I’m trying to love Arq Backup, but it’s fighting me all the way. CrashPlan is pretty bad so I’d really like it if Arq was the solution for my backup needs. It’s trying hard not to be. For a version 5.7 program, it’s still pretty rough.
I’ve seen bizarre error messages reporting problems that seem to fix themselves (I hope; it happens so frequently I’ve stopped reporting them to the support folks), scheduling collisions that result in 2:00 AM daily backups consistently running in early afternoon, automatic upgrades that never automatically upgrade, etc. I don’t care enough to go back into my lengthy history of support requests to enumerate all the problems, both bugs and UI design issues.
Today I went to another computer and tried to find a file. Arq has a very convenient search box that you can enter the name of a file and it will show you all the backups. However, there are two major issues with the search function.
The first issue is that, even though I have a fast quad-core i7, 16 GB of RAM, and a 1 TB SSD, Arq doesn’t show me the first result for about 22 minutes. Yes, minutes! The search didn’t complete for—well—I don’t honestly know when it would have completed. You see, I gave up waiting for the spinning in-progress gear to stop spinning. Was I too impatient to only wait 90 minutes for a single search? Needless to say, this renders the search function useless. I could easily find the file faster manually by drilling down into the backups. When a human can find results of a simple filename search faster than a computer search algorithm, you know that algorithm is unsuitable for its task.
The second issue is that the only information in the search results is the file’s source path and modification date. There’s no indication what destination the backup is on, or the file size. The destination is important if I need to restore a large file. I want to get it from the closest destination. I’d rather restore from a local disk than from a cloud service. Arq will show the same file with an indication of multiple backup times if you click the expansion triangle. I suspect the result sets are from the various destinations and are in the same order that the destinations appear in the left window pane, but since the order when manually searching doesn’t respect that, who knows? I backup the same file to multiple destinations, as one should, so it’s cumbersome to have to chose the destination by counting the backup sets from top to bottom in the window and then counting the search results. I haven’t verified my assumption though.
The size is important if I want to restore the version just before I accidentally deleted a large amount of data. I want the largest file, not necessarily the latest file.
What I’ve learned from the 30-day trial to my now 10 months of usage is that Arq Backup is quite suitable for simple configurations backing up a small amount of data to a single destination. But once you start using multiple destinations, multiple schedules, multiple logins, exclusions, and backup TB of data—ie. using Arq’s features—then Arq really starts to show its scalability issues (see previous post).
Having said all this, and it’s only a portion of the issues I’ve had with Arq, I do wish the developers success in addressing the bugs and scalability issues quickly. I really want them to succeed. I can’t imagine being forced back to CrashPlan.