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Workflows and the SharePoint services required to run them

This article applies to the following versions of Nintex Workflow:

  • Nintex Workflow 2013 3.1.1.0 and earlier
  • Nintex Workflow 2010 2.4.1.0 and earlier

The following SharePoint services are required to run a workflow on a Web Front End (WFE) server in a SharePoint farm:

  • Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Web Application
  • Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Workflow Timer Service

Problems can arise if only one service is running. For example, let's say that the SharePoint farm includes two Web Front End (WFE) servers and one application server. The WFE servers are running both services, but the application server is running only the Workflow Timer service. (Application servers typically don't run the Web Application role as doing so would classify the server as a WFE server.)

As declarative workflows run by the SharePoint workflow engine (and hence the Windows Workflow Foundation), Nintex workflows are governed by the functionality of the SharePoint workflow engine. Under normal operations, a workflow is first executed in the World Wide Web Publishing Service (w3wp.exe). After a delay or pause, in which the workflow "sleeps," it wakes up and is then run by the SharePoint Timer Service (the owstimer.exe process).

When w3wp.exe is under excessive load, it postpones the workflow. The Timer Service is then used to the continue the process. SharePoint dictates which Workflow Timer service will run the workflow; the operation can occur on any server running the "Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Workflow Timer Service" service. However, when Nintex Workflow is installed, it only deploys the DLLs required to run workflows to WFE servers--specifically, those servers running the "Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Web Application" service.

Errors occur if the Workflow Timer Service attempts to run a workflow on a server that is not running the “Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Web Application” service. For example, SharePoint may select the Workflow Timer service on the application server.

To fix this issue, either start the “Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Web Application” service on the application server or stop the "Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Workflow Timer Service" service. We recommend stopping the Workflow Timer service for that server so that you don’t force the application server to become a WFE server.

To start or stop services on a server
  1. On the Central Administration Home page, in the System Settings section, click Manage services on server.
  2. If needed, select the server.
  3. On the Services on Server page, click Start or Stop for the desired services.

PLEASE NOTE: If Nintex LazyApproval is permitted for your SharePoint farm, the nintexworkflow2010.wsp solution package must also be deployed to machines in the farm that run the Central Administration Service. This solution deployment ensures that the server has the required Nintex DLLs.

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10 Replies
Not applicable

Re: Workflows and the SharePoint services required to run them

It seems like there would be quite a few cases where you would want the timer service running without the web application service.

Is it possible to specify a single server to run all workflows on?

Or

Is it possible to specify a default server to run workflows after the WFE that kicks it off "sleeps"?

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Not applicable

Re: Workflows and the SharePoint services required to run them

Hi Chris, I've moved your question to the Learn More‌ space so more of the community can see it. Is it possible to specify a single server to run all workflows on? 

Cheers

Em

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fozzz
Nintex Newbie

Re: Workflows and the SharePoint services required to run them

Hi, this article has been marked as "obsolete".

Can you explain why ?

Thx,

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Not applicable

Re: Workflows and the SharePoint services required to run them

Hi, Fouziya LAHJIOUJ​, My understanding is that it's because people are still using the older versions of the products.

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Not applicable

Re: Workflows and the SharePoint services required to run them

Hello Nintex

did anything change on this in the latest versions? I think there are many good reasons to have application servers in a SharePoint farm that run the Timer Service but don't run the Web Application Service (such as dedicated Search servers for example).

So is there any solution to get Nintex workflows (that contain a pause or similar action setting the workflow in a sleep status) running without starting the Web Application service on each server in the farm?

Many thanks

Martin

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sumit_jethwa
Nintex Newbie

Re: Workflows and the SharePoint services required to run them

I wanted to try and clear up some of the questions about this document.

The above document is applicable to:

Nintex Workflow 2013 3.1.1.0 and earlier

  • Nintex Workflow 2010 2.4.1.0 and earlier

As mentioned in the document:

...when Nintex Workflow is installed, it only deploys the DLLs required to run workflows to WFE servers--specifically, those servers running the "Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Web Application" service.

Errors occur if the Workflow Timer Service attempts to run a workflow on a server that is not running the “Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Web Application” service. For example, SharePoint may select the Workflow Timer service on the application server.

In the latest versions of Nintex Workflow, the DLLs required to run Workflows were separated into a Core Solution file that is deployed to all servers in the farm regardless of whether the  "Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Web Application" service is running on the server or not e.g such as a dedicated Search Server.

This was done to address the issue where the Workflow timer Service attempts to run a workflow that did not have the Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Web Application or more specifically that did not have the required DLLs to run Nintex Workflows. 

I hope that helps,

Sumit

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jithin
Nintex Newbie

Re: Workflows and the SharePoint services required to run them

Hello Sumit

We are planning to deploy Nintex Workflow and Forms to our SharePoint 2016 farm. The SharePoint farm is already configured to run on MinRole topology with below servers :-

Server 1 - Application Role

Server 2 - Web Front End Role

Server 3 - Search Server Role

Server 4 - Distribution Cache Server Role

We are planning to introduce another server(Server 5) with "Custom" role. Custom role enables me to run below services which is a prerequisite for Nintex workflow

  • Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Web Application
  • Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Workflow timer service

Below are my queries :-

1. Is the above installation/configuration of Nintex workflow supported?

2. If yes for above, will the Nintex workflow DLLs get installed on all the servers? 

3. Where do I install Nintex forms? Can it be deployed on Web Front End?

Appreciate your quick feedback as we have a customer deployment this week. Thanks

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sumit_jethwa
Nintex Newbie

Re: Workflows and the SharePoint services required to run them

Hi Jiten,

I'd like to discuss this scenario with you, so that I can understand it better and give you the right information.

Could you please send an email to Support@nintex.com and we'll proceed from there.

Sumit

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jithin
Nintex Newbie

Re: Workflows and the SharePoint services required to run them

Hello Sumit

Already created . I have requested a call back to discuss but no response till now.

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