Technical Considerations for Migrating from Tableau Server to Tableau Cloud
This topic covers most of the technical considerations that may arise in a migration from Tableau Server to Tableau Cloud. It’s written for the administrators that currently manage Tableau Server and who are considering a migration to Tableau Cloud. We recommend that you review this topic as a primary step in your migration plan. Additionally, work with your account team to understand if a migration makes sense for your organization.
The topic reflects the product capabilities in Tableau Server 2023.1.
For additional information and to initiate a migration to Tableau Cloud, visit the Tableau Cloud Migration(Link opens in a new window) site on Tableau.com.
This topic is organized into four major areas that are familiar to Tableau administrators. The following tables show a summary feature comparison between Tableau Cloud and Tableau Server within each major area. For more information on a given feature, see the corresponding section later in this topic.
|Security, administration, and governance|
|Tableau Cloud||Tableau Server|
|Compliance||See Salesforce Compliance(Link opens in a new window) portal. Access to this site may require permission from your account manager.||Managed by customer|
|Hosting and upgrades||Managed by Tableau||Managed by customer|
|Site level administration||Single site default||Managed by customer|
|Telemetry data||Limited||Managed by customer|
|Observability data||Admin Insights(Link opens in a new window) with Activity Log(Link opens in a new window)||Managed by customer with repository access and Activity Log(Link opens in a new window)|
|Availability||99.9% with SLA for Premium Support customers||Managed by customer|
|Tableau Cloud||Tableau Server|
|Applications and databases||Supported, with database-specific limitations||Supported|
|Custom connectivity||Limited support||Supported|
|Cube data sources||Not supported||Supported|
|User management and licensing|
|Tableau Cloud||Tableau Server|
External: role and usage-based
Internal: role and core-based
External: role and core-based
|Active Directory, Kerberos, LDAP directory||Not supported||Supported|
|Automated user and group management||Okta, OneLogin, Azure AD, and custom tooling(Link opens in a new window)||Active Directory, LDAP|
|Extensibility and external integrations|
|Tableau Cloud||Tableau Server|
|Automated tooling through APIs||Supported||Supported|
|R and Python integration||Supported||Supported|
Security, administration, and governance
Security and compliance
Make sure Tableau Cloud security certifications meet your organization's requirements. Tableau Cloud is compliant with ISO 27001/27017/27018 and SOC 2/3 and adheres to data privacy requirements such as those outlined in GDPR. To see a complete and up-to-date list of certifications go to the Salesforce Compliance(Link opens in a new window) portal. Access to this site may require permission from your account manager.
Additionally, Tableau Cloud and Salesforce adheres to the strictest standards for regional data security and privacy. Customer data never leaves the region in which it is hosted. Salesforce adopts a Shared Responsibility Model. In this model, we work with you to ensure that all the proper security and compliance controls are enabled by Salesforce and your organization.
Hosting and upgrades
Tableau hosts and manages Tableau Cloud for customers. Tableau Cloud is always running the latest version of Tableau. Major upgrades are completed with zero downtime. Routine maintenance (activities like upgrades, backups, performance tuning, etc.) is performed to minimize downtown. In the case where downtime is required, maintenance occurs during pre-communicated windows. For more information about the Tableau maintenance schedule and how to sign up for maintenance notifications from Tableau Trust, see Tableau Cloud System Maintenance(Link opens in a new window).
Tableau Cloud is run in Amazon Web Services. You can choose to deploy your site in any of the AWS Regions listed here(Link opens in a new window).
Tableau takes daily backups of the environment for Disaster Recovery. However, these backups are for the purpose of restoring the system as a whole. Customers are responsible for maintaining backups of any files they want to recover if they’re removed or deleted from Tableau Cloud.
Site level administration
By default, Tableau Cloud deployments provide a single Site for deploying Tableau to your users. A single site model simplifies administration of the environment while allowing comprehensive governance scenarios as recommended in Blueprint(Link opens in a new window).
To ensure consistent performance across the platform, Tableau Cloud restricts sites with site capacity limits. See Tableau Cloud Site Capacity(Link opens in a new window) for a list of capacity types and associated allowances. The capacity restrictions include limits for overall storage and for tasks that you may perform on the site. You can evaluate if any of your use cases would be impacted by these limits by connecting to the Tableau Server repository and comparing usage to the site capacity limits. For more information about connecting to the repository, see Collect Data with the Tableau Server Repository.
