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Current situation: We have a SP farm (2016) with only 2 servers (app and database). It has 30 site collections and each collection cca 25 document libraries. Total amount of data in these site collections (in a single content db) is around 700 GB. And we use SharePoint 2013 workflows.

Problem: Lately, users experience enormous degradation of performance when they start workflows or try to upload documents. And it doesn't happen every day, there are days when everything works fine.

I don't see any problems on application server, so my doubt is the database. We haven't found any limitations on allowed number of workflows on the SP server, currently, but we have 90000 sharepoint 2013 workflows that are still in "Started" state. Could that number of running workflows be the problem?

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Workflow limitations are listed in this article: Workflow limits. As said in this article, 15 is the maximum number of workflows allowed to be executing against a content database at the same time, excluding instances that are running in the timer service. When this threshold is reached, new requests to activate workflows will be queued to be run by the workflow timer service later. So, your 90000 "started" workflows may have influence on your SharePoint server performance. And also, your farm seems small according to the amount of content in your farm.

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The Official Documentation states that content databases shouldn’t exceed 200GB unless your database storage subsystem’s performance is quite high.

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  • That documentation was written when 10K RPM disks were common. It doesn't take into account modern NVMe/Flash storage and the guidance is largely irrelevant -- at this point, it is only valuable for RTO/RPO -- how fast can you restore this database and does that meet your time to recovery requirements? Mar 3 at 15:51
  • The documentation also specifically mentions you can go higher as long as certain IOPS are met (assuming by NVMe/Flash/etc. storage and not 10k RPM hard disks). The questioner doesn't mention what the storage is for the SQL Server. I was just adding a possible cause to the performance problem the questioner was experiencing.
    – Greg W
    Mar 3 at 20:34

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