Troubleshooting Tableau Server Backups and Restores

Published: 02 May 2017
Last Modified Date: 27 Sep 2019


How to troubleshoot the most common causes of issues with Tableau Server backups and restores.


Tableau Server


Common Cause #1: Permissions

Most server backup or restore failures occur due to the permissions settings of the user account executing the commands. Set permissions according to Required Run As User Account Settings Note: Make sure to stop Tableau Server before performing the above steps. 

Common Cause #2: Disk Space

Another common cause of backup failures is not having enough disk space to perform the backup.

If not enough disk space is available, try one of the following options: 

Reduce the size required for the backup 

You can reduce the size required for the Tableau Server backup by removing old log files and remnant repository files. 

Important: Running tabadmin cleanup will remove all log files, including those which may be necessary for Tableau Support to assist with troubleshooting if reclaiming disk space does not resolve the issue. We recommend performing tabadmin ziplogs and moving the logs to a safe location prior to running the cleanup command.
  1. Open the command prompt as an administrator, then navigate to the Tableau Server bin folder, located by default at C:\Program Files\Tableau\Tableau Server\[Version]\bin
  2. Enter the following commands to clean up remnant repository files: 
    • tabadmin status 
    • If the status is stopped, type tabadmin start 
    • tabadmin cleanup 
  3. Enter the following commands to clean up log files: 
    • tabadmin stop 
    • tabadmin cleanup

    If cleaning up the service log files and repository does not leave enough disk space for a successful back-up, consider increasing the available storage space by temporarily moving files to another drive. 

    Point the backup to a folder on a larger drive

    (Note: this option is only available on versions 2018.1 and earlier of Tableau Server for Windows.) By default, Tableau Server uses a temp folder on the C:\ drive to store the temporary files for its backup (.tsbak). If the C:\ drive does not have sufficient disk space, you can make Tableau Server use a folder on a different drive, and save the final backup on a drive with more available disk space. The following example uses a shared drive called H:\temp. 
    1. Open a command prompt as an administrator and navigate to the Tableau Server bin folder. 
    2. Type the following commands, and if the path includes a space, use quotes around the full path: 
      • tabadmin stop
      • tabadmin backup C:\temp\backupfilename.tsbak -d -t "H:\temp dir\backup"

    Additional Information

    We recommend as a best practice to periodically backup Tableau Server for recovery purposes. For a backup to successfully restore, the target installation must have the same configuration as the source installation. It is necessary to ensure that a restore was successful before making any configuration changes on a new installation. 

    Although Tableau Server automatically creates a backup during the uninstall process, we recommend performing a manual backup of Tableau Server and copying the file to a safe location prior to uninstall. This protects against failures during the backup or restore process when reinstalling or upgrading. 

    The amount of space required for a backup depends on the size of the data stores, affected by factors such as the number of extracts, number of users and groups and the size of the extract database. As a general rule of thumb, a backup will require about 20% more available space than the space used by the following directory: 

    C:\ProgramData\Tableau\Tableau Server\data 

    Note: If the manual backup is not moved to a separate computer or drive, the disk size required doubles because Tableau Server will also create a backup automatically during uninstallation. 

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