Supermetrics Support Forum

Tableau Server vs Desktop


  I have a trial version of Tableau on my workstation. Currently, I have built dashboards from Excel workbooks and published it to Tableau Server. My company is willing to pay for any licensing costs. But moving forward I am going to migrate all my excel data sources to a Microsoft SQL database. With the ultimate goal to build a data warehouse, build Tableau visualizations from that and publish the content to end users. End users will most likely only view and filter the Tableau dashboards. Furthermore, I plan to use SQL Server to import and update the data warehouse on a quarterly basis.


I think having Tableau Desktop on my workstation is all I need to publish dashboards for end users. There seems to already be a Tableau Server established. Additionally, I think if the end users simply have Tableau Reader that is all they will need.


Am I on the right track?

Thank You

Honey Asin

  • I cannot 100% verify for your situation but I do have a little experience here. Tableau reader is free. Meaning if you create a report in Tableau you can send out a report file that can be opened by anyone with the reader. However every time you update said report you need to send out a new file.

    In order to give people access to a Web dashboard, where the data is automatically updated, they get all the filtering and visualization, then you have to pay for licenses for those people. Unlimited licenses you are looking at $100,000+ a year to support.

    The pricing may have changed and they may well have different deals for different organizations. However it adds up very fast. With any of these you want to look over the fine details because the devil really is in there. I have seen several organizations sign up for things like Tableau and Domo thinking "This is great, it isn't that much" and then suddenly realize they are looking at investments in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to make it work.

  • Tableau server/online versions do not need Tableau Desktop. The major factor working between each of these versions is the inability to be able to open a Tableau Public workbook in a Tableau Desktop version.

     Tableau Desktop and Tableau Server seem to work very well with each other while Tableau Public could be useful for those who do not have a Tableau Server and are not yet willing to purchase a license for the Desktop version.

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