New in Workflows: Low-Latency Flows Can Now Run Up to 10 Times Faster

The Workflows team released a new feature to help you build workflows and automatons that execute consistently fast. In this blog post, you will learn about new low-latency flows.

What is a low-latency flow? 

The new Low-latency feature allows eligible flows to consistently run up to 10 times faster.

Every workflow requires a certain time to complete. The total time required is composed of two factors: 

  1. Time spent waiting for the flow to execute (queuing)
  2. Actual execution time

While the execution time of a flow generally remains constant from one execution to the next, the queuing time depends on a number of factors: 

  • Latency from the network and limitations of the system that executes a flow
  • Latency from sharing execution resources with other flows
    • These other flows may be processing queries involving large amounts of data, or complex flow configurations

For certain eligible flows, the new Low-latency feature enables consistent execution times by running flows that meet a specific set of criteria separately from those flows that don’t. 

Workflows routes low-latency flows to an optimized processing queue with minimal wait times and increased resource availability. These flows execute at a higher velocity compared to flows that run in standard mode or flows that get throttled. 

For example, the following graphic illustrates how flow execution queues looked before the release of the Low-latency feature:

workflows low latency diagram1Without low-latency queue

Flows that would be eligible for low-latency mode (flows 7, 8, 11, 13, and 14) are being held up by large and resource-intensive flows. These low-latency flows must wait until these longer-duration flows are complete.

With the new Low-latency feature, the flow execution queues would look like the following:

workflows low latency diagram2With low-latency queue

Workflows moves all the low-latency eligible flows into their own queue, removing them from the constraint of being behind large or resource-intensive flows in the queue. The low-latency flows execute at a higher and more consistent velocity, improving your business processes.

If you like pictures, here is another real-world graphic that explains how low-latency flows work: 
workflows low latency diagram3Before and after low-latency queue

A low-latency queue is like an HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lane that remains fast when the regular lanes slow down with traffic.

What flows are eligible for low-latency? 

Most workflows can be eligible for low-latency. You don’t need to do anything differently. Workflows will automatically move eligible flows to the low-latency queue. 

The Flow History view will show a green lightning icon under Details if a flow was executed in a low-latency mode:

workflows_low_latency_flow_history.png (970×954)Flow history

All Workflows function cards are eligible for use in flows executing in low-latency mode. But there are exceptions where the execution of the function involves:

  • Large data size
  • Calling a helper flow
  • Looping and recursion
  • Table operations

To learn more about low-latency flows and detailed eligibility criteria: 

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