Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Email notifications for failed Tableau extracts using Pentaho

Our Tableau server has (at the moment) 28 sites spread over as many departments. Newer (v8+) versions of Tableau Server do a better job of notifying if a workbook failed when logged in, but there still isn't a good way to get them pushed out. Site Admins can look at the system dashboards to see failed extracts, but that doesn't help users who only publish.

I was  getting sick and tired of sending people email saying "your extract keeps failing because of X. Please fix it or I will disable it." Cutting down on these failed extracts becomes especially important when they hit the backgrounder.querylimit (default is 2 hours), which means they occupied one of the backgrounders for 2 hours with nothing to show for it. I have a couple dashboards that tell me about chronic offenders, but the single most effective tool has been sending automatic notifications to the owner of a workbook or datasource when it fails. 

To accomplish this I used Pentaho Data Integration to:

  1. Query the internal Tableau Server database to find failed extracts and the owner.
  2. Email the owner.
  3. See your failed extracts diminish. 
The SQL looks for the last hour, so you will need to adjust that if you plan to run on a different schedule. 

The Pentaho Transform is available here.

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