Nintex Workflow Performance Improvement and Load Reduction

Nintex Workflow utilizes the SharePoint workflow engine, which in turn is built on the Windows Workflow Foundation. Like with many aspects of SharePoint, there are certain performance limitations and common errors that can be encountered, not all of which are documented. This document has been compiled to address common issues that we have discovered over time such as workflows taking a long time to process, publish and start, as well as errors such as “Failing to start (retrying)”.

There are a number of different factors which can affect the performance and success of workflows, which are fully outlined. This document provides guidance on identifying, responding to and avoiding these issues.

Download (.PDF): https://community.nintex.com/docs/DOC-1307

1 Contents ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 1
2 Conceptual overview ………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 3
3 Workflow size and performance ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 4
3.1 The workflow takes a long time to start and/or publish ……………………………………………….. 4
3.2 Resources used when a workflow starts …………………………………………………………………….. 5
3.3 Workflows are failing with specific errors …………………………………………………………………… 5
3.4 Architectural considerations ……………………………………………………………………………………… 5
4 Common errors and issues ………………………………………………………………………………………………. 6
4.1 Common error messages ………………………………………………………………………………………….. 6
4.1.1 Cannot find a corresponding human workflow task ID for this task ………………………… 6
4.1.2 This task is currently locked by a running workflow and cannot be edited. ……………… 6
4.1.3 Failed to start (retrying) …………………………………………………………………………………….. 6
4.2 Common issues ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 7
4.2.1 Timeout errors when updating an item. ………………………………………………………………. 7
4.2.2 Multiple workflows accessing/updating an item at the same time …………………………. 8
4.2.3 Actions not displaying correctly in the workflow designer UI (Nintex Workflow 2007) 9
5 Key Nintex Workflow design factors in reducing system load ……………………………………………… 10
5.1 Task list issues and the amount of approval actions used ……………………………………………. 10
5.2 Certain actions have a heavier processing load ………………………………………………………….. 10
5.3 Delay actions (state machine/loops) ………………………………………………………………………… 10
5.4 Amount of concurrent workflow processes running/workflows starting at the same time 11
6 To split or not to split – preliminary considerations before breaking up a large workflow ……… 12
6.1 Increase the time-out of the timer service ………………………………………………………………… 12
6.2 Increase the SharePoint Workflow time-out: …………………………………………………………….. 13
7 Splitting a workflow process into smaller sequential workflows …………………………………………. 14
7.1 Advantages of splitting a workflow into separate sub processes ………………………………….. 14
7.1.1 Avoiding the repetition of a long, complex process …………………………………………….. 14
7.1.2 Ease of troubleshooting …………………………………………………………………………………… 14
Nintex – Workflow performance improvement and load reduction Page 2 of 22
7.1.3 Eliminating time-outs ………………………………………………………………………………………. 14
7.2 Disadvantages ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 15
7.2.1 Understanding your process at a glance …………………………………………………………….. 15
7.3 Approach to splitting………………………………………………………………………………………………. 15
8 Appendix 1 – How the “Commit pending changes” action works and when it is best used …….. 18
8.1 The “Commit pending changes” workflow action: ……………………………………………………… 18
8.1.1 Actions that are processed in the SharePoint batch …………………………………………….. 19
8.1.2 Actions that are processed in the Nintex batch …………………………………………………… 19
8.1.3 Hybrid actions ………………………………………………………………………………………………… 19
9 Appendix 2 – Checking performance on your server ………………………………………………………….. 21

3 responses to “Nintex Workflow Performance Improvement and Load Reduction”

  1. trying to download the pdf, but its showing error “File Galleries Temporarily Disabled
    The site administrator has temporarily disabled the file galleries. ” can you please help or just send me the pdf via email.

  2. Hi Keith,

    Thanks to covering up this Nintex concepts. But the above download link is not working. Please send me a copy of this PDF file to my email id (xxxxxxxx).

    Regards,
    Arun

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