iDisk – the speed demon (NOT)

One thing that MobileMe account includes is an iDisk, a ”cloud”-based disk that conveniently can be mounted on your desktop. You can use it to store various files, etc. Once in while I hear the advice that ”use your iDisk to backup your critical documents” and it does sound very tempting.

But, then I start to wonder where these people live. Because iDisk is too slow to be of any practical use whatsoever. A few hours ago I started an incremental backup that took more than 2.5 hours to complete – although the complete size of the files is just 385MB.

Despite knowing the answer I decided to do a quick test. I opened the iDisk in the Finder and dragged the 385MB folder to it, leaned back and waited, and waited, and waited, and then … waited a bit more. Finally, the first pixels on the progress bar were colored to show that something had been transferred. So I continued working for a while, then I looked at the estimate time remaining and decided that I didn’t want to wait 10+ hours to see this copy operation complete. So I quit the copy operation and did some calculations based on the ”time remaining” value and got a transfer speed of:

9 kilobyte per second. YES, kilobyte !!!

And this number is actually better than the incremental backup I did (1.9) but that might have involved other operations than just copy … but it’s in the same region. This is just plain silly.

I used sftp to copy the same data to a server in town (can’t really be compared to sending the data to Apples servers but still … ) and got a transfer speed of:

1.2 megabyte per second

Once again, it’s not fair to compare a local copy like this to using Apples WebDAV server but it’s at least an indication that someone at Apple need to do something to improve this.

And no, it’s not just me – there are a lot of people here in Sweden with similar experiences. And it’s not a temporary thing, it’s been like this since I first started to use MobileMe (, whatever).