6 Pros And Cons Of Tableau Data Extracts V/S Live Connections

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In the world of Data Analytics and Visualisation, the main goal is extracting insights from raw data. To derive meaningful results, you have to connect and interact with data from many sources. Businesses around the world use a tool like Tableau to get this job done. One of the most powerful tools in this domain, Tableau offers two ways to interact with data.

Join us as we unveil the meaning of these two methods. By navigating through the pros and cons of each method, you will realise the true potential of data visualisation.

Let's get started!

What are Data Extracts?

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In simple words, Tableau creates a condensed version of data called data extracts. They are stored separately from the original source. These data extracts are smaller in size as they only contain data required for visualisation.

Pros of Data Extracts

Flexible Data Modelling: You get more power to customise data extracts. Through this mechanism, you can perform the following actions.

Creating calculated fields

Performing custom calculations

Defining hierarchies within the extract

Enhanced Security and Data Governance: Extracts provide a layer of security for your data. Through its encryption, you can protect your data with a password while sharing it with external parties. This capability helps you in cases where you are strictly expected to comply with privacy regulations.

Local availability: Data extracts can be locally stored on your system. You can work on them without connecting to the original source. As you can manipulate and shape data without an internet connection, data extracts provide flexibility of use.

Cons of Data Extracts

Data Latency: As the extracts are locally available, you can expect data latency. To reflect the latest information in your insights and visualisations, you will have to refresh the extracts. This results in a significant delay between the times when data was changed in the original source and when it was updated in the extract.

Complex Extract Creation: The process of creating extracts requires more steps than a live connection. Beginners might find it complex to perform the following tasks for extract creation.

Defining data connection settings

Selecting data fields

Configuring filters

Managing data refresh schedules

Data Duplication: Extracts are stored locally. If you don't refresh them frequently, discrepancies could occur with the original source. This leads to confusion and unreliable analysis.

What are Live Connections?

Unlike data extracts, live connections are dynamic. Through them, you can interact with data in real time. When you establish a live connection, Tableau retrieves data from the source whenever you interact with the visualisation.

Pros of Live Connections

Reliable Analysis: As you're always working with real-time data from the original source, the generated analysis is reliable. Any changes in the source are instantly reflected in the visualisation.

Centralised Data Governance: Tableau establishes a direct connection to the data source. The access controls and security protocols of the source are enforced by Tableau. Thus, you can maintain centralised security protocols and governance.

Real-time Collaboration: Live connections allows multiple users to work with the same data source. They can access and interact with the visualisations in real time.

Cons of Live Connections

Strain on Data Source: You are not recommended to use a data source extensively. This can strain the source because of repeated requests. Others accessing the same source could observe decreased performance.

Compatibility Concerns: Tableau and the data source must run on the latest updates. The versions they are operating on must be compatible with each other. Any update on Tableau requires changes in the data source as well.

Limited Data Shaping: Unlike extracts, live connections do not allow customisations. You may have to perform calculations and transformations in the source before visualising in Tableau.

Learn more from a Data Science CourseĀ 

If your business requires insights from real-time data, work with "live connections." However, "data extract" is your to-go mechanism if offline availability is your priority. Learn more about it by taking up a Data Science course Imarticus Learning offers many courses from top educators to make you job ready. Explore them here!

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