Migrate your tenant to another data-center (1 of 3)

  • 20 February 2017
  • 8 replies

Since the end of last year Nintex for Office365 is also available in various data-centers around the globe (Europe, Australia, Japan). If you're a new customer you can choose the data-center where your tenant will be hosted. I makes sense to choose a data-center that is close to your location - and that is close to the region where your Office365 tenant is being hosted.

If you already previously created a Nintex for Office365 tenant, this tenant is hosted in the US. But the good news: you can migrate that tenant to another data-center! So in my case I'm located in Germany and my Office365 tenant is hosted in Europe. So each time I access the Workflow-Designer in Office365 I have to make round-trips to the US - a round-trip within Europe would be faster.

The actual migration of the tenant was a no-brainer. Just contact either Nintex or your trusted Nintex Partner of choice and the migration will be prepared and executed in the background. After a couple of days you'll get feedback: your migration was successful!

After the migration comes the publishing

After the migration was completed you are faced with a challenge: all workflows have to be re-published!

The reason for this is the fact, that certain actions are not actually executed within the workflow manager of Office365, but rather they are executed by Nintex-hosted services. Since Office365 does not allow to add custom actions to the workflow-engine (like Nintex is doing in on-premise), this is the only way to extend the workflow-platform.

During the publishing-process of a workflow, there are actually service-calls being added to the actual workflow which is published to the workflow manager. These service-calls point to a certain data-center. So if you created a workflow while the tenant was hosted in the US, these service-calls are pointing to the West-US data-centers. So the workflows will continue to work, but the workflow-manager will still need to make round-trips to the US, even though the tenant is located in Europe.

So to "fix" this you'll have to re-publish all of your workflows. Depending on the version of your Nintex Workflow for Office365 app, you might have to update the app prior to re-publishing, because you need to have at least version 1.0.4 in order to take advantage of the new data-centers.


It's just a matter of overview

That being said - actually re-publishing all workflows doesn't seem to be that easy. If I'm currently looking at my Office365 admin-center I see just about 250 site-collections! Now I would have to go to each site-collection, look for all workflows and re-publish them.

But wait: there is no such overview of all workflows in a site-collection in Office365. And even worst: Nintex Workflow for Office365 is an app, that is being activated at a site-level! So I need to check each site in every site-collection whether the app was deployed there.

But once I get to the workflow-gallery of the site, I should at least get a list of all workflows in that site.

The column "workflow type" suggest that this list should contain site-workflows as well as list-workflows - but that is currently not the case. The workflow-gallery (accessed via the Nintex Workflow for Office365 app) only shows site-workflows. To find all the list-workflows I have to check the workflow-gallery of each list individually. So this "overview" didn't work out as expected.

I will cover how to gain a better overview in the next part.

8 replies

ohhh... I wait with anticipation of the next article, it's like Serial all over again, maybe I'll start a post so we can discussion this post and come up with theories about what the next one will contain ... a post about a post!

Do you feel it's better to have the Nintex Service hosted closer to you or closer to datacentre where SharePoint is located.

Example is SharePoint data located in East Asia, Microsoft gave option to move to Australia but said what would impact cache efficiencies as data would be locked to Aus data centre, with users in all regions (primarily US and AUS).

Other than Forms which are rendered to the user, the workflow runs on it's own schedule (especially in O365 ) - so would there be any noticeable improvement, making the effort worthwhile?

Well, there are three things to consider: forms-UI (designer as well as runtime), workflow-designer and workflow-runtime.

The forms-designer and runtime are mostly interacting with the user - so you would want to have this closer to the user. Forms does interact to some degree with Sharepoint as well, as it will write data to Sharepoint or read data from Sharepoint-lists (eg.g lookup-fields).

The workflow-designer is also interacting with the user, so this should also be rather to close to the user - obvious.

The workflow-runtime is only interacting with Sharepoint. Since Nintex offers more than the out-of-the-box actions offered by SharePoint-Designer these additional actions are hosted by Nintex. The get called from the workflow via the "call webservice-action" provided by the workflow-manager. In turn those actions might access Sharepoint using the client-side-object-model. So there are some heavy ties between the workflow-manager, the Nintex-infrastructure and Sharepoint. So you might want to keep Sharepoint and Nintex as close as possible to avoid any unnecessary delays because of latency and such.

In my case this was an easy call - all our users are located in europe, our Sharepoint tenant is located in europa, so me moved our Nintex tenant to europe as well.

 if only ever case was that straight forwards, I appreciate the response!


what do you actually mean by "data would be locked to Aus data centre"? Currently your data lives in East-Asia, and you have to travel vom US and AUS to East-Asia to access you data. If you would move your tenant to AUS, then at least the access from AUS should be more efficient. I don't know if the access from the US would be affected - would be interessting to know if it would be more efficient to access East-Asia vs AUS from the US.

You might wan to have a look at Azure Storage Latency Test - Azure Speed Test. Although this is not directly Office365 - I think this will still give a clue on what datacenter would give you the best performance. I would check the speed from AUS as well as the US and then measure for e.g. datacenters in East-Asia, AUS and the US to see what would be the best location for your tenant.

Then I would consider moving O365 as well as Nintex to one datacenter.

Thanks for that link, I will certainly look into it further.

With the data centers, as we were using O365 before the AUS data center came online we were provisioned in East Asia, Microsoft gave the option to move tenant to Australia which expired last year, but the stipulation was if we moved Microsoft would not be able to optimise out content to be access from other regions as we were effectively asking for

data sovereignty in aus, and as such we didn't move as we are a global company and want the best experience for all users.

With over 800+ workflows it's a big task to republish all of those. I'm not sure how workflow that are already running are handled in the move. Certainly will continue to consider for our scenario.

Well - the re-publish is definitely a challenge. That's why I wrote this little series, although you'll still need to re-publish the workflows.

As for running workflows: they will continue to call whichever data-center was current at the time the workflow was started. Only new instances will use the new data-center, since this binding is changed during the publishing.

As far as the actual "move" operation is concerned, this shouldn't really affect the running workflows, as the workflow itself is online handled by the workflow-manager, which is part of Office365. All this Nintex tenant-hosting is about the designer and the services offered by Nintex to extend the capabilities.

Another think you might have to consider when moving your tenant: you'll have to re-publish all forms that use a mobile-layout. I didn't cover this in this series (as I so far only focused on workflows, since I don't have any production forms which use mobile-layouts).

BTW: I published