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I am noticing this appears to be random. I pulled the offending tools from the workflow and tried them independently. If I run the new workflow 5 times, 3 times it will fail and 2 times it will successfully complete. I will check with the owners of the database to check for errant data in the table.
After working with an Alteryx engineer on my pipe error we found that chaning the connection from 32 bit to 64 bit made the difference. I was not using using unions but was using dynamic inputs. Be thought initially the dynamic input was causing the issue and switched it out for a macro. THat did not resolve the issue. Soon as I reverted back to DI and changed to a 64 bit it began to work consistently. I believe that the 32 bit connection was just a bit too slow or twitchy to keep the source and the target stable. Since then, no problems.
I experienced this frustrating and very difficult to diagnose exception in a very large workflow, and for a long time, but I was eventually able to find a way to detect what node caused it, identify the cause, and eventually solve it permamently. I see that many cases seem to be - like mine - related specifically to workflows with database connections. So I hope this specific case may be able to help at least some others out, although the error seem to cover many issues. Here is my 2 cents:
How to detect the problematic node?
The exception doesnt offer any information about where in the workflow it was encountered. The way I found where the problem was specifically, was using the Browse Everywhere functionality introduced in v 10. I simply begain in the start and ended up where the data stopped being passed through, evident in the results output of the nodes.
What caused it?
My specific scenario related to reading and writing to the same database, specifically I used dynamic input some places (which has been mentioned by others), but I am not sure if that makes a difference. Obviously it would be a problem to write to the same tables due to table/record locking, violate constraints, etc. but all that was thought through and handled before I got this error. Yet it caused problems sending data both ways simultaneously, and I suspect it may be related to the way Alteryx handles alias connections, and specifically using the same alias connection for multiple purposes simultaneously. So in short the conclusion so far (in my case, can't generalize): don't send data both ways simultaneously using the same connection.
My solution (hopefully it applies to others)
Avoiding simultaneous two way data flow is simple. Simply strategically add block until done nodes to avoid it, like you would do in more obvious cases that includes file and record locks.
Just wanted to add that I also had this error message when outputting to the Render tool. I was using the Formula Tool to create a string which I would use as the FilePath in the Render settings.
After some troubleshooting I noticed my string inside the Formula Tool had "|||Sheetname" at the end (ex: C:\Test\New Document.xlsx|||Sheetname), and once removed (like this:C:\Test\New Document.xlsx) the error went away.
Hope this helps anyone trying to troubleshoot this in the future!
Note: I found another possible cause of this error. I had a situation where a function tool created a VString with a huge maximum character count, and even though most of those characters were null, cutting down the size to something like 20K allowed my flow to go. It was failing at join time until I truncated the maximum length.
I encountered this error and found it was caused by a Sample tool using a 1 in X random sample, where the X was accidentally set to "00" instead of "100". As per many other comments in this thread, the error thrown out wasn't specific to the issue and I had to troubleshoot the workflow by deleting section until I could isolate the area and the specific tool causing the error.
I experienced the same error message issue and was caused by corrupt excel files in a few differently inputs. When opening the files in excel, some listed the corruption error and others did not but when I re-saved them all and placed in a different location, the workflow ran successfully. The excel files were not large and did not have any complicated data structure but were auto generated from another program possibly causing Alteryx unable to read initially.