locked
New and edit item very slow when large list has workflow RRS feed

  • Question

  • It appears that the combination of the large number of items and a workflow that is associated with the list is impacting performance to an unacceptable level. For example, it can take a minute or more when "New Item" is clicked in the menu bar to open a new empty item. The details of the testing that has been done so far are included below, along with some specific questions.

    Problem Statement:

    The performance on a SharePoint list with over 2000 items has degraded to the point of being unusable. The problem is manifested when the user clicks New Item, View Item, or Edit Item. Note that view performance is not currently an issue. The view response is acceptable, but response for accessing an existing item or creating a new item is not. The performance only degrades after a workflow has ran against upward of 2000 items .The workflow associated with the list only creates an email notice.

    Testing:

    This is in WSS 3.0

    1. We created a list, called "LIST 1", with 34,000 items with 23 columns, most of which are Single Line of Text, and the rest of which are Number. Versioning is not enabled on the list. There are no indexed columns or filtered views. There are no workflows associated with this list. The performance of this list is acceptable, with New Item and Edit Item opening in 2 to 4 seconds.

    2. We created a list called "LIST 2", with the same number of items and the columns as "LIST 1". Versioning is not enabled on the list. A workflow that runs when an item is saved was created in SharePoint Designer that updates one column in the list item and sends an E-Mail. At initial creation, the list performance was similar to "LIST 1". When many items were edited and saved, and the workflow ran, two findings were observed.

    Finding 1 is that as more items were updated, the performance decreased dramatically as per the following data.

    # of items workflow updated / response time in seconds

    100 / 3.5

    250 / 5.3

    500 / 7.5

    2000 / 78.0

    Finding 2 is that when observing the Item folder for the list in SharePoint Designer, files with zero length and odd names like "1_.000" began to appear.

    3. We created a list called "LIST 3", with the same number of items and the columns as "LIST 1". Versioning is not enabled on the list. A workflow that runs when an item is saved was created in SharePoint Designer that sends an E-Mail, but does not update the item. At initial creation, the list performance was similar to "LIST 1". When many items were edited and saved, and the workflow ran, two findings were observed.

    Finding 1 is that the performance degradation is similar to what was described above, except that the longest response appears to have been around 55 seconds.

    Finding 2 is that when observing the Item folder for the list in SharePoint Designer, there were no zero length files. They only appear to be created when a workflow actually updates an item.

    4. After no activity on the lists overnight, the performance of "LIST 2" and "LIST 3" improved. Items in "LIST 2" were opening in 17 seconds, and items in "LIST 3" were opening in 3 seconds. However, if any item was edited and saved in either list, and the workflow ran, the time to open the item again increased to 55 seconds.

    Question

    We have read Microsoft documentation about working with lists with a large number of items. The documentation suggests that performance issues will manifest in rendering the list views. There isn't much discussion about the performance of list items. Is it reasonable to conclude that a large number of items in a list that has workflows would lead to performance issues in the item behavior (New Item, View Item, Edit Item) rather than the views?

    How can the performance of New Item, View Item, and Edit Item be improved to an acceptable level in a list that has workflows?

    Thursday, June 23, 2011 6:01 PM

All replies

  • Hi rcw613,

     

    Do you have any more info on this, since the original post? I'm also interested in workflows on large lists.
    The implication is it has something to do with the workflow history list.  Perhaps the system wants to check if workflow is running already running (depending on when item created or item updated can trigger the workflow)

    Thanks

    Martin


    Monday, July 11, 2011 3:48 PM
  • How many workflows did you have kicking off concurrently?

    I can imagine updating 100 to 100 items was done programmatically. If that's the case, that may be the issue.  For the test, you could try updating the list items in batches with a pause between in batch for the workflow to kick off.

    RSVP
    Thanks
    Martin

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011 8:27 AM