What is Tableau Server

The exponentially growing data volumes across the industry have raised the need for understanding the data through visualization and graphics. In this regard, Tableau software is helpful as a popular Business Intelligence tool for data visualizations. Tableau helps to analyze large volumes of data and report it into meaningful insights to make informed decisions. Here, Tableau Server plays a key role in collecting all the organization's data from different sources to make it easier to understand. Tableau Server is a tool developed to manage and utilize Tableau functionalities online. In this blog, we are going to cover what Tableau Server is, how it works, its architecture, the benefits of Tableau Server, and more.

What is Tableau Server?

Tableau is a popular BI and data visualization software to analyze and build reports on large volumes of data. Tableau Server is a digital platform that hosts all the Tableau workbooks from all data sources and other data related to Tableau. Moreover, Tableau is used by multiple organizations to manage data visualizations, data transformations, and sharing documents, reports, etc., to get real-time data analysis. Tableau server controls all the functionalities of Tableau in one place. Further, Tableau Server is useful to provide access and authorizations to users to keep the files secure from cyber threats. Also, all the employees in the organization can connect with other project departments while working. Thus, it saves a lot of time.

How Does Tableau Server Work?

Tableau offers multiple data visualization tools for different purposes in the organization. Among them, Tableau Server is useful for collaborating all the data sources and worksheets from multiple company sections.

Consider a company with different sections, including Finance, HR, Marketing, and Sales. Here, the finance team wants to discuss budget needs with the company’s top management and marketing team. This discussion includes market analysis, annual company expenditure, workforce needs, and other areas of revenue generation. Each department manages individual datasheets, workbooks, etc., for different works.

Tableau Server will gather all these workbooks and sheets from multiple departments and teams as data sources. Then it develops accurate visual data so everyone (employees) can easily understand everything. Also, it provides access approvals to each team to see required data by creating different websites for them. Each team can store data separately and securely with proper access. The server publishes the final project reports through worksheets, dashboards, etc. Two teams can work on data gathering, reporting and visualizing the final data. It is how Tableau Server performs.

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Tableau Server Architecture 

The following layers help to build Tableau Server Architecture. Let us understand these layers in brief.


Data Server

Among the architecture layers, Data Server is the top one. Tableau Server has an essential primary component, i.e. Data Server. It enables users to connect with different data sources at the same time. It includes MS Excel files, SQL servers, web apps, and many more. Data Servers can blend this data from different sources like on-premise and cloud. Also, it helps to build relationships between these data sources.

Data Connectors

For shifting data between databases, data connectors work as an interface. They help users change and alter the data in a proper form. However, Tableau Server consists of an in-built ODBC (open-database connectivity), SQL connectors, etc. Using these connectors, users can connect with multiple databases. They can switch between real-time and in-memory data.

Components of Tableau Server

The following are the three different components of Tableau Server: Application, Data and VizQL Server. The Application Server manages admin activities and consent related to mobile and web interfaces. Data Server acts as a central server to manage and store data collected from external sources. The VizQL server helps transform queries collected from data sources into appealing visuals.


It is one of the layers of tableau server architecture. The gateway component helps to move the user requests to multiple Tableau Server components. Once a user makes the request, the load balancer accepts it and distributes it across Tableau Server components. Sometimes, it can also work as a load balancer when there is no availability of a load balancer.


This component includes software, browsers, apps, etc., which allows users to place requests, connect with the Tableau server, and build data visualizations. These clients can also be accessible as Tableau mobile apps, browsers, Desktop versions, etc.

Tableau Server Benefits for IT Projects

There are multiple benefits of Tableau Server in real-time. The following are the benefits of working with Tableau Server for IT projects.


It is one of the top benefits of Tableau Server. Using Tableau Server, you can easily plan your tasks at intervals as needed. Further, you can send emails, including dashboard snapshots, regarding your performance measured by KPIs. Using Tableau Server's scheduling process, you can send these emails to the stakeholders and any relevant person.


Depending on the user type, Tableau offers a license fee payment structure. In this regard, Tableau Creator is chargeable at $70/month/user. Similarly, Tableau Explorer charges $35/month/user, and Tableau Server charges $12/month/user. This system may be confusing and complex, but it is a simple and safe platform for accessing data.


Another great advantage of Tableau Server is to build custom views where you can design the dashboard as you need. In different sections of the business, it can display results differently. Also, you can design and build your views for different platforms and devices like mobile, Desktop, laptop, etc.


