Since the launch of Tableau Prep, we've made it simple to create Tableau Extracts and CSVs from data prep flows. Today, we’re excited to share the next step in our data preparation journey. With the upcoming Tableau 2020.3 release, you can now write prepared data directly to a relational database!

Writing to external databases with Tableau Prep has been a consistent top request from our customers – so we listened. With Tableau 2020.3, writing to external databases will be available to seven relational databases, with more databases planned for future releases. The databases available for the 2020.3 release are SQL Server, Oracle, PostgreSQL, MySQL, Teradata, Snowflake and Amazon Redshift.

Take full advantage of your prepared data anywhere you need it

Do you want to use the cleaned data to run machine-learning models or any other data science use cases? No problem – just load the data to the database that is already connected to your data science tools and you’re all set. Do you want to take advantage of the governance that your organisation has put in place around your database systems? With Tableau Prep writing the output to database tables, you can make use of all the monitoring, auditing, governance and access control your organisation has built around your databases.

Loading data to databases is no longer a complicated task

Traditionally, loading data to databases correctly is a complex, error-prone and time-consuming process. Tableau Prep simplifies the process for both analysts and advanced users alike. Whether you need to create a new table, or replace or append data to an existing table, that task is no longer as daunting. Tableau makes the process visual and direct, so you can ensure the right data is written to the right fields, in the right format to the database.

Have you ever been loading data when suddenly you lose your network connection or the database unexpectedly goes down? You don't want partial data loaded, especially if you're just appending rows. This becomes a worry of the past with our approach to loading the data into a temporary database table first, and only moving it to the destination table upon the completion of the data load. This helps to fully safeguard your data before it’s moved to its permanent location.

Writing to external databases and incremental refreshes are a perfect match

Earlier this year, we introduced incremental refresh for Tableau Prep flows. Now with the ability to write to external databases, you can incrementally load data directly to database tables, reducing data movement and making your Tableau Prep flows even more efficient.

Imagine you have a Tableau Prep flow that reads transaction data from your input data source and loads it into a database table. By combining incremental refreshes with the “Add to existing table” option, you can optimise your flows by appending only newly added rows to your destination table. And you can take this one step further by scheduling this flow in Tableau Prep Conductor to run on a regular basis so you know your data is always up to date.

More visibility, more automation with Data Management

If you use Tableau Server or Tableau Online, you can get a lot more out of the new write to external database capabilities by using Tableau Data Management in your Tableau sites.

Write to database is fully integrated with Tableau Catalog. With this integration, the database tables are immediately included in the lineage and impact analysis, so admins and data stewards can keep track of where the data is going. This data is also available via the Metadata API as well as in the Postgres database, enabling admins to monitor where the data is being written. Finally, any newly created tables are available in the Tableau Server and Tableau Online search, and when connecting to data in both Tableau Desktop and web authoring – making these new tables more easily discoverable and accessible.

With Tableau Prep Conductor, you can schedule and manage your Tableau Prep flows that write to your databases at scale, allowing them to run on a regular basis in a centralised, scalable and reliable server environment, thus ensuring your data is always up to date.

Please note: Beginning with the upcoming 2020.3.1 release, Tableau Prep will retire the option to create outputs in the TDE file format. The TDE format will now be permanently replaced with the Hyper file format, and all flows that create TDE files will need to be updated to create Hyper files instead.

Want more?

Learn more about what else is coming with Tableau 2020.3, and join the pre-release programme to provide valuable feedback that will shape our future releases. We can’t do it without you!