Introduction to Tableau

Tableau is a simple yet powerful tool used for Data Visualization in the business intelligence industry. Using tableau you can simplify raw data into an easily understandable format. The visualizations created by the tableau are in the form of Dashboards and Worksheets.

  • Data Visualization : Graphical representation of information and data. Example: Graphs, Charts, Maps.
  • Raw Data : Unprocessed Data or Primary Data.
  • Business Intelligence : Business intelligence comprises the strategies and technologies used by enterprises for the data analysis of business information.
  • Dashboards: A dashboard is a collection of multiple views, letting you compare a variety of data simultaneously.
  • Worksheets: Tableau uses a workbook and sheet file structure, much like Microsoft Excel. A workbook contains sheets. A sheet can be a worksheet, a dashboard, or a storyline.

Uses of Tableau

  • Data Blending : Data blending in Tableau is the operation of combining multiple data sources into the same view by finding common fields to join them.
  • Real-time Analysis : Real-Time Analytics will enable users to quickly analyze and understand dynamic data.
  • The Collaboration of data: Sharing data between team members.

Tableau Product Suite:

The tableau product suite consists of the following:

  • Tableau Desktop
  • Tableau Public
  • Tableau Online
  • Tableau Server
  • Tableau Reader


Installation of Tableau

Data Analytics in Tableau

Data analysis is the process of inspecting the data, transforming the data, Modeling the given data to discover useful information and decision making. You can classify Data Analytics in tableau into two sections for a clear understanding.

  1. Developer Tools
  2. Sharing Tools

Tableau workspace and Navigation

Developer Tools

The tools that are used for creating Dashboards, Charts, Worksheets, Report generation, and Visualizations are called developer tools. The Tableau Desktop and Tableau Public come under this category.

Tableau Desktop:

The Tableau desktop allows you to code, customize, create charts, reports, and blending them all together to create a dashboard and all the other related work has been done here.

You can do live data analysis by connecting the tableau desktop to the data warehouse and other types of files. you can share the created dashboard and workbooks either locally and publicly.

Based on the connectivity to the data sources and sharing options you can classify Tableau Desktop into two types as follow:

  • Tableau Desktop Personal : The development features are similar to the Tableau desktop. The personal version keeps the workbook private and has limited access. The workbooks can not be published online, so you can distribute them either offline or in tableau public.
  • Tableau Desktop Professional: You can have full access to all sorts of data types here, and it is best suitable for those who wish to publish their work on the tableau server.

Tableau Public:

The Tableau public is specially built for cost-effective users, the workbook which is created can't be saved locally, sequentially, it should be saved to Tableau's public cloud which can be viewed and accessed by anyone.

This version is best for the ones who want to learn and share their data with the general public.

Tableau Data Relationship

Sharing Tools

The products which are created using Developer tools are shared using sharing tools. Following are the tools that come under this category:

It is an online sharing tool for the tableau. The functionalities are similar to the tableau server, but the data is stored on the servers hosted in the cloud which are maintained by the tableau group.

There is no storage limit on the data that can be published in Tableau Online. Tableau Online creates a direct link to over 40 data sources that are hosted in the cloud such as MySQL, Hive, Amazon Aurora, Spark SQL, and many more.

To publish, both Tableau Online and Server require the workbooks created by Tableau Desktop. Data that is streamed from the web applications say Google Analytics, are also supported by Tableau Server and Tableau Online.

You can use the tableau server to share Workbooks, Visualizations which are created by the tableau desktop application across the organization.

To share dashboards in the Tableau Server, you must first publish your work on the Tableau Desktop. Once the work has been uploaded to the server, it will be accessible only to licensed users.

However, It's not necessary that the licensed users need to have the Tableau Server installed on their machine. You just require the log in credentials with which they can check reports via a web browser.

The security is high in the Tableau server, and it is much suited for quick and effective sharing of data in an organization.

Tableau Reader is a free tool that allows you to view the workbooks and visualizations created using Tableau Desktop or Tableau Public. The data can be filtered but editing and modifications are restricted.

The security level is zero in Tableau Reader as anyone who gets the workbook can view it using Tableau Reader.

To share the dashboards that you have created, the receiver should have Tableau Reader to view the document.

