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Tableau architecture shows that Desktop connects to tableau server (using gateway) and then to data server which is on tableau server. My question is do tableau client has to talk to tableau server? Can't I just install tableau desktop and connect to required database (even hosted on cloud)?


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  • There are multiple approaches for connecting to data in Tableau.

  • Without Tableau Server being involved at all, Tableau Desktop can indeed connect directly to a database and this is the main approach.

  • Tableau Server can also be chosen to be used as an effective proxy to your database, and have multiple desktop and server clients connect that way. There are advantages for governance and performance to that approach in some cases.

  • You can mix and match approaches for different data sources, and there are some other middle ground approaches such as to store an extract on Tableau Server, which acts conceptually like too fast read-only materialized view which you can then refresh on a schedule of your choices.

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