Notifications are one of the popular benefits of Tableau Server. It helps to send key notices once any metrics reach a certain target. Further, it allows you to set the instruction to send notices directly to the related team or an official.

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You can enjoy the benefits of customization offered by Tableau Server. Data tailoring is generally used to alter data as the business needs. With these customization perks, you can easily refine, edit, and play around with your dashboards and data extracts on Tableau.


Another benefit of Tableau Server is organizing dashboards. It allows you to arrange your dashboard elegantly into individual projects. Further, you will have full control over the activities, like who is viewing, accessing the dashboards, or interacting with or sharing them.


Data processing is also one of the benefits of Tableau Server. Sometimes you might have a query regarding anything not working in the system, and you can’t ask this directly. So, Tableau Server offers an NLP (Natural Language Processing) function which allows you to ask your query naturally. Also, you will get replies regarding any data you wish to explore.


Security is one of the top benefits of using Tableau Server. If you’re choosing Tableau Server for your data, you might be serious about data security. Hence, your data is highly safe and secure with Tableau Server. Also, you can refine it as per your needs, as Tableau Server provides great security.

Components of Tableau Server

Tableau Server has three different components, which are as follows:

  • Application Server
  • Data Server
  • VizQL Server

Application Server

Admins generally use the application server to manage sanctions and validations for web and mobile apps. Admins have the authority to fix the default timeout for each server session. They can record the session timings, including the user id and other details.

Data Server

The data server is a Tableau Server component on the server side. It is helpful in data security, managing metadata, data storage, links, and driver needs. Also, the data server saves the details relevant to datasets and is used to make real-time connections.

VizQL Server

It is another component of Tableau Server. VizQL or Visual Query Language server enables Tableau users to transform data queries into data visuals for a better grasp. It helps recover relevant data from various sources and directly transforms it into an image. Further, to minimize the image load time, VizQL Server develops a cache of the visualization built in it.

What are the key distinctions between Tableau Desktop and Tableau Server?

The following are the key differences between Tableau Desktop and Tableau Server.

Basic Function

Tableau Desktop helps produce trending dashboards, worksheets, and other data linking to data sources. The data sources include file folders or a server to extract data. On the other hand, Tableau Server helps produce the dashboards, Tableau worksheets, and other relevant data available on the Tableau Desktop.

Accessing the works

Using Tableau Desktop, you can publish data and share the files on-premise by sharing their workbook. To access this file, the receiver of the file should have a Tableau Desktop or Reader on their device. On the other hand, if someone shares the file by uploading the same on the server within the Tableau Server, the receiver of the file can access it with proper login details. Thus, there is no need to have Tableau Server on the recipient's system.


On the Tableau Desktop, if you share your data locally, you can’t control it and define the conditions for the end-users to make any alterations to the workbook. It is the Tableau Desktop’s primary issue. However, it will make a way to build different versions of the identical reports at hand at multiple locations. On the other hand, there are no such issues with Tableau Server, as the Tableau admin holds full control over this. They can give access to each user to use it.

Further, it enables the admin to offer complete or limited access to view, edit, make changes, etc. If you have the authority to make edits, you can change the current reports through tools like online Tableau Desktop. It is possible only if you have credentials to log in to the Tableau Server.

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Hence, Tableau is the most popular BI tool for data visualizations across the industry. Tableau Server is another useful platform allowing users to produce and share workbooks with others. It also enables us to build a central interface to manage it efficiently. However, Tableau Online is another alternative. It helps if your device doesn’t support all needs required to use and share data. Thus, it is all about Tableau Server and its various aspects.

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As a senior Technical Content Writer for HKR Trainings, Gayathri has a good comprehension of the present technical innovations, which incorporates perspectives like Business Intelligence and Analytics. She conveys advanced technical ideas precisely and vividly, as conceivable to the target group, guaranteeing that the content is available to clients. She writes qualitative content in the field of Data Warehousing & ETL, Big Data Analytics, and ERP Tools. Connect me on LinkedIn.

Tableau Server is a platform that facilitates online hosting of all the workbooks, dashboards, data sources, and many more. All the data is stored securely and safe from hackers.

Tableau doesn’t use any database on Tableau Desktop, but Tableau Server uses PostgreSQL database for storing data extracts from various sources.