What Is the Different Type of Data Connection Available in Tableau?


Angela Bailey

In Tableau, there are various types of data connections available to connect and analyze your data. Each type of connection has its own advantages and unique features. Let’s explore the different types of data connections in Tableau:

1. Live Connection

A live connection in Tableau allows you to connect directly to your data source without importing the data into Tableau. This means that any changes made to the data source will be reflected immediately in your Tableau workbook. Live connections are ideal when you want to work with real-time or frequently updated data.

Advantages of Live Connection:

  • Real-time analysis: With a live connection, you can analyze and visualize the most up-to-date data without any delays.
  • Large dataset support: Live connections are suitable for large datasets as they don’t require importing all the data into Tableau.

2. Extract Connection

An extract connection involves importing a subset or entire dataset from a data source into Tableau’s proprietary format called an extract (.tde or .hyper). Extracts can be created by applying various filters, aggregations, and calculations to optimize performance and reduce file size.

Advantages of Extract Connection:

  • Faster performance: Extracts are optimized for faster querying and analysis as they only contain relevant subsets of data.
  • Offline access: Extracts allow you to work offline or on a local machine without requiring a live connection to the original data source.

3. Published Data Source

A published data source is a shared resource that allows multiple users to connect to and use the same data source. It provides a centralized and controlled way of accessing data across an organization. Published data sources can be created from live connections or extracts.

Advantages of Published Data Source:

  • Data consistency: By using a published data source, all users will have access to the same version of the data, ensuring consistency in analysis and reporting.
  • Data governance: Published data sources allow administrators to manage permissions, access controls, and ensure data security.

4. Other Connection Types

In addition to live connections, extracts, and published data sources, Tableau also supports other connection types such as:

  • Cloud-based connections: Tableau can connect to various cloud-based databases and platforms like Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery, or Microsoft Azure SQL Database.
  • Web Data Connector: This connection type allows you to connect to web-based APIs or other online data sources by creating custom connectors using HTML and JavaScript.

In conclusion, Tableau offers a range of data connection options to suit different needs. Whether you prefer real-time analysis with a live connection or optimized performance with an extract connection, Tableau provides flexibility in connecting to various types of data sources for effective data analysis and visualization.

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