In Tableau Cloud, you can’t connect directly to the Tableau Server repository database. Instead, Site Admins have access to a Project called Admin Insights that contain pre-built observability dashboards and data sources. See Use Admin Insights to Create Custom Views(Link opens in a new window). Admin Insights help you to understand usage, performance, licensing, user management and more. You can also use the provided data sources to build custom reports or take advantage of Accelerators built on this data. For an example, see the Dashboard Load Times Accelerator(Link opens in a new window). Default data retention in Admin Insights is 90 days. With Advanced Management you receive an extended retention period of 365 days and get access to Activity Log(Link opens in a new window) for more detailed observability data.
Tableau Cloud offers a service level agreement (SLA) that guarantees monthly service availability of 99.9%. We provide this level of service to all Tableau Cloud customers. However, in the unlikely event availability falls short of 99.9%, only those customers subscribed to Premium Support for Tableau Cloud are eligible for a service credit on their account.
Tableau Cloud customers who subscribe to Standard Support or Extended Support benefit from the SLA because Tableau maintains 99.9% availability across all Tableau Cloud deployments. However, Standard and Extended Support customers can’t request service credits if Tableau Cloud fails to meet 99.9%.
Where your data resides determines which of the two connectivity options you use with Tableau Cloud:
- Tableau Cloud can directly connect to the cloud data sources listed below. For direct connections, some databases require authorizing Tableau Cloud to access these data sources before you connect.
See Authorize Access to Cloud Data Published to Tableau Cloud(Link opens in a new window). Supported Tableau Cloud connectors
Alibaba AnalyticsDB for MySQL‡
Alibaba Data Lake Analytics‡
Amazon Aurora for MySQL‡
Amazon EMR Hadoop Hive‡
Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2‡
Azure Synapse Analytics (SQL Server compatible)
Datorama by Salesforce‡
Dremio by Dremio‡
Google Cloud SQL (MySQL compatible)‡§
Hortonworks Hadoop Hive
Microsoft Azure SQL Database‡
Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics‡
Microsoft SQL Server‡
MongoDB BI Connector‡
Pivotal Greenplum Database‡
SAP HANA (for virtual connections only)‡
SingleStore (formerly MemSQL)‡
*For more information about using OAuth 2.0 standard for Google BigQuery, OneDrive, and Dropbox connections in Tableau Cloud, see OAuth Connections(Link opens in a new window).
**Teradata web authoring currently doesn’t support query banding functionality. See Teradata(Link opens in a new window) for details.
‡Supports virtual connections if you have Data Management. See About Virtual Connections and Data Policies(Link opens in a new window) in the Tableau Cloud help for details.
§Tableau Cloud doesn't support SSL using Google Cloud SQL.
- For data that is stored on-premises or in a private cloud network, you can deploy Tableau Bridge. For a list of all the connectors that Tableau Bridge supports and doesn’t support, see Connectivity with Bridge(Link opens in a new window).
Tableau Cloud supports various file types. Files hosted on cloud platforms like Google Drive, Dropbox, Box and S3 can use Tableau Cloud direct connectors to support both live and extract connections. Tableau Bridge supports file-based data connections for extracts, but doesn’t support live connectivity to file-based data.
Applications and databases
Tableau Cloud supports most of the same Connectors that Tableau Server supports, but there are some differences. Some databases require specific configuration to enable direct Tableau Cloud connectivity. See Allow Direct Connections to Data Hosted on a Cloud Platform(Link opens in a new window).
Tableau Cloud and Tableau Bridge don’t support authentication to a database using Kerberos.
Tableau Cloud is designed to use the same database Connector for every Tableau Cloud customer and therefore doesn’t support customer-specific connectivity solutions. The two notable exceptions are the Hyper API and Tableau Bridge, which can be used to extend or customize your connectivity. The Hyper API can create extracts that can be published to Tableau Cloud. Tableau Bridge can be used to extend some connectivity options, for example, ODBC, JDBC, and Web Data Connectors. See Connectivity with Bridge(Link opens in a new window).
You can’t customize connectivity with Connector SDK (.taco) on Tableau Cloud or with Tableau Bridge.
If you’re using Virtual Connections as a part of the Data Management offering there may be differences specific to your desired connector. Verify that Tableau Cloud or Tableau Bridge supports your scenario.
