Box Sync is S-LO-W!

Occasional Contributor

Box Sync is S-LO-W!

Hello… we are a Box Enterprise customer who just signed up for many additional users so we could take full advantage of all the Box has to offer—and so that we could move away from Dropbox.  However, we are having significant Box Sync speed issues.  Simple file uploads and downloads are taking forever in comparison to Dropbox. 

 

20 MB file – upload to Box web app:  9.5 sec.  Downloaded to a local Box Sync folder in less than 10 sec after that.

 

BUT

 

20 MB file – dropped into Box Sync folder:  appeared in Box web app folder and Box Sync folder on another computer:  1 minute 40 seconds.

 

Same exact operation with Dropbox for Business:  14 seconds.

 

 

I performed the same test using a 36 KB Word document.  It took :05 to load to the Box web app and only :05 to sync to a Box sync folder.  But when dropping that file into a Box Sync folder first, it took 1:45 to sync to the Box web app and to another computer running Box Sync.

 

Same exact operation with Dropbox for Business:  3.5 seconds.

 

 

Are we overlooking some settings or anything like that?  I have performed this test at three different locations:

 

-  our office with a 50MB x 50MB fiber connection

-  my home with a 300MB x 20MB Time Warner Cable connection

-  our internet provider’s hub with a 1GB x 1GB fiber connection

 

All test performed on a Mac, with the same MacBook Pro running OS X 10.11, and also with several different MacPro 12-cores running 10.11.

 

The issue appears to be with Box Sync.  Why such a lag compared to Dropbox?

Tags (1)
43 REPLIES
Box Employee

Re: Box Sync is S-LO-W!

Hi @JeffHayes.

 

Box Sync does behave differently from what you have seen from other sync applications.


Box Sync scans through all items in the Box Sync folder on your machine and all items marked to be synced from your account in the cloud before beginning the syncing phase where uploads/downloads occur. Depending on the number of items being synced, this can cause the time it takes for the upload to occur to be longer.

Occasional Contributor

Re: Box Sync is S-LO-W!

Understood. What I don't understand is this: we are a growing company, who will be adding more users, who will be creating more documents to be synced, and you're telling me that the more files I have to sync, the worse the performance is going to get? How am I supposed IMPROVE efficiency in our company if the apps we use perform WORSE as we use them more?
First-time Contributor

Re: Box Sync is S-LO-W!

I've been sitting here for at least 10 minutes doing other things waiting for sync to start let alone finish.  It is "scanning files" as you describe.  Is there any way to better use Box Sync to improve performance?

 

Thanks for any help you can give.  Maybe this will answer the OP question about more users/more use = worse performance.  Hope there is a solution.

Occasional Contributor

Re: Box Sync is S-LO-W!

GS... I wish I had better news from you.  See below for the e-mail responses I received from Box support.  They are more focused on security than efficiency.  Too bad, because I really want to go all-in with Box, but the constant and never-ending scanning is unnacceptable!

 

FROM BOX:  

 

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for your patience! Your case has been escalated to me. We acknowledge that Box Sync does consume additional memory and CPU resources when compared directly with other more consumer-focused desktop sync clients, such as Dropbox. It is important to understand however that this is because Box is architected with enterprise use cases in mind, taking into account security controls, access permissions, and performance at scale.

For example, one sync action that Box implements which adds CPU overhead vs Dropbox is to ensure we retain all the important metadata of a file whenever it is moved from one folder to another. Metadata elements like comments, tasks, shared links, and access stats are important in a highly-collaborative enterprise product and often key reasons why customers choose Box , so this overhead is a cost we pay willingly to ensure there is no data loss or service degradation .

To dig into the technical detail of this action further, when any user action is detected by Box Sync on a file (e.g. something was added or removed from a directory ) - Box Sync needs to scan all other content to determine if there is a matching action in another folder. If there's a matching action - for example, the file is 'removed' from one folder and 'added' to another - we know it's a move and can then safely move all the associated metadata along with the file. If there's no matching action, we know it's a deletion or a new file. As you can imagine, scanning the entire tree on every action is a heavy process - and gets heavier as content and collaboration increases.

