Sub-orchestrations in Durable Functions (Azure Functions)

In addition to calling activity functions, orchestrator functions can call other orchestrator functions. For example, you can build a larger orchestration out of a library of orchestrator functions. Or you can run multiple instances of an orchestrator function in parallel.

An orchestrator function can call another orchestrator function by calling the CallSubOrchestratorAsync or the CallSubOrchestratorWithRetryAsync method. The Error Handling & Compensation article has more information on automatic retry.

Sub-orchestrator functions behave just like activity functions from the caller's perspective. They can return a value, throw an exception, and can be awaited by the parent orchestrator function.


The CallSubOrchestratorAsync and CallSubOrchestratorWithRetryAsync methods are not yet available in JavaScript.


The following example illustrates an IoT ("Internet of Things") scenario where there are multiple devices that need to be provisioned. There is a particular orchestration that needs to happen for each of the devices, which might look something like the following:

public static async Task DeviceProvisioningOrchestration(
    [OrchestrationTrigger] DurableOrchestrationContext ctx)
    string deviceId = ctx.GetInput<string>();

    // Step 1: Create an installation package in blob storage and return a SAS URL.
    Uri sasUrl = await ctx.CallActivityAsync<Uri>("CreateInstallationPackage", deviceId);

    // Step 2: Notify the device that the installation package is ready.
    await ctx.CallActivityAsync("SendPackageUrlToDevice", Tuple.Create(deviceId, sasUrl));

    // Step 3: Wait for the device to acknowledge that it has downloaded the new package.
    await ctx.WaitForExternalEvent<bool>("DownloadCompletedAck");

    // Step 4: ...

This orchestrator function can be used as-is for one-off device provisioning or it can be part of a larger orchestration. In the latter case, the parent orchestrator function can schedule instances of DeviceProvisioningOrchestration using the CallSubOrchestratorAsync API.

Here is an example that shows how to run multiple orchestrator functions in parallel.

public static async Task ProvisionNewDevices(
    [OrchestrationTrigger] DurableOrchestrationContext ctx)
    string[] deviceIds = await ctx.CallActivityAsync<string[]>("GetNewDeviceIds");

    // Run multiple device provisioning flows in parallel
    var provisioningTasks = new List<Task>();
    foreach (string deviceId in deviceIds)
        Task provisionTask = ctx.CallSubOrchestratorAsync("DeviceProvisioningOrchestration", deviceId);

    await Task.WhenAll(provisioningTasks);

    // ...

Next steps