Cube data sources
Tableau Cloud doesn’t support Cube Data Sources. Instead, we recommend that you connect directly to the underlying database that the cube is built on top of for greater flexibility in your analysis.
Tableau Bridge doesn’t support running Tableau Prep Flows with Prep Conductor. Instead, follow the process in the KB article, How to Run Tableau Prep Conductor Flows with On-Premises Data in Tableau Cloud(Link opens in a new window), to automate data preparation.
Licensing and user management
Tableau Cloud supports licensing with subscription role-based plans. Learn more at the Tableau Pricing(Link opens in a new window) page. To eliminate key management tasks, Tableau Cloud defaults to licensing users with login-based license management (LBLM(Link opens in a new window)). Legacy perpetual licenses and server core-based licensing aren’t supported.
Tableau Cloud doesn’t offer a “Guest” user. However, connected applications can be used to provide content for broader usage within your organization. See Use Tableau Connected Apps for Application Integration(Link opens in a new window).
If you’re licensing Tableau Cloud for users outside of your organization, usage-based licensing for those external use cases is available. See Raise Revenue and Lower Costs with Usage-Based Licensing for Tableau Embedded Analytics.
Tableau Cloud supports single sign-on (SSO) through both SAML and OIDC. Direct integrations with Okta, Azure AD, One Login, Salesforce, PingOne, and more are supported.
All users accessing Tableau Cloud are required to utilize multi-factor authentication (MFA) to authenticate into Tableau Cloud.
If you aren’t using an SSO provider, you can use Tableau Cloud’s built-in authentication type, TableauID with MFA. You can also create custom solutions with SAML or use Connected Applications(Link opens in a new window) for embedded solutions.
For more information, see the Authentication(Link opens in a new window) section in Tableau Cloud help.
Active Directory, Kerberos, and LDAP
Tableau Cloud doesn’t support direct integration with Active Directory. However you can configure SAML with Azure AD(Link opens in a new window). to integrate with Tableau Cloud.
Additionally, most IdPs have an Active Directory integration that would suffice for authentication with Tableau Cloud. For an example, see Active Directory integration (Okta)(Link opens in a new window).
Tableau Cloud doesn’t support Kerberos authentication or using LDAP as an Identity Store.
Automated user and group management
Tableau Cloud uses System for Cross-domain Identity Management (SCIM) for automating the exchange of user identity information. There are several IdP-specific configurations available in Tableau Cloud. See Automate User Provisioning and Group Synchronization through an External Identity Provider(Link opens in a new window).
Tableau Cloud doesn’t support direct integration with Active Directory for user or group provisioning.
Extensibility and external integrations
We recommend that you verify your use cases prior to a migration.
There are some differences to be aware of as you plan your automated tooling strategy for Tableau Cloud:
- Tableau Server supports REST APIs for server-level administration. Tableau Cloud supports site-level administration.
- Tableau Server supports a global list of Web Data Connectors. Tableau Cloud requires using Bridge to run extract refreshes for Web Data Connectors.
- The connectors on the Tableau Exchange are only supported by Tableau Server.
APIs supported by Tableau Cloud are optimized for authentication with Tableau personal access tokens (PATs). Plan on refactoring your tooling to use PAT authentication as part of your migration to Tableau Cloud. See Personal Access Tokens(Link opens in a new window).
Tableau Cloud supports analytics extensions with both R and Python. See Configure Connections with Analytics Extensions(Link opens in a new window). However, Tableau Bridge doesn’t support analytics extensions, so these extensions are only compatible with data sources that don’t require Tableau Bridge.
Tableau Cloud doesn’t support R or Python script steps in a Prep flow(Link opens in a new window) authored or published to Tableau Cloud.
Tableau Cloud supports embedding Tableau into other applications. It supports the Embedding API, various SSO options, and Tableau REST API for user and content management.
There are two main differences for embedding with Tableau Cloud vs Tableau Server:
- Tableau Cloud supports both a subscription role-based licensing model or a usage-based licensing model for embedding scenarios.
- Tableau Cloud uses a single-tenant model. To ensure data separation, you can use a number of different methods. The data separation strategy you use will be determined by your business needs and embedding solution. The following Tableau Cloud help topics provide more information:
Tableau Cloud allows you to customize some aspects of the user experience like language, locale, custom logos and custom project images. See Customize the Site and Content Settings(Link opens in a new window).
Tableau Cloud doesn’t support custom URLs, custom fonts, or custom welcome banners.