posted on June 23, 2006 4:29 PM by Kurt

How to speed up alerts in SharePoint

SharePoint 2003 had alerting functionality, whereby a user could subscribe to a list and would get an email alert if anyone changed the list.  Basically, it was useful if you had a document library and you wanted to know when someone posted to it.  I personally found this feature to be annoying at best, but apparently everyone else found it to be a super useful.

Well, now alerts form the basis of Workflow tasks in SharePoint 2007.  And if it's not abundantly clear, I absolutely *love* using workflow in SharePoint.  I thought that Workflow would handle it's own emails, but it turns out that by default it uses two different types of emailing systems:

  1. Code emails: these emails are genrerated directly in the workflow.  An example is an email the user get when a workflow is kicked off.
  2. Task alert emails: these emails are generated via the Alerting system.  An example of this is the alert that user gets when a Task is waiting for him.

To my dismay, there was a distinct difference between these emails: code emails were fast, task emails were dead slow.  Turns out the problem is not confined to Workflow.  By default, alert emails in SharePoint are throttled to being sent every 5 minutes.  For most people, this is apparently acceptable - but for real time demos it's a deal breaker.  I can't wait 5 minutes for SharePoint to send me an alert.

Apparently, there's a way to change this.  Originally, this help comes from David Mann () in the betanews workflow group.  He clued me in that there's a setting in SharePoint that throttles the email.  He didn't remember the command to fix it, but I found that tip here.  Basically run this stsadm command:

stsadm.exe -o setproperty -pn job-immediate-notification -pv [minutes]

I haven't tried setting this lower than 1 minute, so I am not sure whether zero is a valid option, but 1 minute is fast enough for me.  Now both types of email are pretty much instantaneous.  Certainly, a worthwhile setting for anyone expecting SharePoint instantaneous alerts to be really instantaneous.


# re: How to speed up alerts in SharePoint

February 21, 2007 12:46 PM by E. Tweedy
I haven't played with this yet. Do the task assignees have to subscribe to alerts on the designated task list for "task alert e-mails" to work? If so, then it seems like task alerts might not be useful for a large group, and "code e-mails" might work better. Whether the setting is 1 minute or 5, all of the users involved would have to subscribe to alerts on the task list into which the tasks are inserted by the workflow with "immediate" frequency. What's to make them do that?