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Improving Tableau Server Health by Suspending or Disabling Third-Party Software


Published: 09 Jul 2021
Last Modified Date: 18 Aug 2021

Question

How do security and system management tools (Antivirus, Monitoring, Endpoint Protection, Disk Backup, etc) impact Tableau Server health?

Environment

  • Tableau Server
  • Windows
  • Linux
  • Third-party security software including antivirus, disk backup tools, endpoint protection, and monitoring tools

Answer

Possible impacts of security and system management tools on Tableau Server health include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Slower performance of view loads and data connections. See Improving Performance by Using Antivirus Exclusions for additional detail, which applies to any tool that has an impact on system I/O.
  • Port conflicts - some tools use the same ports as Tableau Server processes and can leave Tableau partially or fully unable to communicate effectively across nodes.
  • Issues installing or upgrading Tableau Server can occur when third-party tools are not prevented from scanning Tableau Server.
    • Tableau Server upgrades involve many changes and often even additions to the running processes within Tableau Server--exclusions that are tightly configured for specific processes or directories of a previous version, but not the current one, can lead to unexpected results during or after a Tableau Server upgrade. To avoid this scenario, make maintaining proper third-party tool exclusions a regular part of Tableau Server maintenance, including upgrade checklists.
  • Changes to the third-party tools such as version upgrades, or Group Policies controlling their use in the environment, can also cause issues with Tableau products where there was previously no visible impact on the system. To mitigate this scenario, make maintaining proper third-party tool exclusions a regular part of Tableau Server maintenance.

Additional Information

Tableau Technical Support may request fully disabling or even temporarily uninstalling software that is suspected, based on collected evidence including product logs and system traces, to be impacting Tableau Server for diagnostic purposes, ideally on a test environment if the issue can be reproduced there. 

Understand that I/O may be impacted by various factors despite proper exclusions in place for any scanning/security tool; I/O impacting factors include but are not limited to hardware, hardware configuration, third-party software, file system, system architecture, and more. If exclusions are confirmed to be in place and fully disabling scans is not an option, but Tableau Server is still having issues with stability or performance (typically manifesting as disk queue or latency concerns), the answer may involve upgrading the disks to accommodate the increased I/O needs of a system with both Tableau Server and an iops-intensive security tool installed. 

Tableau is unable to advise on the specifics of third-party tools, as Tableau Software is not affiliated or partnered with the creators of security and disk management software, and these vendors do not communicate details of their product updates to Tableau. Therefore, keeping the entire Tableau Server install directory (including all subfolders, files, and executables) excluded from third-party scans is the surest way to keep these tools from interfering with normal Tableau Server operations, since Tableau cannot control how other tools interact with the product. An update to the definitions or software by any third-party tool that requires exclusions for Tableau could possibly trigger a system behavior change that impacts the end-user experience.
 
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