This is clearly a different approach vs the differential or partial sync proposed by consumer tools, which while faster, carries much less value holistically from a collaboration standpoint. Consumer tools will instead see and react to only one action at a time e.g. a file is removed from a folder, so delete it from sync . The same file is added to another folder , re-create it , etc . This reduces CPU usage because a full scan of every folder is not necessary, but it is more prone to error (and data loss), especially in highly collaborative environments where files are changing and moving frequently.

Since I don't have insight in to speeds on the Dropbox side, I can't compare your speeds to that service, but hopefully this explanation helps clarify the differences in how the two syncing tools are built. For Box Sync, speeds will speed up if you sync less content. For example, we recommend only syncing the content you work out of most frequently, or require for offline access. If you unsync folders from Box.com, they will remain stored on box and accessible from the web app, but won't need to be constantly scanned though locally.

 

MY RESPONSE:

 

Thanks for the detailed explanation. We have folders containing well over 100,000 documents and low resolution videos which need to be easily accessed and synced regularly. All 10 of our users would be in and out of these folders and files many times an hour throughout the workday—and in many cases they need to be saved and synced to another users Box Sync folder extremely quickly. Waiting for the system to scan every single file in our account is counter-productive to our very deadline-intensive business. A simple Word document should take under 30 seconds to sync…not 2 minutes. That's very valuable time in our world!

We don't use any of the features like security controls, comments, workflows, and that sort of thing. Is there any way we can scale back the intensity of the scanning, or set it to scan differently or in a light mode? Really what we want is fast syncing and archiving of versions of files. We like Box's folder structure, navigation, and custom branding… but it has to work faster. Are there any work arounds where the process can speed up?

 

 

BOX RESPONSE:

 

Thanks for your reply! There is not a way to customize the scanning process for sync. The security controls are built in to every aspect of Box's product so that your content is protected and meets certain compliance requirements. Our syncing tool is designed more as a compliment to the web app (box.com) that is our primary product and has many of these collaboration features. For this reason, it is not architected to handle that volume of content, hence the 100,000 item threshold for supported sync. If Box Sync doesn't fit your use case, I can also put you in touch with our customer advisory team who may be able to help you strategize on how best to use Box to fit your organization's needs.

Let me know if you'd like me to send an intro to that team!

 

 

So GS... I guess we're kinda stuck...

Occasional Contributor

Re: Box Sync is S-LO-W!

Have you tried the same tests on Windows by chance?

 

 

I ask because another post claims this is only a problem with the Mac version of Box Sync. 

https://community.box.com/t5/Help-Forum/Box-Sync-slow-upload-speeds/m-p/24144#M12865 

"Years later and Box Sync is still a dog on the Mac.  Shame because it's better than Google Drive on the PC.  I'll have to look into other options.  Fortunately, migration isn't too big of a pain these days."

 

 

If true, that doesn't make the problem hurt any less, but it would at least help us to be more specific with Box Support about what needs to be fixed.

New Contributor

Re: Box Sync is S-LO-W!

Replying because this is relevant to my situation, even though the thread is fairly old.  Box works GREAT on Windows.  The problem is its performance on Macs only.  Box support either can't, or won't, understand the problem.  Their generic response of "Box needs to scan everything blah blah blah" is total crap, because it behaves DIFFERENTLY on different Operating Systems.  Box, you need to get your S* together with regards to OSX, or I'll be looking elsewhere.  I've dealt with this headache for long enough.

Occasional Contributor

Re: Box Sync is S-LO-W!

Jeoffw,

 

No, I haven't tried box on Windows, but interesting that it might perform differently on Mac vs. Windows.  The reason we use Macs to begin with is that "they just work."  Box seems to break that tradition.  Box Sync for Mac:  "it just works...eventually."

 

Our solution has been to use Box mainly for large-file transfers and storage, where it's no big deal to just upload files to the Box web app.  We really like the interface and flexibility--and it looks very professional to our customers.  But for our daily, fast-paced work and collaboration in-office and with remote employees, Dropbox has been very reliable and fast.  

 

Until Box Sync for Mac can be as efficient as Dropbox when it comes to syncing between devices, we'll have to stick with this hybrid approach...which is unfortunate, because the box online app is very attractive.

 

 

Occasional Contributor

Re: Box Sync is S-LO-W!

Boxguy,

 

I'm right there with you brother!  

 

Sometimes you have to wonder... what are people thinking?  Why wouldn't they want to make the most efficient, Dropbox-killer they could?

