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Troubleshooting Server Backup and Restores


Product(s): Tableau Server
Version(s): All
Last Modified Date: 26 Apr 2016

Article Note: This article is no longer actively maintained by Tableau. We continue to make it available because the information is still valuable, but some steps may vary due to product changes.


This article describes the two most common causes for Tableau Server backup or restore failures that occur, and the associated troubleshooting resources when such a failure occurs. The most common cause is a permissions issue related to the user running the backup commands, and the other most common cause is not enough disk space on the machine to perform the backup.

When and why are backups and restores performed?

First, it is recommended as a best practice as part of any business continuity plan to periodically backup Tableau Server for recovery purposes. The restore of the latest backup is then used to minimize loss of work and server downtime. For the restore to complete successfully, the target installation must have the same configuration of the source installation. As a result, it is imperative to verify a successful restore before making any configuration changes on the new installation.

Second, although during the uninstall process Tableau will create a backup of all data from the installation, it is also highly recommended to perform a manual backup of Tableau Server and copy the file to a safe, offline location. This protects against silent failures during the backup or restore processes when reinstalling or upgrading to a new version of Tableau Server. It also guarantees a safe roll-back path in case it is necessary to return to a previous server version.

For more information on performing Tableau Server backups and performing restores, refer to the Back Up the Tableau Data and Restore from a Backup topics in the Server Help.

Common cause #1: Permissions

As stated previously, most server backup or restore failures occur due to the permission settings of the user executing the backup or restore commands. When a failure occurs, it is recommended to first verify sufficient permissions for the logged in user.

If in doubt of the current user's permission settings, it may be easiest to simply log on to the machine as the Tableau Server Run As User account. When configured correctly, logging on as the Tableau Server Run As User account to execute the backup and restore commands will work since the account already has the correct permissions for control of the Server processes. For more information about the permission settings for the Run As User, refer to the Configure Tableau Server Account article.

To verify the current user has sufficient permissions, follow the below steps, which are a subset of permission requirements taken from the Configure Tableau Server Account article.

Ensure the user executing the commands has permission to log on as a service

Step 1

Log in to the machine on which Tableau Server is installed, using your full administrative rights. 

Step 2

Click the Start  button, and then select Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Local Security Policy.

Step 3

In the Local Security Policy window, under Security Settings, select Local Policies > User Rights Assignments. Right-click Log on as a service, and then Properties.

[inline:ServerRunAsUser19.png="Select Users etc. dialog box"]

Step 4

In the Log on as a service Properties dialog box, click Add User or Group.
ServerRunAsUser19.png

Step 5

In the Select Users, Computers, Service Accounts, or Groups dialog box (the Select Users or Groups dialog box on XP), type the object name to select, and click Check Names. If the account resolves correctly, the name appears underlined.

"Select Users etc. dialog box"

Step 6

Click OK.

Step 7

Repeat steps to add the user to the Allow log on locally policy.

Step 8

Repeat steps to remove the user from the Deny logon locally policy.

Step 9

Close the Local Security Policy window.

You can configure Windows polices, permissions, and settings in myriad combinations. Depending on
your local IT policy and settings, further configuration may be necessary. Some steps may not be required.

Verify permissions on the C:\ drive

The next step is to make sure that the account for the logged in user has the necessary permissions at the root of the C:\ drive.

Step 1

Log in as an administrator to the Windows computer where Tableau Server is installed.

Step 2

Open Computer (My Computer on Windows XP) or Windows Explorer.

Step 3

Right-click Local Disk (C:) and select Properties.

Step 4

In the Local Disk (C:) Properties window, click the Security tab.

Step 5

On the Security tab, click Edit.

Step 6

In the Permissions for Local Disk (C:) dialog box, click Add.

Step 7

In the Select Users, Computers, Service Accounts, or Groups dialog box, type in the account for the user initiating the back up or restore commands. Do not use a group; specify the account with [domain]\[username].

Step 8

Click Check Names to verify that the account resolves (that is, converts to the name and e-mail address, underlined).

Step 9

Click OK.

The name now appears in the Group or user names list in the Permissions for Local Disk (C:) dialog box.

Step 10

In the Permissions for Local Disk (C:) dialog box, select the new name and check the Permissions table to verify that the user account has Read & Execute permissions.

Note: Read & Execute automatically checks the List Folder Contents and Read permissions.

Step 11

When finished, click OK.

Set permissions at the Tableau program folder

The final step is to make sure that the user account has the necessary permissions at the Tableau program folder.

Step 1

Browse to the Tableau folder:

  • C:\Program Files\Tableau

Step 2

Right-click the Tableau folder and select Properties.

