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Move Workflow Manager off Sharepoint Server

    Question

  • I need to get workflow services off of the SharePoint server. I'm planning on using just one Workflow manager. During the initial setup I used the SharePoint servers hostname.

    What happens to running workflows when I unregister the workflow service?

    When moving the workflow manager service, should I join the existing service with the new server and then remove the SharePoint server?  I think if I have to unregister anyway I might now want to join before.

    I know I'll need a different URL.  Should I just unregister the existing URL and register a new one?


    David Jenkins

    Monday, March 27, 2017 6:31 PM

Answers

  • It took some time to build the lab.  Here are some answers:

    Do active workflows fail after removing a server and adding it back the workflow farm?

    Using the Workflow Farm Wizard I removed the only server in the farm.  Workflows were not accessible afterwards.  I then used the wizard to join the existing farm.  Workflows were accessible after and did not lose their associations.

    Are there issues with renaming the URL for Workflow Services?

    I created an CNAME and pointed it at the existing installation.  I ran Register-WorkflowServices with the new URL and the FORCE option.  Workflows were still accessible.  I was able to complete an existing workflow task. 

    Issues with moving Workflow Services to another server?

    I installed Workflow Services 1.0 on another server.  I removed the old server using the Workflow Manager Wizard.  I then added the new server to the farm and changed the IP to the workflow services CNAME.  Workflows worked after DNS updated.


    David Jenkins

    Monday, April 03, 2017 7:51 PM

All replies

  • Rather depends.  See https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj658588(v=office.15)#section4 for information on configuring it.  If you installed workflow manager on the same server that SharePoint is running on it should not have issues.  If it is on a different server you'll need to install the client on the SharePoint server (See above link).  But the workflow manager really only kicks in on 2013 and later Workflows, all 2010 and prior workflows are handled internally by SharePoint.

    Either way, if you unregister the Workflow Manager service, all your 2013 and later versioned workflows (most people don't use them yet) will cease to function, and any items that are currently under a workflow operation may remain stuck and never continue.

    I think to answer your last question, you will have to unregister and reregister regardless of the approach, and look at the section "To configure Workflow Manager on a server that is NOT part of the SharePoint 2013 farm and on which communication takes place by using HTTPS " in the link above.

    Monday, March 27, 2017 7:26 PM
  • We use the 2013 workflows heavily.  This is why I need to move it.  I'm getting timeout errors and it is generally slower than 2010 workflows. 

    David Jenkins

    Monday, March 27, 2017 7:57 PM
  • I see, I assume you have more than one WFE.  So you'd need to create another WFE to replace this one.  Once you've added it, uninstall SharePoint from the server you want to dedicate (after removing it from the farm of course).  That would alleviate much of the drama.  Keep in mind, that you may also find that removing the Workflow server from any load balancer, so that would dedicate all the resources on that WFE to any running tasks, and give you a failover machine if you needed it.  But that would cost a SharePoint license.
    Monday, March 27, 2017 8:04 PM
  • I was hoping to unregister the workflow service then register it with a new URL. My main concern is the existing workflows. I would hope since they are in the database I'd be able to join everything back to the existing DB.


    David Jenkins

    Monday, March 27, 2017 8:07 PM
  • Also because you used the Machine's Hostname in the setup you're going to need to do some fiddling with DNS, or rename the server you are moving out of the farm and name the new one to it.  I assumed that if you have more than one WFE, you've already gotten past this issue, but thought I'd include it with my last answer.
    Monday, March 27, 2017 8:08 PM
  • It's a single server installation.  I did already create a DNS entry for a new hostname and pointed it to the existing server.  I haven't attempted to unregister and register the new name because I didn't want to lose the existing workflows.


    David Jenkins

    Monday, March 27, 2017 8:22 PM
  • Copy-SPActivitiesToWorkflowService looks promising.

    Maybe I can setup a whole new Workflow Farm and copy the existing workflows.  Maybe....   Documentation is light.


    David Jenkins

    Monday, March 27, 2017 8:30 PM
  • Looks like I have to leave the farm in order to add it back!

    https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj193527(v=azure.10).aspx


    When reducing the farm to a single computer, it is important to remove all of the computers from the farm, and add the single computer back.


    David Jenkins

    Monday, March 27, 2017 8:43 PM
  • Anyone else with experience?  I just want to know I'm going to lose my running workflows.  I'd think I'd be able to get them back and working after the move. 

    David Jenkins

    Tuesday, March 28, 2017 6:02 PM
  • It took some time to build the lab.  Here are some answers:

    Do active workflows fail after removing a server and adding it back the workflow farm?

    Using the Workflow Farm Wizard I removed the only server in the farm.  Workflows were not accessible afterwards.  I then used the wizard to join the existing farm.  Workflows were accessible after and did not lose their associations.

    Are there issues with renaming the URL for Workflow Services?

    I created an CNAME and pointed it at the existing installation.  I ran Register-WorkflowServices with the new URL and the FORCE option.  Workflows were still accessible.  I was able to complete an existing workflow task. 

    Issues with moving Workflow Services to another server?

    I installed Workflow Services 1.0 on another server.  I removed the old server using the Workflow Manager Wizard.  I then added the new server to the farm and changed the IP to the workflow services CNAME.  Workflows worked after DNS updated.


    David Jenkins

    Monday, April 03, 2017 7:51 PM
  • Hey David... Thanks for following up on this answer. Very helpful to follow your adventure.

    We the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, with so little, for so long, we are now qualified to do anything, with nothing." ~ Mother Teresa ~

    Friday, August 11, 2017 12:45 PM
  • Thanks I hope it helped.  It's a confusing setup to get used to.

    David Jenkins

    Friday, August 11, 2017 2:01 PM