Occasional Contributor

Re: Box Sync is S-LO-W!

We are running Box for several years now. We have +/- 700GB of data.

 

Box sync is **removed**. I'm a CAD designer and sometimes it takes more than 10 minutes before colleagues can colabborate on a file..

 

It is truly sad..

Occasional Contributor

Re: Box Sync is S-LO-W!

Sad and disappointing.  We were hoping to take full advantage of the Box suite--which is impressive, but if it takes 10 minutes for co-workers to get synced with a 40KB Word doc, that's ridiculous.  With Dropbox, we're seeing files syncing on other desktops within 10 seconds, no joke.

Occasional Contributor

Re: Box Sync is S-LO-W!

True. How hard can it be to scan local and cloud files faster? But as I understand Sync is an complementary service. So no priority there.. Again so sad. We are looking at dropbox and google drive at the moment.

 

 

Occasional Contributor

Re: Box Sync is S-LO-W!

Our CAD files are 1 to 5 MB by the way. However files size is not the problem at all. We are getting **removed**Mb/s on average. It's the scanning.

Occasional Contributor

Re: Box Sync is S-LO-W!

Wow, the censorship on this forum. I was saying "twenty-five to fifty" (Mb/s) on average..

Occasional Contributor

Re: Box Sync is S-LO-W!

Box Support told me that their scan process has security as its priority rather than speed.  Understood, but does that mean Dropbox is significantly less secure?  I'm having a tough time believing that.

 

Maybe box vs dropbox is like comparing apples to oranges.  It's unfortunate though, because with a faster sync, we'd go all in with Box.

Occasional Contributor

Re: Box Sync is S-LO-W!

Is there a difference in the hooks or APIs available on macOS vs Windows that would require different logic on one vs the other? Why would Box Sync have different logic on one OS vs another?

anv
First-time Contributor

Re: Box Sync is S-LO-W!

Also having this issue with Box Enterprise. 100  1 MB files have synced seamlessly on my windows in less than 5 minutes, but downloading those files to another computer, a mac, is going on 2 hours. The current message is "scanning files". This is unacceptable for a professional grade product that we pay for. 

New Contributor

Re: Box Sync is S-LO-W!

Been doing a lot of testing around this and if you have very little synced then syncs happen very quick because the scanning process is short. Same file on indentical computers one had maybe 10,000 files synced and it took 5 minutes and another had over 100,000 files synced and it took over 20 minutes for the same file. So scanning has a huge impact on sync speed.

 

Now going over the the Mac, you have to keep your sync MUCH smaller than Windows because the Mac Sync client is just so amazingly buggy. With larger syncs, we have had issues with 30K files which is under their 100K limit, the client will crash out, freeze and stop syncing, or freeze but still continue to sync and then when it finally finishes ages later will unfreeze itself.

 

Using Both Box Enterprise and Dropbox for Business right now. Box is WAY better on the web side of things and the Admin panel is much better. Dropbox still feels very childish/consumer when dealing with the webUI. But when it comes to the sync client, Dropbox just crushes Box. you can have multiple accounts, you can manage bandwidth, you can see what is actually going on with sync and most of all it is way way way faster. 

 

I have been using the new Smart Sync beta with Dropbox and it is great. Box for Desktop will solve the speed issue since there will be no scanning process, but having tried other Fuse based solutions I am worried how it will work with command line scripts or apps that have files that reference other apps since the files you see are not actually there vs Dropbox smart sync which has a very small reference file. 

 

If it was not for Box Sync being so terrible, Dropbox would not even be a thought. But it is by far the worst sync client out there. I really hope they do a much better job with Box for Desktop. But I will call BS on the scanning giving extra security it was just poor design and if it was so important they would have it with Box for Desktop. Box needs to come out with Sync 5 and make it fast, just straight up sync API without the scanning nonsense 

Occasional Contributor

Re: Box Sync is S-LO-W!

I see there's something new called Box for Desktop, but I can't seem to find it anywhere.  It's mentioned on Box's home page:  https://www.box.com/allnew  but I can't find any further info on it.  Anybody know what it's supposed to do... is it a replacement for Box Sync?

New Contributor

Re: Box Sync is S-LO-W!

Just registered to post an update for this.

 

My team, in our Enterprise org, lives in Box, however, the performance of Box sync does not scale to meet our needs.

