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Back to School Week Project -Installing Tableau Server on Linux: The Birth of Flainey

This week Fuad and I worked together to create our Tableau Server through Linux. When naming our Server, we decided to merge our two names together and so “Flainey” was born.

What is linux?

  • It is an operating system like Windows.
  • It manages the computer hardware and software resources.

Why would we need to learn how to install Tableau Server on Linux?

  • This skill is especially important when your current system is dependent on servers in Linux.
  • Linux is considered to be more stable – it has a lower risk of crashes and errors; it can handle simultaneous processes and doesn’t need to be restarted as frequently.
  • Free to install.
  • More secure as it can source code so the community can fix bugs instead of waiting for manufacturers to roll out a fix.

Pre-conceptions before taking on the project:

  • Coding/Hacker feel
  • Command line and having no interface was scary
  • Not knowing how to fully navigate the computer i.e. not knowing many commands and having to google/research them would be difficult.
  • Worried that we would cause the entire server to crash.

What is the difference between installing Tableau Server on Windows and Linux?


Took longer to clone
Needed to change settings to allow the internet to see the computer.
Easier to navigate as web interface is familiar
Open up safari and navigate to the download page on Tableau website:  
Creating an administrator was dependent on a pop up which would be triggered after the initialisation of TSM. If this pop up did not show, it would be harder to set up the administrator account and therefore finish the installation of Tableau Server.


Faster to clone
Needed to change settings to allow the internet to see the computer.
  Needed to understand the structure of the command line and understanding the responses for each request.
Install gdebi, and then install tableau server package via gdebi wget command – see screenshot below.
Creating an administrator account was manual and you had more control over the settings. It is also much simpler to reset the username and password, as it just needs one command.

Challenges that we came across:

  • Configuring the virtual machine – we needed to re-do this process several times as we kept running into problems, where the solution would be to re-start the computer or to blow the whole virtual machine.
  • A lot of the configuration was to do with the hardware requirements. Depending on how much processing each server was doing on the node would impact the performance of our server. Another Tableau Server on another VM was being installed so at one point that was causing a lot of performance issues for ours.
  • Our server was not completely accessible when we completed the installation because we had not configured the network to be public and therefore only the servers within the node could see our Tableau Server.
  • We did not configure TSM correctly the first time round as we were not able to create an administrator account. Usually, at the end of the TSM initialisation it prompts to create an account. However, for us that did not happen, so we had to go in and manually reset this within Linux using CML.
  • When downloading the package, one of the scripts that we downloaded was corrupted, which meant we had to re-start our server and start from scratch.
  • When entering your password, Linux does not show any characters or indication of it being entered. If you make a mistake, it is harder to correct.
  • Realising that there was two separate IP’s for TSM and Tableau Server.
  • Understanding that the server takes time to reboot – we thought that our server processes had degraded but it was just a matter of waiting.

Resources and links to documentation:

https://onlinehelp.tableau.com/current/server-linux/en-us/config_general.htm – this outlines a step by step guide in installing Tableau Server on both windows and Linux – really good documentation for people who have never dealt with Linux before.

https://onlinehelp.tableau.com/current/guides/everybody-install-linux/en-us/everybody_admin_install_linux.htm – Tableau’s main guide to installing Tableau Server on Linux.

https://kb.tableau.com/articles/howto/downloading-tableau-server-on-linux-installer-packages-with-wget-or-curl – how to download the Tableau package using the wget command.

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