Backup and Restore

A Tableau Server administrator should perform regular database maintenance, monitor disk usage on the server, clean up unnecessary files to free up space on the server, and back up Tableau Server and its data. Taking these steps can help ensure that Tableau Server runs with maximum efficiency.

You can use the Tableau Services Manager (TSM) command line tool to back up and restore your Tableau data. Tableau data includes data extract files, as well as Tableau Server's own PostgreSQL database, which stores workbook and user metadata, and server configuration data. Tableau Server log files capture activity and can help you diagnose problems. Logs are written to folders on the server and you can archive and remove them to save disk space.

Note: You can use the tsm maintenance restore command to restore Tableau Server backups created using tabadmin backup and tsm maintenance backup. Database backups made in other ways, and virtual machine snapshots are not valid sources for restoring Tableau Server.

You can only restore from a backup that has the same type of identity store as the running server. For example, a backup from a server using local authentication can be restored to a Tableau Server initialized with local authentication, but a backup from a server using Active Directory authentication cannot be restored to a server initialized with local authentication.

Platform compatibility

You can use a backup created with Tableau Server on Linux to restore Tableau Server on Windows version 2018.2 and later.

You cannot use a backup created with Tableau Server on Linux to restore earlier versions of Tableau Server on Windows (version 2018.1 and earlier).

You can use a backup created with Tableau Server on Windows (version 2018.2 and earlier) to restore Tableau Server on Linux. For more information about restoring a Windows backup on Tableau Server on Linux, see Migrate Tableau Server from Windows to Linux.

Backup Disk Space Usage

You must have adequate disk space for the database backup and restore processes to run successfully. You need sufficient free disk space to restore from backup, that is in all cases 15% of the disk size. In some cases it could be even greater. During backups, the background tasks for cleaning up old extracts are temporarily paused. This means that, for the duration of the backup, extract refreshes will leave extra files in place, adding to disk space usage. If your backup takes a long time, or if your organization uses many extracts that are regularly updated, this can result in a significant amount of temporary disk space usage. These old files will be removed after the backup is complete.

  • On nodes with the repository, you need additional free space equal to at least twice the size of the repository data. To obtain an estimate of the repository data, check the size of <data directory>/pgsql/data/base directory.

  • On nodes with the file store, you need additional free space equal to at least the size of the file store data. To obtain an estimate of file store data (extracts, flows, etc.), check the size of <data directory>/dataengine directory.

  • On nodes with the Administration Controller or TSM Controller (usually the initial node unless you have had to recover from an initial node failure), you need additional free space equal to at least the size of the repository data plus the size of the file store data.

If all of the above are on the same node, you can use the sum of the sizes to determine the amount of disk space required.

To restore Tableau Server:

  • On controller nodes, you need free space equal to at least the size of the backup archive.

  • On repository nodes, you need free space equal to at least twice the size of the repository data in the backup archive.

  • On file store nodes, you need free space equal to at least twice the size of the dataengine folder in the backup archive.

Best Practices for Backing Up Tableau Server

There are several ways you can maximize backup efficiency. Your environment can impact how effective each of these is, so test with your data to see what works best.

  • Locating the repository (pgsql) and the File Store on the same node as the Administration Controller can reduce the length of time it takes to back up Tableau Server. The Administration Controller is usually on the initial node, unless you have had an initial node failure and had to move the controller to another node.When the repository is co-located with the controller it eliminates or greatly reduces the need to compress and transfer data between nodes during the backup process. This is also true with the File Store, especially if your organization uses extracts heavily.

  • Use the the --skip-compression option when backing up Tableau Server. This creates the backup without using compression, and results in a larger backup file but can reduce the amount of time it takes for the backup to complete. For more information, see tsm maintenance backup.

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