Work with Log Files

Tableau Server creates log files as a normal part of its activities. You may need to use the server log files when you are troubleshooting issues with Tableau Server or if Tableau Support requests logs from you to help you resolve an issue.

You can create a zipped log file archive using the tsm maintenance ziplogs command. The zipped archive contains copies of the logs you can unzip and look at, or send to Tableau Support. Once you have a copy of the archive, you can delete the archive from your server. For more information on log file archives, see Log File Snapshots (Archive Logs).

This collection of topics provides information about how to create log file archives, the contents of specific log files, and details about when and how you might want to look at a log.

Contents of Tableau Server Logs

Every Tableau Server process writes information about what it is doing to its own log file. Singly these give detailed information on the actions of each process. Taken together these log files contain detailed information about internal communication between components of Tableau Server while processing users’ requests or performing automated tasks. Tableau Server logs only contain technical information useful for troubleshooting; the status of different components, actions taken by different processes, communication attempts, queries to the database (not including results) and timings of requests, for example.

Log files could contain some specific data such as names of database servers, as well as their IP addresses and ports, names or IP addresses of Tableau Server computers and URLs and names of the workbooks and views accessed by users.

Log files do not contain any sensitive customer data such as passwords, results of the queries or data shown on the views.

Note: When logging at the DEBUG level, full environment information is gathered when Tableau starts. This means that if you have any sensitive information in an environment variable, it may be included in a log. Logging at the default INFO level only gathers safe environment information.

The tsm maintenance ziplogs command allows users to not only generate a zipped archive of log files, but also to include Tableau Server repository data if the -d option is specified. The repository contains metadata from Tableau Server (for example, usernames, groups, projects, permissions on Tableau Server, extract refresh schedules). The repository also includes layout and connection information for the workbooks, but does not have any data such as passwords, actual data from the database or data shown on the view.

Data displayed in views comes from extract files or databases, and is cached in memory. It is not saved in logs or, in the case of live connections, in separate files on Tableau Server computers. Extract files are stored on Tableau Server computers as .hyper files in the dataengine folder, but are never included in the zipped log archive.

Investigating Tableau Server Issues

The range and complexity of possible issues with Tableau Server means that there is no simple process you can use to investigate all problems, but a general approach would include these steps:

  1. Clean up existing log files to reduce their size. For more information, see Remove Unneeded Files.

    Important: If there is a chance you will want to get help from Tableau Support troubleshooting an issue, be sure to create a zipped archive of your logs before cleaning them up. The clean up can delete important information Support may need. For details on creating log archives, see Log File Snapshots (Archive Logs).

  2. Set the appropriate logging level. This is something that Tableau Support will instruct you on. For more information including impact of different log levels, see Change Logging Levels.
  3. Reproduce the issue you are troubleshooting so the logs capture the events related to the problem.
  4. Create an archive of the logs. For more information see Log File Snapshots (Archive Logs).

    Important: Use this archive when looking at the log files. You should not edit, move or delete any files directly on the server.

  5. Review the TSM Administration Controller log (\tabadmincontroller\tabadmincontroller_node<n>-<n>.log) to understand any configuration or deployment done by TSM from the command line, Web UI or API, including jobs started by TSM. Start with the controller log. This is where you'll get most useful information.

    Note: The tsm.log is less wordy than the tabadmincontroller_*.log but can provide useful, complimentary troubleshooting information.

  6. Review the Apache logs (\httpd\access.####_##_##_##_##_##.log and \httpd\error.log) for requests that may be related to the issue you are investigating.

    The Apache logs will contain a fair amount of "noise" that does not apply to issues you are experiencing.

    • If you find a request that seems to be related to your issue, search thevizqlserver directory for entries that include the unique request ID from the Apache logs.
    • Look for the response code and message associated with the request ID.
    • Search for the name of the workbook, view, dashboard or data source that is related to your issue. Make sure to look for a relevant timestamp.
    • If you find a request that seems to be related to your issue, look at the response code associated with the request. (200s are good, 500s indicate problems.)
    • Locate the unique request ID associated with the request you've identified (the unique request ID is a 24 character alphanumeric string at the very end of the request).
  7. Review the log archive further to search for other messages and possible errors.

    • Use the request ID from the Apache logs to search the vizqlserver folder of the log archive for files containing related log entries. Look for indications of a problem (for example, error messages or long-running queries).
    • The free, open source tool, Logshark can be a useful option for reviewing log archives. For more information, see Troubleshooting Tableau Server(Link opens in a new window) in the Tableau Blueprint.
  8. Review script logging.

    Tableau Server includes logs for most of the scripts that are included in the scripts directory. By default:C:\Program Files\Tableau\Tableau Server\packages\scripts.<version_code>\ These logs are saved to:

    • <install_drive>\<install\path>\logs\
      by default: 
    • C:\ProgramData\Tableau\Tableau Server\logs\
  9. Contact support

    If you are not able to solve the issue yourself, or if requested by Tableau Support, send the zipped archive to Tableau.

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