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Visualize FTP Data from Tableau

Use the Tableau Desktop business intelligence tool to connect to FTP data.

With CData Drivers for FTP,you can use data access standards to unlock connectivity to business intelligence tools like Tableau. The CData JDBC Driver for FTP allows you to connect from Tableau on Windows and macOS. This article covers how to discover schemas and query FTP data data in real-time.

Connect to FTP in Tableau

Before starting Tableau, make sure you've placed the .jar file in the correct folder:

  • Windows: C:\Program Files\Tableau\Drivers
  • MacOS: ~/Library/Tableau/Drivers

Once your .jar file is in place, establishing a connection is straightforward.

  1. Start Tableau.
  2. Under To a Server, select More.
  3. Select Other Databases (JDBC)
  4. Enter the JDBC connection string in the URL field.
  5. To connect to FTP or SFTP servers, specify at least RemoteHost and FileProtocol. Specify the port with RemotePort.

    Set User and Password to perform Basic authentication. Set SSHAuthMode to use SSH authentication. See the Getting Started section of the data provider help documentation for more information on authenticating via SSH.

    Set SSLMode and SSLServerCert to secure connections with SSL.

    The data provider lists the tables based on the available folders in your FTP server. Set the following connection properties to control the relational view of the file system:

    • RemotePath: Set this to the current working directory.
    • TableDepth: Set this to control the depth of folders to list as views.
    • FileRetrievalDepth: Set this to retrieve and list files recursively from the root table.

    Stored Procedures are available to download files, upload files, and send protocol commands. See the Data Model chapter of the FTP data provider documentation for more information.

    Built-in Connection String Designer

    For assistance in constructing the JDBC URL, use the connection string designer built into the FTP JDBC Driver. Either double-click the .jar file or execute the .jar file from the command-line.

    From Windows:

    java -jar 'C:\Program Files\CData\CData JDBC Driver for FTP 2019\lib\cdata.jdbc.ftp.jar'

    From MacOS:

    java -jar cdata.jdbc.ftp.jar

    Fill in the connection properties and copy the connection string to the clipboard.

    When you configure the JDBC URL, you may also want to set the Max Rows connection property. This will limit the number of rows returned, which is especially helpful for improving performance when designing reports and visualizations.

    The following is a sample URL created in the designer:

    jdbc:salesforce:RemoteHost=MyFTPServer;
  6. Select Sign in.

Discover Schemas and Query Data

  1. Select CData from the Database pull-down menu.
  2. Select Odata from the Schema pull-down menu.
  3. Drag the table 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 automatically reflects the changes in the preview area.
  5. In the Connection menu, select the Live option, so that you skip loading a copy of the data into Tableau and instead work on real-time data.
  6. Click the tab for your worksheet. Columns are listed as Dimensions and Measures, depending on the data type. The CData Driver discovers data types automatically, allowing you to leverage the powerful data processing and visualization features of Tableau.
  7. Click and drag a field from the Dimensions or Measures area to Rows or Columns. Tableau creates column or row headers.
  8. Select one of the chart types from the Show Me tab. Tableau displays the chart type that you selected.

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