Tableau Web Data Connector

Allow your Business Analysts, Energy Managers, Finance Managers, and IT professionals to use Tableau to visualize Niagara data
Tableau Web Data Connector Screenshot

$300

Overview

The Tableau Web Data Connector is a module that allows your Niagara station to receive Web Data Connector requests from Tableau.

Thousands of Business Analysts, Energy Managers, Finance Managers, and IT professionals use Tableau to visualize data in the enterprise. The NiagaraMods Tableau Web Data Connector gives them instant connectivity to your existing Niagara histories.

Visualize Your Station Data With Tableau

Many organizations have invested significant amounts of time and resources into using Tableau to visualize a variety of enterprise data. Until now, the answer to the question “Can we pull BAS data in to Tableau?” has often been “No,” or if “Yes” it involves contracting an expensive third-party developer to create a middleware solution that typically includes exporting data to a separate service and using Tableau to access that dataset.
With the Tableau Web Data Connector you can provide access to your data in an efficient and familiar manner. Just drop a TableauExt component on your pre-existing history and your data will be open for business.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a free trial offer?

Yes. Simply download and install the module on your system.

An unlicensed/trial version of the Tableau Web Data Connector allows you to make one history available as a web data connector. If you need a more thorough trial to test your speicifc environment get in touch with us and we can discuss additional options.

Are there any point/history limits?

No. A fully licensed version of the Tableau Web Data Connector puts no limits on the amount of histories.

Unlicensed/trial copies of the module limit users to maximum of 1 history.

Is the data encrypted?
Yes. If your station is accessed over HTTPS, the data sent back to Tableau will be encrypted.
How do I select which histories are available to Tableau?
You can make histories available to Tableau by dragging the TableauExt under point with the history extension in your Nav Tree - similarly to how you would add a History or Proxy extension to a point. Detailed instructions can be found in the Niagara Setup section
Can I change the names of the histories that are sent to Tableau?
Yes. The TableauExt includes a property called "Name Override" that will use the name you specify instead of the history name when data is sent.
How do Tableau users access Niagara Histories?
The user will create a New Web Data Connection in Tableau. When prompted for a URL they should use https://[your-station-ip-or-host]/nmodstableau. All of the Niagara histories with TableauExt will be imported in to Tableau as data tables. Detailed instructions can be found in the Connecting with Tableau section
Will the Tableau Web Data Connector work with a VPN/inbound firewall?
Yes, if the user connecting through Tableau is on the same network or connected through the same VPN.
Why are there security warnings in the Application Director when I start my station?

Because Tableau desktop application does not support the login system used for Niagara stations, the Tableau Web Data Connector module requires a special privilege in Niagara called UNAUTHENTICATED_ACCESS. This allows it to serve requests to users who have not logged in to the station.

To keep station data secure, a custom authentication mechanism is in place for the Tableau Web Data connector that protects your station data and works with the Tableau desktop application. An additional benefit of this method is that it allows you to give users access to Tableau data without giving them Niagara station logins and providing additional access to your system.

The only data served to users who are not logged in is a login screen. None of your station's data is accessible without having the proper login credentials. Users who login with the custom method only have access to the history data that you've made available to Tableau. They have no other rights to the system and cannot login in to the station with their credentials. The entire process and the authentication mechanism is explained in more detail in the Niagara Setup section.

Which versions of Niagara does the Tableau Web Data Connector support?
The module supports Niagara 4.6 and above.
Is Niagara Webhooks available for Niagara AX?
No. At this time there are no plans to support Niagara AX.

Niagara Setup

Before following along, make sure that you download, install, and (optionally) license Tableau Web Data Connector.

  1. Open the Tableau Web Data Connector palette (nmodstableau) in Workbench and connect to your station.
  2. If you have installed the Tableau WDC to your station, it is active and ready to serve requests.
  3. User Authorization

  4. Users connecting with Tableau will be prompted for a username and password before they can access your history data. These credentials are specific to the Tableau WDC and independent of your station/platform setup. By default they are set to:

    Username: tableau
    Password: nmods123

    It is strongly recommended to change the default credentials to secure your data.

  5. To change the default login credentials, drag the TableauAuthorization component from the palette on to your Config > Services folder in your station. This will tell the Tableau WDC to use a custom username and password for authorization.
  6. Double-click the TableauAuthorization component in your station to open its Property Sheet. Set your desired username and password, then save.
  7. History/Point Setup

  8. By default, none of your existing Niagara histories will be available in Tableau right away. You must explicitly allow access to a history by dragging the TableauExt to the point whose history you want to make available. The TableauExt should be right next to the history extension on the point. Only points with a history extension and a TableauExt will be visible to Tableau users.

    In the example above, the RampTest point has a NumericInterval history extension and a TableauExt. Its entire history will be available to users who connect to the Tableau Web Data Connector with Tableau. The SineWave also has a NumericInterval history extension but does not include a TableauExt and therefore will not show up as a data source in Tableau.

Providing Access to Tableau Users

After you've setup your histories for access, you can provide Tableau users with a web data connector URL. The web data connector URL is https://[your_stations_host]/nmodstableau. Replace [your_stations_host] with your station's domain name, host name, or IP address. It should be the same thing you use to access the station via a web browser. If your station is not using SSL, be sure to change https to http.

For example, if your station was accessed via the local IP address 192.168.1.100, the Tableau web data connector URL would be https://192.168.1.100/nmodstableau.

Tips

  • Don't forget to include the username and password that you setup in step #5 with the web data connector URL when providing it to Tableau users.
  • Remember that the same networking rules that apply to your station's URL apply to the web data connector URL. If you are using a local IP address, or one that requires a VPN, the Tableau user will need to be on the same network or connected via a VPN to access the data in Tableau.
  • If you want to test the connection and data in Tableau yourself, you can download a free trial from tableau.com. After you've installed Tableau, follow the instructions in the Connecting with Tableau section.

HTTPS/SSL Notes

If you are using a self-signed Tridium certificate, Tableau may reject it because it is untrusted. To prevent this and continue to use HTTP/SSL you may have install a trusted certificate. These can be purchased online or created for free at Let's Encrypt. If you do not wish to do this, you can enable "HTTP" in the station's WebService component and make sure to instruct your Tableau users to use "http" in their web data connector URL instead of "https".

Connecting with Tableau

  1. Open Tableau. On the Connect page, under "To a Server", click the "More..." link. Choose "Web Data Connector" from the list.
  2. Enter the Web Data Connector URL in the text box, hit enter.
  3. Enter your username and password and click the "Connect" button. Tableau will now begin connecting with Niagara.
  4. When the querying process is complete, a connections window will appear with your tables on the left. Click on a table and select the "Update Now" button on the right.
  5. You should see your Niagara data come in to Tableau.

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