 

On just my Windows workstation, I use Box Sync for just over 1 million files (the vast majority either PDF or <5kb .txt files), clocking in at about 95GB total. These numbers are similar for the rest of my team (of about 10 people) for our shared workspace.

 

  • I frequently see sync times in excess of multiple hours for small Word files, sometimes days. I have no confidence that small data will sync within an hour.
  • Box Sync easily uses 3+ GB of RAM constanctly, just now I saw it at 6.9GB before I killed the process
  • Box Sync creates ridiculously huge log files for this data set, with the average around 3GB, but the largest I've seen is over 8GB.

 

Our usage may not be what Box Sync was architected for, but it makes it very hard to use. I'm considering removing Box Sync to only use the web application for syncing. However, the background sync is a highly desirable feature to sync a large and fluctuating set of data.

 

Is there any way to optimize Box Sync for this scenario?

New Contributor

Re: Box Sync is S-LO-W!

Update: My log file is 61+ GB.

Occasional Contributor

Re: Box Sync is S-LO-W!

AB, 

 

I asked that very question... is there a way to customize the way box scans and syncs... they said no and that Box Sync is a complimentary function to their core product.

 

We have begun to migrate more and more of our data to dropbox, who has a whole new interface and online experience in the works as well.  But it's still disappointing that box sync drags that whole company down (for me).  

New Contributor

Re: Box Sync is S-LO-W!

@JeffHayes

 

Thank you for the response.

I'll talk to the team about migrating to another tool (Dropbox).

New Contributor

Box is slow on OSX

I've been a box.com user for several years, using it on both Windows and OSX.

 

Hands down the issue with slowness is unique to my Apple computers. In Windows 10 the Box agent updates very quickly. In OSX the gap is measured in minutes, often up to 5 or 10 elapsing before sync is achieved. This is for all the files, not just large ones.

 

I know this is an old thread, but it is still an accurate capture of what I consider to be a big issue.

Tags (1)
Community Manager

Re: Box is slow on OSX

Hi @aroundomaha@JeffHayes, and @ABBenders,

 

Sorry to hear that you are having poor experiences with Box Sync. This is not the intended experience and use case you should be having and we recommend that if you have not already, please speak with our Support team to help look into your accounts. You can  contact Box Support to help you directly, or for other support options, visit this page.

 

We are working on a new Box Desktop product that will incorporate some of the feedback we have received about Box Sync. If you'd like to submit any more feedback, please also include that in the support ticket!

Occasional Contributor

Re: Box is slow on OSX

Thanks Howard. Most of the people on this thread have already engaged Support though. Responses range from, "working as designed" to "sync less data" ... etc.

Occasional Contributor

Re: Box is slow on OSX

Howard,

 

Thanks for engaging with us and following up.  My interactions with box support have been a good dialogue in that they sought to understand my problem, but ultimately the answer was "security over performance" and that this was not likely to change.

 

Are you saying it could change with the new Box Desktop?  Do you know roughly when that might be released?

New Contributor

Re: Box is slow on OSX

How long does it take to for yo guys to sync. I do video work and have lots of files and we have several computers OSX and PC but 13K files are showing 2239 hours before the sync is finished.

 

I use Drop Box as well and I am considering moving our 2 TB worth of data but then how long will it take

Occasional Contributor

Re: Box is slow on OSX

66rawradio,

 

Hey... we're a video company as well, but we just can't use Box Sync to sync media files across computers.  We only use Box Sync for office docs and small files.  This morning I had 8 Office docs to sync, and it took 10 minutes to perform the sync.

 

We use Dropbox for everything else (including syncing to 15 Macs), and sync is almost instant.

 

We do use Box's online interface for transfering video files to and from other companies.  That works great, and we like the user interface and navigation.  It's just Box Sync that's impractical if you need media files to be synced.

Community Manager

Re: Box is slow on OSX

Hi @JeffHayes,

 

 

We expect you will have a better experience with Box for Desktop, but it's difficult to guarentee all previous Box Sync issues would be resolved since there are many underlying causes. Some are known issues with Sync while others may be related to user workflow or device issues. 

 

Box for Desktop will be coming soon (no date yet), but you can subscribe to the Product News Blog post for our upcoming launches and statuses to find out more information. 

 

Thanks again Jeff for your feedback and help for us to improve!