File Store is installed locally. For more information on how to do backup and restore on Tableau Server with External File Store, see Backup and Restore with External File Store.

Upgrade Considerations

There are no special steps necessary when upgrading Tableau Server configured with an External File Store. You can follow the normal upgrade process.

High Availability Considerations

Tableau Server does not manage or setup high availability for the External File Store. Your managed storage may have solutions to support redundancy and high availability.


When you configure Tableau Server with External File Store, you will no longer run File Store locally. The Server status page will indicate that the File Store process is on an external node.

When File Store is configured external to Tableau Server, Data Engine and File Store are no longer co-located. During setup, Data Engine will continue to be automatically installed with other processes as described in Tableau Server Data Engine, except for File Store. However, when you have Tableau Server configured with External File Store, you will be able to install Data Engine on a separate node without any other processes.

When File Store is configured externally, Data Engine will access the File Store data (extracts) on the storage system across the network. To make sure that your overall system performs to your requirements, there are a few things you must consider for your network and storage system. For more information, see Performance Considerations for External File Store.

The diagram below is a summarized version of the Tableau Server topology with External File Store.

The diagram below is a detailed version of the Tableau Server topology with External File Store and shows all the processes installed on each node.


Install Tableau Server with External File Store

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