Licensing Overview

Tableau Server term licenses are available with two different license metrics: User-Based and Core-Based. Term licenses, also known as subscription licenses, allow you to use and update Tableau Server for a specified period of time.

Tableau offers multiple types of User-Based term licenses that grant a range of capabilities at various price points, providing the flexibility for organizations to pay for the data analysis and data visualization capabilities that each type of user in their organization needs. To learn more, see User-based licenses.

License metric: User-Based or Core-Based

Your license is defined by the metric that permits use of Tableau Server.

  • A User-Based license metric allows you to deploy Tableau Server on a single computer or on multiple computers in a cluster. Each user that accesses Tableau Server must be licensed. Administrators add users and license them.

  • A Core-Based license metric imposes no constraints on the number of user accounts in Tableau Server. Instead, the license specifies the maximum number of computer cores on which you can run Tableau Server. You can install Tableau Server on a single computer or across multiple computers as a multi-node cluster, as long as the total number of cores in all the computers does not exceed the total number that the license allows.

    Note: Not all processes installed with Tableau Server impact the calculation of total number of cores used. A subset of processes are considered "licensed processes." Core licensing is calculated only on computers running licensed processes. If a computer has one or more licensed processes installed on it, the cores on that computer count toward the total cores used. For more information about licensed processes, see Licensed processes.

The topics in this section provide guidance about how to view and refresh Tableau licensing, as well as a topic that describes how to add user capacity on Tableau Server.

Note: As a Tableau Server administrator, you may also be tasked with managing Tableau Desktop deployment and tracking license usage on client computers. If your organization will be using Desktop License reporting, you need to configure Tableau Server to support this. For details, see Configure Desktop License Reporting. For additional information on licensing and management tasks related to Tableau Desktop, see the Tableau Desktop Deployment Guide.

User-Based licenses

Tableau offers User-Based term licenses that grant a range of capabilities at various price points. Multiple types of User-Based term licenses are available: Viewer, Explorer and Creator. The following capabilities are available to users with these licenses:

  • Viewer licenses let users view and interact with workbooks in Tableau Server or Tableau Online. Viewer licenses also let users access Tableau Mobile, add comments to workbooks, download .png and .pdf versions of workbooks, download workbook summary data, create subscriptions for themselves, and receive data-driven alerts.
  • Explorer licenses are equivalent to the User-Based term licenses available in previous Tableau Server and Tableau Online releases, and include the capabilities provided with Viewer licenses. Depending on a user’s site role, a user with this license will have access to workbook authoring capabilities using a web browser, as well as a full set of collaboration features.
  • Creator licenses grant a wide range of capabilities when using Tableau Server and Tableau Online, and also grant use of Tableau Desktop and Tableau Prep. Depending on a user’s site role, a user with a Creator license might have all of the capabilities available under the Explorer license, as well as the following capabilities when using Tableau Server and Tableau Online:
    • Create and publish new workbooks from a new data source.
    • Edit embedded data sources in the Data pane.
    • Create and publish new data connections.
    • Create new workbooks using Dashboard Starters (Tableau Online only).

    Note: Tableau Server administrators will always use a Creator license, if available; additionally, activating a Creator license on Tableau Server causes all Tableau Server administrator accounts to require Creator licenses.

Product keys provide administrators with a set of each type of license, which they can activate by assigning associated site roles to users. The first Creator or Explorer license that you add to Tableau Server activates Tableau Server, and will be used by a Server Administrator. Administrators can activate additional Creator, Explorer and Viewer licenses in Tableau Server or Tableau Online to increase licensed user capacity.

Data Management Add-On

The Data Management Add-on product key includes Tableau Prep Conductor for a single Tableau Server Deployment, which may be User-Based or Core-Based. A Deployment includes a licensed production Tableau Server installation and licensed non-production Tableau Server installations that support the production installation. For more information, see Use the Data Management Add-on.

Tableau Server Management Add-on

The Tableau Server Management Add-on is licensed on a per Deployment basis, which may be User-Based or Core-Based. A Deployment includes a licensed production Tableau Server installation and two licensed non-production Tableau Server installations that support the production installation. For more information on Server Management Add-on and the features included in this Add-on, see About Tableau Server Management Add-on.

Tableau Server licenses and site roles after an upgrade

When upgraded to 2018.2, Tableau Server will display the new licensing information and site roles. Any users in the Read Only site role prior to the upgrade are reassigned to the Viewer site role.

To learn more about the site roles available with each type of User-Based license, see Set Users’ Site Roles. To learn about pricing for each type of User-Based license, see Tableau Pricing. To learn about troubleshooting issues with licensing, see Troubleshoot Licensing.

Tableau Server product key activation

You can activate the same Tableau Server product key up to three times. This allows you to test Tableau Server (in a sandbox or QA environments, for example), as well as use Tableau in production. To maximize your activations, you should deactivate your product key when you remove Tableau Server from a computer, unless you will be reinstalling Tableau on the same computer. Doing this gives you the opportunity to use the activation on a different computer. For example, if you move Tableau Server from one computer to another, deactivate the product key, then remove Tableau from the original computer. When you install Tableau on the new computer, you can activate the key there without any conflict. If you are removing Tableau Server to reinstall it on the same computer, you don't need to deactivate the key. Tableau will use the key when reinstalled. For example, if you are moving Tableau from one drive on a computer to a different drive on the same computer. For information on how to deactivate a product key, see tsm licenses deactivate.

Tableau Server licensing and virtual machines (VMs)

If you run Tableau Server on VMs, either locally, or in the cloud, be aware of the potential for complications related to licensing. If you are simply upgrading Tableau Server on the VM, you do not need to take any extra action related to licensing. If you plan to clone the VM to create either a new production or test environment to upgrade, you need to deactivate any Tableau Server licenses before cloning. If you do not do this, the new VM environment can end up with an untrusted license, and any attempts to upgrade will fail. You may also end up hitting the maximum number of activations for the licenses.

To avoid issues with licensing on VMs, deactivate all Tableau licenses before cloning a VM or allowing it to be permanently shut down.

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