Add Tableau Server as a BI Source

Before version V R5 (5.9.x), Tableau sources were added to Alation using the Tableau Legacy framework.

Release V R5 (5.9.x) introduced the Generic BI Model V2 (GBM V2), which is an improved framework for cataloging BI Server sources that is intended to provide more features and a better catalog user experience. From version 5.9.x, new Tableau server sources can be added to Alation using the GBM V2 if it is enabled on the Alation instance.


From version 2020.3, GBM V2 is enabled by default, and the Tableau Legacy framework cannot be used to create new Tableau sources. New Tableau sources can be added using the GBM V2 or the custom connector framework.

When Alation extracts metadata from a BI Server source, it maps the BI Server objects onto Alation objects in order to create their representation in the catalog. The Generic BI Model V2 is an internal object-to-object mapping model at the foundation of BI Server metadata extraction and lineage. This new model is “generic” in the sense that it is shared by all BI Server sources in Alation and is not Tableau-specific, which is a difference from the Legacy Tableau model from previous releases. The transition to a uniform model for all sources of BI Server type allows Alation to support more features for all of them and to internally maintain a more robust codebase for BI source cataloging.

With the Generic BI Model V2, Tableau sources get a remake of the catalog pages, a more straightforward configuration flow, a number of additional parameters in Settings, and permission-managed custom fields. Custom field permissions functionality is not available in the Legacy Tableau framework.

Note that with the introduction of this functionality, all existing Tableau sources on instances that are upgraded to 5.9.x or later remain fully functional as Alation continues to support the Legacy Tableau framework for existing sources.

You can enable the Generic BI Model by setting the dedicated feature flags with the alation_conf command. When enabled, it affects new Tableau sources that you add to the catalog. The existing Tableau sources that were added on the Legacy framework can be migrated to the Generic BI Model.