Polkadot + Blockdaemon: Bridging Interoperability and Economic Scalability

Katie DiMento
Editorial,Partnerships

Blockdaemon became involved in the Kusama network early on, having seen the incredible potential in Polkadot and the team’s vision. In addition to running nodes on the Alexander testnet, Blockdaemon has continued to be active on Kusama and will look forward to Polkadot’s launch.

Supporting a truly interoperable network

Since we continue to approach blockchain infrastructure with an eye for simplicity and scalability, we opted to create a simple package that made it easy to install, run, manage and monitor a node on the Kusama network. Since the install was designed to be portable, infrastructure and operation would be easy for developers so they could focus on adding value to the community with additional solutions. 

“We are thrilled to have Blockdaemon as an early member of the Kusama ecosystem and look forward to seeing their solutions bring value to Polkadot when it’s launched.” – Dieter Fishbein, Head of Ecosystem Development, Web3 Foundation

Blockdaemon’s goal is to provide the ability to launch Kusama and Polkadot blockchain nodes on any supported cloud or infrastructure – even your own data center or developer machine – in a standardized way, while still allowing several different ways to launch.  The package can be launched easily on Linux or MacOS, and you can deploy it however you want — bare metal, Docker, k8s clusters. 

 

Deploying the Blockchain Package Manager for Polkadot

Blockdaemon was honored to be chosen as a recipient of a Web3 Foundation grant in the summer of 2019. The goal of the program is to allow teams to build interesting technology to improve the growing Web3 and Polkadot ecosystems. We have made it part of our milestones to deploy the Polkadot Blockchain Package Manager (BPM). BPM provides tools and packages to run blockchain nodes on your own infrastructure using a unified simple command line interface to deploy, maintain, monitor, and upgrade nodes. With BPM, teams can deploy blockchain nodes anywhere, enabling easy management – including scripting and automation. We’ve shared a bit about the architecture, our design goals, and how data flows through the system. If you’d like to know more, you can jump right into the BPM QuickStart guide to get a sense of how it works, or dive right into the CLI docs

 

A BPM Package includes everything you need for a healthy node – the main node software, all dependencies, configurations and tuning options that we’ve adapted from our production nodes. BPM has been built with a plugin architecture so that it can be easily extended and upgraded.  The CLI app for BPM will be very small and rarely upgraded, whereas the plugins and node software can be automatically and quickly updated.

Once you’ve launched your BPM node, you can optionally connect it to the Blockdaemon web UI. If you do this, blockchain node events and server logs will be forwarded to Blockdaemon. Blockdaemon parses these events and logs and displays graphs of your node’s performance (even if it’s running on your own infrastructure). Additionally we’ll be adding alerts and notices to you so that you know if there are recommended updates or actions you might need to take on your node — restarting, updating software, etc.

Easy Deployment and Node Stability 

In short, Blockdaemon monitors key areas by default and learns how nodes on each protocol may be prone to having problems – memory shortages, disk consumption, etc. Each time we update a protocol, we watch metrics to see what happens, and proactively put plans into place to manage nodes more aggressively when necessary. 

For instance, one of the releases consumed more memory than we’d seen on prior releases, and so we were able to plan for restarts on a regular schedule in those cases. We know from our experience with other protocols that it isn’t always best to be there with updates as soon as they happen, and we’ve sat out troublesome updates.

High Volume Efficiency 

Why do we take this approach compared to having a team spend all their time hovering over a node? Because our mission is to make these deployable and stable for all our customers as production infrastructure. We are utilizing our proprietary node deployment infrastructure (“NodeQ” internally) to execute high volume efficiency, because it’s not scalable to run a concierge service. That approach, also, doesn’t require you to actually solve problems and build stability. We make sure we understand the real “red zone” of trouble, as well as ways to recover quickly and fail over as necessary before it gets to the red zone.

With NodeQ, we are able to launch nodes in minutes because of its event driven architecture, coupled with intelligent base configurations that remove boilerplate development, also allowing us to quickly update existing nodes, to the point where all our nodes can be automatically updated in minutes.

We’ve enjoyed contributing to the Kusama network and collaborating with the Web3 community. We look forward to the success of the Polkadot network and encourage anyone interested to try us out by staking on our public validator or run your own dedicated validator node with us!