Data Sorting in Tableau

How Does Tableau Work

You can use Tableau to connect and extract the data stored in various places. You can pull data from any platform using Tableau.

A simple database such as an excel, pdf, to a complex database like Oracle, and a database in the cloud such as Amazon Web services, Microsoft Azure SQL database, Google Cloud SQL, and various other data sources can be extracted by Tableau.

When you launch Tableau, the ready data connectors are available that allow you to connect to any database.

You can pull the data either by connecting the live or extracted to Tableau's data engine and Tableau Desktop. The data engineer and data analyst will work here with the data that was pulled up and develop visualizations.

You can share the created dashboards with the users as a static file and these dashboards can be viewed using the Tableau Reader by the user.

You can publish the data from the Tableau Desktop to the Tableau server. This is an enterprise platform where collaboration, distribution, governance, security model, automation features are supported.

With the Tableau Server, you have a better experience in accessing the files from all the locations like desktop, mobile, or email.

Tableau Worksheets

Tableau Server Architeture

Tableau has a highly scalable, n-tier client-server architecture that serves mobile clients, web clients, and desktop-installed software. Tableau Desktop is the authoring and publishing tool that is used to create shared views on Tableau Server.

Data Server/Tableau Server:

The Primary component of the Tableau Architecture is the Data sources that it can connect to. You can connect Tableau to multiple data sources. These data sources are on-premise or remotely located. You can connect a data server to a database, excel file, and web application all at the same time.

Tableau can connect data from heterogeneous environments and blend the data from multiple data sources and it can make the relationship between various types of data sources.

Data Connectors:

It provides an interface to connect external data sources to the Tableau data server. The Tableau has an in-built ODBC/SQL connector. You can connect this ODBC connector to any database without using their native connector.

Tableau has an option to select both live and extracted data. Based on the usage, one can be easily switched between extracted and live data.

Live connection :

You can access the real-time data by linking Tableau to the external database directly. Sending the dynamic MDX and SQL statements allows you to use the infrastructure of the existing database system. This feature helps in linking to the live data with Tableau rather than importing the data.

It makes good that the investment is done by an organization on a fast and optimized database system. The size of the database is huge and is updated periodically in many enterprises, In those cases, connecting to the live data the tableau works as a front-end visualization tool.

Extracted Data:

Tableau has an option to extract the data from external data sources. You can make a local copy in the form of a Tableau extract file. And the millions of records in the Tableau data engine are extracted in a single click.

Tableau Data engine uses the RAM, ROM, and Cache memory to store and process the data. Using filters, You can extract some records from the dataset. This improves the performance of the tableau while working with a huge dataset.

Components of Tableau Server:

Three different servers are present in the Tableau Server:

  • Application Server : The application server provides authentication and authorization and also handles the administration and permission for web and mobile interfaces. Tableau records each session-id on the tableau server and provides high security. Your administrator can configure the default time out of the session on the server.
  • VizQL Server: VizQL server is used to convert the queries from the data sources into visualization. It receives requests from the client and forwarded them to the VizQL process, and sends the query directly to the data source, and retrieves the information in the form of images to the user.
  • Data Server: Data server is used to manage and store the data from external data sources. It provides metadata management, data security, data storage, data connection, and driver requirements and stores the details of the dataset such as metadata, sets, group, calculated fields, and parameters.


The gateway works as a distributor to processes various components, it transfers requests from users to tableau components and the client's requests are forwarded to an external load balancer for processing.

In case of the absence of a load balancer, the gateway works as a load balancer. For single-server configuration, One primary server manages all the processes. For multiple server configurations, one physical system works as a primary server, while others are used as worker servers.


The visualizations and dashboards can be viewed and edited using different clients in the tableau server. The different clients are Tableau Desktop, Web Browser, and Mobile Applications.

  • Tableau Desktop: The Tableau Desktop is a business analytics tools that help users to build, create, view, and publish dashboards on the Tableau server and helps to access various data sources.
  • Mobile Applications: The dashboards from the server can be interactively visualized using mobile browsers and applications. The browser and application can be used to view and edit the contents in the workbook.
  • Web Browser: The contents and visualizations in the dashboards are edited using web browsers. Example: Google Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox.
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