This page provides you with instructions on how to extract data from Amazon S3 CSV and analyze it in Tableau. (If the mechanics of extracting data from Amazon S3 CSV seem too complex or difficult to maintain, check out Stitch, which can do all the heavy lifting for you in just a few clicks.)
What is Amazon S3?
Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) provides cloud-based object storage through a web service interface. You can use S3 to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web. S3 objects, which may be structured in any way, are stored in resources called buckets. One common use is to store files in comma-separated values (CSV) format, in which each record consists of multiple values separated by commas.
What is Tableau?
Tableau is one of the world's most popular analysis platforms. The software helps companies model, explore, and visualize their data. It also offers cloud capabilities that allow analyses to be shared via the web or company intranets, and its offerings are available as both installed software and as a SaaS platform. Tableau is widely known for its robust and flexible visualization capabilities, which include dozens of specialized chart types.
In addition to its business software, Tableau also offers a free product called Tableau Public for analyzing open data sets. If you're new to Tableau, this offering is a great way to experience Tableau's capabilities at no cost and share your work publicly.
Getting CSV data out of S3
AWS has both a REST API and command-line utilities that you can use to get at resources stored in the platform. To retrieve objects you need to know the object and host names, as well as your AWS authorization information.
Preparing CSV data
If you don't already have a data structure in which to store the data you retrieve, you'll have to create a schema for your data tables. Then, for each value in each table, you'll need to identify a predefined datatype (INTEGER, DATETIME, etc.) and build a table that can receive them.
Loading data into Tableau
Analyzing data in Tableau requires putting it into a format that Tableau can read. Depending on the data source, you may have options for achieving this goal, but the best practice among most businesses is to build a data warehouse that contains the data, and then connect that data warehouse to Tableau.
Tableau provides an easy-to-use Connect menu that allows you to connect data from flat files, direct data sources, and data warehouses. In most cases, connecting these sources is simply a matter of creating and providing credentials to the relevant services.
Once the data is connected, Tableau offers an option for locally caching your data to speed up queries. This can make a big difference when working with slower database platforms or flat files, but is typically not necessary when using a scalable data warehouse platform. Tableau's flexibility and speed in these areas are among its major differentiators in the industry.
Analyzing data in Tableau
Tableau's report-building interface may seem intimidating at first, but it's one of the most powerful and intuitive analytics UIs on the market. Once you understand its workflow, it offers fast and nearly limitless options for building reports and dashboards.
If you're familiar with Pivot Tables in Excel, the Tableau report building experience may feel somewhat familiar. The process involves selecting the rows and columns desired in the resulting data set, along with the aggregate functions used to populate the data cells. Users can also specify filters to be applied to the data and choose a visualization type to use for the report.
You can learn how to build a report from scratch for free (although a sign-in is required) from the Tableau documentation.
From Amazon S3 CSV to your data warehouse: An easier solution
As mentioned earlier, the best practice for analyzing Amazon S3 CSV data in Tableau is to store that data inside a data warehousing platform alongside data from your other databases and third-party sources. You can find instructions for doing these extractions for leading warehouses on our sister sites Amazon S3 CSV to Redshift, Amazon S3 CSV to BigQuery, Amazon S3 CSV to Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Amazon S3 CSV to PostgreSQL, Amazon S3 CSV to Panoply, and Amazon S3 CSV to Snowflake.
Easier yet, however, is using a solution that does all that work for you. Products like Stitch were built to move data from Amazon S3 CSV to Tableau automatically. With just a few clicks, Stitch starts extracting your Amazon S3 CSV data via the API, structuring it in a way that is optimized for analysis, and inserting that data into a data warehouse that can be easily accessed and analyzed by Tableau.