We are live on the Shelley testnet. A few teething issues along the way but we are producing blocks so all looks good. The general stability of the node is fantastic and a lot different experience than at the start of the ITN (Incentivised Test Net) where we struggled to get stability of the node in the early builds.
We have chosen to go the VPS route rather than running the bare metal server we had in the ITN. The reasoning behind this is:
- We need relay nodes in front of the core node. So now have 3 servers instead of the single with the ITN.
- We had issues with slot battles and height battles in ITN. Although the winning of slot battles has changed in new shelley node and should not cause problems as before we had quite a few height battles presumably due to the extra latency of having our bare metal server at the edge of the network. So to ensure we have the best chance of getting every block possible we decided we will go with well connected VPS’s. We want to be amongst the top performers in the network and ensure all delegators get a good ROS (Return on Stake).
We have what we believe to be high performance VPS’s with good networking performance. We have a core node (this is the node that mints blocks and gets rewards and is “hidden” behind the relays) in Germany. We have two relay servers in addition to the core, one located in Germany and the other located on the west coast of the USA and these should allow us to propagate blocks efficiently throughout the network with low latency to ensure we do not lose blocks due to network delay.
So the general layout is like this very simplified diagram we created. The core node talks ONLY to the relays and the firewall blocks all other attempts at connections. This allows the core node to be secured to only accept incoming connections from your trusted relays and so helps secure the node. The two relays talk to the core and each other and then can have multiple connections out to the blockchain network.
There is a long way to go with tweaking performance, improve the monitoring and ensuring security is watertight but we are on the right course and look forward to the next few months. There is lots to learn and it will be interesting but we are on the way to a new era in the Cardano ecosystem and can’t wait … Bring it on!