Test the Upgrade

The best way to learn what impact a Tableau Server upgrade will have to your current environment is to test it. Knowing how an upgrade will affect your users and your server helps you plan and communicate before the actual upgrade, ensuring that your users will not be caught by surprise.

If you have a Tableau Server test environment this is a great place to test out the upgrade.

We recommend the following sequence for testing a Tableau Server upgrade:

  1. Prepare a test environment

  2. Upgrade the test environment

  3. Confirm that existing functionality works

  4. Performance and user acceptance testing

  5. Test new features

  6. Communicate about the upgrade

Prepare a test environment

To start, create a test environment that mirrors your production environment as closely as possible. The closer your test environment is to the actual environment you will be upgrading, the more accurate a representation you will have of how the upgrade will impact you. This includes identical or similar hardware and operating systems, as well as the same authentication options and network access.

When you've got a test computer or virtual machine ready, follow these steps for creating a test environment.

  1. On the existing production environment, create a backup of Tableau Server using the tsm maintenance backup command.

    For more information, see Create a pre-upgrade backup.

  2. On your test environment, install a copy of the same version of Tableau Server as you have in your production environment.

    Note: You can download the setup program for your current version from the Alternate Downloads Site.

  3. Restore your existing database data using the tsm maintenance restore command.

    For more information, see Restore from a backup.

  4. Manually replicate your existing Tableau Server configuration.

    You need to manually configure certain aspects of your environment because when you restore the Tableau database it doesn't include configuration details and customizations.

Upgrade the test environment

Follow the appropriate steps for upgrading the test environment, based on your environment:

Confirm that everything works as expected

After you have the new version of Tableau Server installed and configured in your test environment, you are ready to test. You should test basic functionality, along with any special aspects of server that your organization relies on. For example, if there are key subscriptions that your organization relies on, make sure that you test those.

These are some areas of testing to consider:

  • Server processes. Sign in to Tableau Server as a server administrator, and then open the Server Status page to confirm that all services and processes are running as expected (including on all additional nodes if this is a distributed installation).

  • User access. Confirm that Tableau Server users can sign in. Test your normal user sign in process. Have some of your users participate in the testing to make sure they are able to sign in as expected, and that they can get to the same content that they have access to in your production environment.

  • Publishing workbooks and data sources. Have users publish workbooks and data sources from Tableau Desktop to make sure this goes as you expect.

  • Viewing published workbooks.Have users who are familiar with the content try to view published workbooks to make sure they appear as expected. Test views embedded in web pages (for example, in SharePoint pages).

  • Subscriptions and extract refreshes. Manually run some extract refreshes to confirm that they complete successfully. Run some key scheduled extract refreshes to confirm that they complete as expected.

  • Permissions. Confirm that permissions are still set as expected for users and content.

  • Command-line utilities and APIs. If applicable, test the command line utilities (tsm and tabcmd) and programmatic access via APIs.

Performance and user acceptance testing

Use tools like Tabjolt, Replayer, and Scout to do performance and user acceptance testing on your test environment. For more information about these and other performance testing tools, see Performance Monitoring Tools . If you have workbooks that have calculations and use extracts as the data source, we recommend that you test the performance of these workbooks before you upgrade. For more information, see Test Workbook Performance.

Test new features

Take a look at the new features that come with the version you are upgrading to, and at any features that were added between the version you currently have and the new version. Think about how to help your users understand the benefits of the features that apply to your environment.

For more information on new features, see What's New in Tableau Server.

Communicate about the upgrade

The best way to make an upgrade go smoothly is by letting your organization know ahead of time about the upgrade and how it might impact them. If you've had users help test, take advantage of their experience by having them help communicate the changes they saw while testing. You can also provide user access to the test environment if there are key people who should see the upgraded version before the actual upgrade.

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