Publish Azure Table-Connected Dashboards in Tableau Server

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Azure Tableau Connector

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Use the CData Tableau Connector for Azure Table and Tableau Server to visualize live Azure Table data.

Tableau Server is a visual analytics platform transforming the way businesses use data to solve problems. When paired with the CData Tableau Connector for Azure Table, you get access to live Azure Table data within Tableau Server. This article shows how to connect to Azure Table in Tableau Desktop, publish a Data Source to Tableau Server, and build a simple chart from that data.

The CData Tableau Connectors enable high-speed access to live Azure Table data in Tableau Server. Once you install the connector, you simply authenticate with Azure Table and you can immediately start building responsive, dynamic visualizations and dashboards. By surfacing Azure Table data using native Tableau data types and handling complex filters, aggregations, & other operations automatically, CData Tableau Connectors grant seamless access to Azure Table data.

NOTE: The CData Tableau Connectors require Tableau 2020.3 or higher. If you are using an older version of Tableau, you will need to use the CData JDBC Driver for Azure Table. If you wish to connect to Azure Table data in Tableau Online, you will need to use CData Connect Cloud.

Enable Connectivity to Azure Table in Tableau Server

Start by installing the CData Tableau Connector on the machine hosting Tableau Server.

If your server is a Linux Machine:

  1. Create a directory for the connector files. For example: /opt/tableau/tableau_driver/connectors
  2. Update your Tableau configuration with the location of the directory: tsm configuration set -k native_api.connect_plugins_path -v /opt/tableau/tableau_driver/connectors --force-keys
  3. Copy cdata.azuretables.taco and cdata.tableau.azuretables.lic from the connector installation directory.
  4. Place the copies in the directory created above.
  5. Restart Tableau Server.

If your server is a Windows Machine:

  1. Create a directory for the connector files. For example: C:\Program Files\Tableau\Connectors
  2. Update your Tableau configuration with the location of the directory: tsm configuration set -k native_api.connect_plugins_path -v C:\Program Files\Tableau\Connectors --force-keys
  3. Copy cdata.azuretables.taco and cdata.tableau.azuretables.lic from the connector installation directory.
  4. Place the copies in the directory created above.
  5. Restart Tableau Server.

Next, install the CData Tableau Connector on the machine running Tableau Desktop. The connector will be installed to the correct location automatically.

Connect to Azure Table in Tableau Desktop

Once the connectors are installed on the Server machine, we can configure a connection to Azure Table in Tableau Desktop and publish a Azure Table-based Data Source to Tableau Server.

  1. Open Tableau Desktop.
  2. Click More under Connect -> To a Server.
  3. Select "Azure Table by CData".
  4. Configure the connection to the data.

    Specify your AccessKey and your Account to connect. Set the Account property to the Storage Account Name and set AccessKey to one of the Access Keys. Either the Primary or Secondary Access Keys can be used. To obtain these values, navigate to the Storage Accounts blade in the Azure portal. You can obtain the access key by selecting your account and clicking Access Keys in the Settings section.

  5. Click "Sign In".

Discover Schemas and Query Data

Once you establish the connection to Azure Table data, you can configure which entities to visualize.

  1. Select CData from the Database pull-down menu.
  2. Select AzureTables from the Schema pull-down menu.
  3. Drag the tables and views you wish to visualize onto the join area. You can include multiple tables.
  4. Select Update Now or Automatically Update. Update Now lets you preview the first 10,000 rows of the data source (or enter the number of rows you want to see in the Rows text box). Automatically Update auto-loads the changes in the preview area.

Publish Data to Tableau Server

After you configure the data you wish to visualize, you can publish the Data Source to a Tableau Server instance. In Tableau Desktop:

  1. Click Server -> Sign In.
  2. Enter the URL for your Tableau Server.
  3. Authenticate with Tableau Server credentials.
  4. Click Server -> Publish Data Source and select your data source.
  5. Click Publish.
  6. Select the Project, name the Data Source, and optionally add a description.
  7. Click Publish.

This creates a new entry under the server's data source list, from which you an change the data source's permissions, view its history, and perform other management tasks.

Note that workstation connected to the same server will be able to use the same source in Tableau Desktop, even if the connector isn't installed there. Also, workbooks created directly on Tableau Server (via the web interface) can use this source.

Visualize Azure Table Data in Tableau Server

With the Data Source published to Tableau Server, you are ready to visualize Azure Table data.

  1. Login to your Tableau Server instance.
  2. Connect to the remote source using the Search for Data -> Tableau Server in the Connect sidebar.
  3. Click the published Data Source.
  4. Click New Workbook.
  5. In the workbook, Azure Table fields are listed as Dimensions and Measures, depending on the data type. The CData Tableau Connector discovers data types automatically, allowing you to leverage the powerful data processing and visualization features of Tableau.
  6. Drag a field from the Dimensions or Measures area to Rows or Columns. Tableau creates column or row headers.
  7. Select one of the chart types from the Show Me tab. Tableau displays the chart type that you selected.

Using the CData Tableau Connector for Azure Table with Tableau Server, you can easily create robust visualizations and reports on Azure Table data. Download a free, 30-day trial and get started today.