Starting WF in a Parallel Action

I'm trying to start the same Workflow on 10 different documents at the same time.  I thought this would be a perfect use of the Parallel Action.  I created a 10-branch action and in each I created For-Each loops.  And each loop is processing a different collection of Document IDs.  Review the Parallel Action attached file.  Each loop inside each branch is processing a different collection and each branch has its own set of variables.  Nothing is being shared between the branches. 

Each loop is calling the workflow.asmx service and using the StartWorkflowOnListItem web method.  See attached image for web service call.

What appears to be happening is each document's workflow is being started in series (one-at-a-time), instead of in parallel (all 10 at the same time).  And then due to the volume of documents it is trying to process, the WF times out and produces an Error Occurred.

I consciously removed the option in the WF to auto-start when the document is uploaded to the library because there were so many documents uploaded at the same time and all documents were trying to start the WF on itself and most of them would fail due to timeout.  That's why I came up with this design.

Without the parallel action, the WFs do start on all the documents....  eventually.  But it took a long time to start each one individually.  That is why I thought of the parallel action - hoping we could get some WFs to start at the same time.

Is there something wrong with my logic in calling this web service in each branch of the parallel action all at the same time?  Or have each parallel branch loop through a collection of Document IDs? 

Thanks in advance for any help or assistance.

Let me know if you need any more information

Nintex Workflow for SharePoint 2016 


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2 Replies

Re: Starting WF in a Parallel Action

Hi Chris,

although I don't get the meaning of your "Run If" actions inside each branch, I do not see anything wrong in your workflow design.

I rather think the problem is that you may be overloading the nintex webservice. Some questions:

What is the workflow doing that you are starting on each document? (Could be taking quite long to start)

Can you show us the exact error your are receiving?

Did you activate error handling inside your call web service action? What is the error text?

Are you able to inspect the ULS logs to see if a more meaningful error is logged there?



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Nintex Employee
Nintex Employee

Re: Starting WF in a Parallel Action

I would add to that, that SharePoint will eventually have an issue with so many workflows trying to start so quickly.  I believe out of the box, SharePoint has a limit of 15 workflows executing at the same time.  Now this sounds like a bad limitation, but when most workflows don't do all that much but wait, that's not considered executing.  Since you're starting a bunch of workflows at the same time, it's possible that they are all executing something at the same time, and SharePoint is having an issue with it and is timing out the workflow start event.


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