Step 3

In the Tableau Properties dialog box, click the Security tab.

Step 4

On the Security tab, click Edit.

Step 5

In the Permissions for Tableau dialog box, click Add.

Step 6

In the Select Users, Computers, Service Accounts, or Groups dialog box, type in the account for the user. Do not use a group; specify the account with [domain]\[username].

Step 7

Click Check Names to verify that the account resolves.

Step 8

Click OK.

Step 9

In the Tableau Properties dialog box, verify that the user account has Modify permissions.

Note: Modify permissions automatically grants all permissions except Full Control and Special Permissions.

Step 10

Click Advanced.

Step 11

In the Advanced Security Settings for Tableau dialog box, click Change Permissions.

Step 12

In the Permission entries list, select the user account and then select the check box for Replace all child object permissions with inheritable permissions from this object.

Step 13

When finished, click OK. Changing these permissions may take a few minutes.

Step 14

Click OK in the Advanced Security Settings for Tableau dialog box.

Step 15

In the Tableau Properties dialog box, click OK.

Common cause #2: Disk space

The other main cause of back up failures is not enough disk space to perform the back up. The amount of space that is required to successfully perform a backup depends on the size of the data stores. Factors such as the number of extracts published, number of users and groups configured and size of the extract database (if being used) will all contribute to the size of the back up. As a general rule of thumb, a back up will require about 20% more space available than the space usage of the following directory and child objects:

  • C:\ProgramData\Tableau\Tableau Server\data for Windows Server 2008R2, Vista, and Windows 7 operating systems
  • C:\Program Files\Tableau\Tableau Server\data for previous operating system versions

It is important to note if the manual back up is not moved to a separate machine, then the disk size required doubles because Tableau Server will also automatically create a back up during uninstallation. If not enough disk space is available, the following options are available to guide in troubleshooting:

Reduce the size required for the Server back up

The size required for the Server backup can be reduced by removing old service log files and remnant repository files. Both clean ups can be performed using the same commands in the same directory, but one command is executed while the server is running while the other command is not.

To begin, click the Start button, and select All Programs Accessories. Right-click Command Prompt, and then select Run as administrator. Then, type the following command:   

  • On a 32-bit machine (previous operating systems): cd “C:\Program Files\Tableau\Tableau Server\[version]\bin”
  • On a 64-bit machine (Windows Server 2008R2, Vista, and Win7 Operating Systems): cd “C:\Program Files (x86)\Tableau\Tableau Server\[version]\bin”

Note: Replace [version] with the version of Tableau you are running.

To clean up remnant repository files, perform the following steps:

Step 1

Type the tabadmin status command to verify the server is running.

Step 2

If the status is stopped, type the tabadmin start command. Verify that the server started successfully by typing the tabadmin status command again.

Step 3

Type the tabadmin cleanup command to delete remnant repository files.

To clean up old service log files, perform the following steps:

Step 1

Type the tabadmin stop command to stop the server. Verify that the server stopped fully by typing the tabadmin status command.

Step 2

Type the tabadmin cleanup command to delete old service log files.

Free enough disk space on the machine for a full back up

If cleaning up the service log files and repository still does not leave enough disk space for a successful back-up, consider increasing the available storage space on the drive, even if it requires you to temporarily move files to another drive.

Point the backup to a temp folder on a larger drive

By default, Tableau Server uses a temp folder located on the C:/ drive to store the tempory files needed to create a Tableau Server backup (.tsbak).  In most cases, this temp folder is located here:
 
C:\ProgramData\Tableau\Tableau Server\data\tabsvc\temp
 
If the disk space on the C:\ drive is full, you can make Tableau Server use a  temp folder in a different directory, and save the final backup (.tsbak) file on a shared drive that has more available disk space. You can change which temp folder Tableau Server uses by adding the -t flag with the tabadmin backup command. The following example uses a shared network drive called H:\temp.

Step 1

Click Start, and then select All Programs > Accessories. Right-click Command Prompt, and select Run as administrator.

Step 2

Type the following command:

  • On a 32-bit machine: cd “C:\Program Files\Tableau\Tableau Server\[version]\bin”
  • On a 64-bit machine: cd “C:\Program Files (x86)\Tableau\Tableau Server\[version]\bin”
Note: Replace [version] with the version of Tableau Server you are running.

Step 3

Type the following commands: 

  • tabadmin stop
  • tabadmin backup "H:\temp\[backupfilename.tsbak]" -d -t H:\temp

Note: Replace [backupfilename.tsbak] with the a name of your choosing.

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