Nov 11, 2020 08:35 PM
As someone who was previously using a lot of Airtable to Airtable automation through Zapier I jumped on the new built in Airtable Automation features. However I’m now having issues where I can’t create any new automations due to exceeding the maximum number of automations for the base. I can’t find any information on what the maximum amount actually is or if there is an option to increase this.
I love this feature but I’m now at a dead end where I can’t use it further, I can’t see how to increase my usage and I can’t see how much this has been exceeded by.
Any help from the community or from the Airtable team is greatly appreciated.
Nov 12, 2020 02:45 AM
If i remember correctly, I think that limit is 25 automations per base. I don’t think there is a way to increase this (maybe on Enterprise plans) but i guess emailing Airtable support would be the way to go if you want 100% definitive answer :slightly_smiling_face:
Nov 12, 2020 06:44 AM
Airtable has created a harsh and silly brick wall to a deep customer dependency and reliable pathway to get work done. This constraint raises the total cost of ownership while forcing users to create complicated and often brittle solutions to get work done.
Bad Airtable, bad.
If you want to endear customers to your platform, find ways to eliminate surprises unless said surprise is a free fruit basket.
Commentary: Automation Optimization - It’s a Thing
No one ever discusses or ponders their data model, information architecture, or process automation in the context of optimizing such actions. I will bet, there are ways to build your actions in a way that could overcome this constraint. With power like Airtable event handlers and script automations also comes some responsibility to be prudent and smart.
@Marko.Petrovic mentioned the raw limit of 25 automations which I also don’t know off the top of my head, but I do know that automations can be “overloaded” much the way script functions can be designed to perform multiple computations.
Last week an Airtable client hit this exact brick wall; we took 11 separate automations and created a single agile automation that addressed all 11 actions.
Aggregating action processes is one dimension of automation optimization; there is also the number of times an automation fires and a variety of ways to streamline the pace.
Nov 12, 2020 07:11 AM
Just to confirm number of automations per base, it is 25.
If you’d like, you can add up to 25 automations to a base. Additionally, you can create up to 25 actions in one automation. Where applicable, an action can use outputs from previous actions in the same automation.
It can be found on this link:
Nov 18, 2020 04:00 PM
Thanks for the responses. I was a bit annoyed about this but now I’m actually livid. Airtable has put a separate limit on the number of automation runs (which was never listed anywhere when I first started using the automation tool) and now all my automations have stopped running for the past week now. Unlike other programs, Airtable has not sent any notifications to me to let me know the automations haven’t run and it’s now screwed up workflows for both myself and businesses that I work with.
Love airable but someone needs to get this sorted asap and if the automations cannot scale with a base then don’t offer them at all.
Sep 12, 2021 07:30 AM
Discovered this lovely surprise today as well. Anyone knows if the limit can be increased anyhow?
Yet another reason for us to migrate to NocoDB as soon as possible.
Sep 13, 2021 04:41 PM
Yes - every client of mine that has asked for a doubling of the limit has been granted this request. Contact support.
Sep 13, 2021 11:16 PM
Well, that guy is either lying or misinformed then - as he’s confirmed me the limit cannot be lifted. (or maybe we’d need an Enterprise account, but then he should have told me so)
Sep 13, 2021 11:24 PM
I asked and was told directly I needed to have an enterprise account for them to raise the limit.
@Bill.French are all those clients enterprise level?
Sep 14, 2021 07:36 AM
Yes, I believe they are enterprise accounts. But, as Phil said, “he’d be happy to help”, but yet provides no help.
Indeed, it’s very possible that they were granting some pro accounts with additional actions but have since stopped that policy. And I get it - they’re being cautious about compute resources and costs.
Here’s a fact though - if you are using a $24 and need more than 25 automations, you are free to use Integromat and Zapier’s free tiers.
I see a lot of systems that are designed in ways that are woefully inefficient in terms of the data model and the perceived automation processes required. Is it possible your solution could be optimized?
Lastly, Phil says…
create up to 25 actions in one automation…
But, in practice, keeping all those actions under the CPU time ceiling is pretty difficult, so I see that as a potentially bad idea.
Sep 14, 2021 07:45 AM
I think the CPU time ceiling only applies to scripting actions. Plus, the time limit is per action—each scripting action starts off with a clean slate—the time spent on prior actions doesn’t matter. I’ve had an automation run that can take a couple of minutes to complete (mostly waiting on a third party service) and it does not error out due to time limits.
Sep 14, 2021 08:23 AM
Precisely my point. Script actions are where the vast majority of scripting is being requested and developed. My clients (and others) are attempting [increasingly] to put distance between them and the calamities associated with Zapier. Ergo, it’s a constraint worthy of consideration in everything we develop. :winking_face:
Sep 14, 2021 08:57 AM
If the time limit is per action, one action could timeout and break the whole automation (I assume other actions wouldn’t be executed), which could leave you in a state of “half-done-things” and break a lot of other things afterwards.
Sep 14, 2021 08:58 AM
What do you mean regarding Zapier? I’ve started using it seriously only recently and would love some insight on this.
Sep 14, 2021 09:03 AM
Well, no luck getting more automations for us. But the workaround mentioned is great for some use cases. (using a synced base to run external automations, like sending emails/messages)
Sep 14, 2021 09:06 AM
Well, I guess you did hear about the big disaster with Zapier a week ago last Thursday when almost every Zap started to fail. Recovery took quite a while and any company heavily dependent upon zaps running in a timely fashion were essentially put out of business for a day or so. Sometimes interrupts of service are innocuous - that one was significant.
Sep 14, 2021 09:19 AM
Wasn’t aware, didn’t even notice. :grinning_face_with_sweat:
I’ll look into it, though. Thanks!
Sep 14, 2021 09:27 AM
Correct. If a script takes too much time, none of the following actions will be performed.
I might be quibbling about tiny things here. I suspect that the scripts that you develop are much more complex and time/resource intensive than those of many other scripts floating around. I’m mostly trying to point out that if one has 25 actions in an automation, the time limit does not apply to the total time of the entire automation.
By the way, the recent redesign of the automations screen has a lot of screen real estate. I wonder if that extra real estate is being prepared for something interesting.
Sep 14, 2021 09:34 AM
I think I understood that, but ti be clear, there are two different time constraints in automation steps that use scripts, right?
Sep 14, 2021 09:48 AM
My understanding is that each scripting action can have up to 1 second of CPU time and up to 30 seconds of elapse time. This means that an automation with 25 scripting actions could have theoretical maximum of 25 seconds of CPU time and 12.5 minutes of elapse time.
I can no longer find documentation that states the 1 second of CPU time limit, so that limit may have been changed or removed. I think this page used to state the 1 second CPU time limit, but it no longer does. Testing an automation also no longer lists the CPU time, but only the run time (out of 30 seconds) and the memory used (out of 512 MB).
Thus, it may be that the only time based limit is 30 seconds elapse time per action.
I have created an automation where every other script was nothing but a delay between retries. The automation ran successfully taking a total elapse time of well over 30 seconds over the course of multiple actions. Now, I did not subject this automation to the extensive loads that your clients may need, so you finding may vary.
The limit of 30 seconds elapse time is very annoying when doing an API call that might require more than 30 seconds to respond. I haven’t figured out a way to make that work, but we already discussed that in another of your threads.