Tableau Tip Tuesday: Always Manually Backup Tableau Server Before Upgrading

Last night I upgraded a Tableau Server for one of our clients1.  They weren’t ready to go to 8.3 yet (they’re holding out for 9.0,), but we had agreed to upgrade from 8.2.1 to 8.2.7. Since an upgrade requires an uninstall of the existing Tableau Server, we also agreed to do it after hours.

When you uninstall Tableau Server it makes a backup of the internal database (including workbooks, extracts, users, and settings) and when you install a newer version it restores everything so the new version is ready to go with everything the old version had.  Usually…


(You probably see where this is going…)


Last night, I downloaded the installation package, ran a manual backup of Tableau Server, uninstalled the server, and ran the installation package.  But about half-way through the installation, I realized I’d made a mistake.  I had downloaded the latest installation package, which was 8.3 instead of the desired 8.2.7.

I rolled back the installation, got the right package and re-installed.  Everything seemed to go smoothly… until the install finished and I logged into the server – there were no workbooks, no extracts, and no users (except me).  It was a clean install.  Rolling back the installation had lost the automatic backup.

I sure was glad to have the backup of the server I had just run manually.  With that backup, it took only one command to restore the workbooks, extracts, users, and settings.  If I hadn’t made the backup, I would still be picking up the pieces this morning2.

It may be tempting to rely on the fact that Tableau Server backs up on uninstall and restores on re-install – but don’t!  Always make a manual backup prior to an upgrade.
The command is simple:

tabadmin backup backupfile.tsbak


And if you need to restore:

tabadmin restore backupfile.tsbak


You can learn more about backup and restore here.

1 I have been a consultant for Teknion Data Solutions for over 10 years!  It’s a great company and we’re hiring!

2 Of course, I have regular backups scheduled too, so it might not have been too bad.  ( that’s another tip 🙂 )


Check back each Tuesday for another Tableau Tip…

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4 Responses so far.

  1. Priyanka Patnaik says:

    Thank you for the tip!! I generally rely on the tableau backup. Advice taken..

  2. Priyanka Patnaik says:

    Thank you for the tip!! I generally rely on the tableau auto backup. Advice taken..

  3. Venkat says:

    Can you share me how you are scheduling backups and taking backups?

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