Back up Tableau Server data

Regularly backing up Tableau Server is an important step in proper administration and maintenance of your server. 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, so it is critical that you have an up-to-date backup.

Tableau Server data includes data extract files, as well as the Tableau PostgreSQL database, which contains workbook and user metadata, and configuration data. When you use TSM to create a backup, all of this data is saved in a single file with a .tsbak extension. If you are running a distributed installation of Tableau Server data from all the nodes is backed up.

The frequency of your backups depends on your environment, including how much use your server gets and how much and frequently the content and users change. Any changes or updates that happen after your backup will be lost if there is a system failure and you need to restore Tableau Server. The more activity there is, the more often you need to back the server up.

In addition to regular backups, you should always create a backup before upgrading to a new version of Tableau Server.

To help protect against data loss, after you create the backup, you should store the .tsbak file on a computer that is not a part of your Tableau Server installation.

Disk Space Requirements for Backup

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.

Create a backup using the TSM command line interface (CLI)

Use the tsm maintenance backup command to create a backup of the data managed by Tableau Server. This data includes data extract files and the Tableau PostgreSQL database, which contains workbook and user metadata.

Before backing up Tableau Server, verify that permissions are configured correctly for the following scenarios:

  • Tableau Server installed on non-default drive: If you have installed Tableau Server on a non-default drive or folder, then you will need to manually configure permissions for the Network Service account. You may also need to configure additional permissions for the Run As service account. See Installing in a non-default location.
  • Writing backup to a network drive: The Run As service account (by default, Network Service) must have write access to the network share where the backup files are written.

To back up server configuration data, use the tsm settings command. When you use the tsm maintenance backup command, the current date is appended to the backup file:

tsm maintenance backup -f <backup_file> -d

For more information, see tsm maintenance backup.

Create a pre-upgrade backup

You should always create a backup before upgrading Tableau Server. You can create a backup while Tableau Server is running and minimize the amount of time the server is unavailable during upgrade. The process for creating a pre-upgrade backup is the same as for creating regular backups, with one additional consideration for distributed installations.

Note: Uninstall Tableau Server from any nodes that you are not including in your new installation to avoid conflicts between the older nodes and the new installation.

Script the backup process

If you back up often, you might want to create a script that performs the backup and related tasks for you. These tasks include:

  • Clean up files and folders before running the backup.

  • Running the backup itself.

  • Copying the backup file to a separate computer for safekeeping.

This section discusses tsm commands you can use together to perform a backup and related tasks.

Note: TSM is a batch file. To run tsm commands in another batch file, use the call command. For example "call tsm maintenance ziplogs". Doing this will return control to the batch file. You also need to authenticate to TSM before issuing any commands. For more information, see Authenticating with tsm CLI.

For additional information about scripting TSM commands, see the Tableau Community Forums.

Remove log files and clear temporary folders

You can clean old Tableau Server log file and temporary files to reduce the time it takes to create a backup, and to ensure the backup file is as small as possible.

To clean log files older than a few days, run the following command:

tsm maintenance cleanup

Run the backup

Note: When backing up Tableau Server on Windows, the NetworkService must have write access to the network share where the backup files are written. Otherwise, backup will fail.

To create the backup, use the tsm maintenance backup command:

tsm maintenance backup --file <backup_file> --append-date

Note the following about the command:

  • Add --append-date to the command to include the date in the backup file name.

  • By default the backup file is created in C:\ProgramData\Tableau\Tableau Server\data\tabsvc\files\backups\. For more information, see tsm maintenance backup.

Copy the backup file to another computer

As a best practice, after the backup is created, copy the backup file to another location that is separate from Tableau Server.

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