Why do we need a Node Provider?
Decentralized applications (DApps) are important components of the blockchain ecosystem that help users interact with the blockchain network. DApps are composed of on-chain components and off-chain components. Off-chain components refer to external server infrastructure such as front-end and user databases. On-chain components refer to the elements related to the blockchain such as smart contracts and nodes. To operate a DApp, an interaction between off-chain and on-chain components is essential, and this is where a node is required. However, running a node is complex and time-consuming. Therefore, many DApp developers prefer to seek the help of a node provider.
In this article, we will take a closer look at what a node is, the difficulties of running a node by yourself, and the benefits of using a node provider.
1. What is a Node?
Before we take a look at what a node provider is, let’s first examine what a node is in the context of blockchain.
Blockchain is a distributed digital ledger that tracks changes in network state by propagating transactions through a P2P network. A node refers to each peer object that participates in the blockchain network. It verifies transactions, stores data, and helps the network operate smoothly.
Nodes perform the following key functions to maintain network security and reliability:
- Storing a copy of the blockchain ledger: Think of the blockchain as a large public ledger where everyone can see all transactions. To maintain a safe and accurate final state derived through consensus protocol, every node participating in the network stores the same ledger. In other words, a node can be seen as an individual computer that stores a copy of the blockchain ledger.
- Validating transactions: Nodes validate transactions and add them to the ledger. When a transaction is proposed to the network, it is propagated to all nodes in the P2P network, and all nodes verify its validity. Valid transactions are temporarily stored in the “mempool” until a new block is mined. Transactions stored in the mempool are referred to as “unconfirmed transactions.”
- Creating a new block containing transactions: A specific node(validator node or miner node) selected according to the consensus protocol collects transactions from the mempool and creates a new block. The node then adds the newly created block to the ledger and propagates it to other nodes. When a block is added to the blockchain, the transactions it contains are considered confirmed and are permanently recorded in the ledger.
- Maintaining network security: As the number of nodes on the network increases, data manipulation becomes more difficult, thereby enhancing the security of the blockchain. Furthermore, since several nodes perform identical functions, even if one node malfunctions the network can continue its operation normally, so data stored in the blockchain is not affected.
Nodes in a blockchain network can be categorized into three types based on their roles and the format of data storage:
- Light node: Stores only the block header and is primarily used for simple tasks such as data search and transaction transmission. These nodes cannot participate in the consensus protocol.
- Full node: Stores a copy of the entire blockchain and plays a core role in validating transactions and blocks, maintaining the network decentralization and security. Full nodes can set a pruning option to regularly delete historical blockchain data, effectively reducing storage space.
- Archive node: Stores the entire blockchain history, including all transactions and blocks. Mainly used for research and analysis purposes.
2. The Requirements of Running a Node: Cost, Time, and Scalability Concerns
Now that you understand the importance of nodes in a blockchain network and their essentiality in DApp operation, you may consider running your own nodes. However, running your own nodes is far from easy. There are three main factors to consider before deciding to operate your own nodes.
Running a node can be very costly. Running a single full node with 2TB storage capacity that can handle 100,000 requests using AWS can cost thousands of dollars per month. Additionally, the costs of running multiple nodes to increase stability may rise proportionate to the number of nodes you operate. The costs not only include hardware expenses but also the time and human resources necessary to set up, maintain, and monitor the node infrastructure system. Therefore, building reliable node infrastructure by yourself can become a process that costs tens of thousands of dollars. Please note that the actual cost required can differ depending on various factors, such as storage size, node client types, and other relevant factors.
If you operate a full or archive node, you will need to store the entire blockchain ledger, which means that synchronizing the new node’s network status can take a considerable amount of time. For example, a full node synchronization on the Ethereum network can take around two or three days, while an archive node can take up to one to three months. The actual time required depends on the connected internet speed and environment.
As the data size of a blockchain network increases, the storage and bandwidth requirements for each node participating in the network can also increase. Moreover, a single node going down can have a significant impact on DApp service operations. In order to meet the increasing demand and minimize downtime, you may need to run multiple nodes. However, simply running multiple nodes using load balancing may result in transaction inaccuracies. This issue can be resolved by additional infrastructure, but it comes with a high cost and significant time requirements.
3. Why do you need a Node Provider?
As previously discussed, the cost and technical complexity of running your own node can be a significant burden for individual developers or small organizations. In this case, using a node provider can be a good choice.
A node provider is a service that provides the infrastructure, resources, and support required to operate a node. They are responsible for building, maintaining, and securing the nodes, allowing users to interact with the network without any technical knowledge of node operation. Using a node provider can not only save time and resources but also ensure high stability and security of the node.
The following are some of the main benefits of using a node provider:
- Simplified setup and maintenance: Setting up and maintaining a node can be complex and time-consuming. A node provider simplifies this process, allowing users to focus on their applications without worrying about the technical details of node operation.
- Enhanced security: Node providers ensure the security of the node, protecting it from hacking and other threats. This means users can trust the safety of their nodes.
- Cost savings: Running nodes requires hardware, software, and other resources, which can be time-consuming and expensive. Using a node provider can help reduce these costs.
- Improved scalability: As blockchain networks grow, or as DApps gain users, there may be a need to scale nodes. A node provider operates nodes of various clients and versions, making it easy to access a scalable node infrastructure.
- Access to additional services: Node providers offer additional services such as special purpose APIs, making it easy to implement various services on dApps.
4. Luniverse as your Portal to Web3
High Reliability: Enterprise-level Node Robustness
To ensure stable DApp service operation, a stable node is an essential and indispensable technical element. What are the factors that cause instability when running nodes? There are complex and diverse factors such as infrastructure instability, node client defects, discontinuous changes that occur during the client’s version change process, and state inconsistency issues that occur due to node locality within the network.
Based on years of blockchain infrastructure operation experience during the Web3 engine construction process, Luniverse has applied various solutions to address these issues. Based on an infrastructure environment operated by a professional operation team, Luniverse provides a node environment that can be used 24/7 through a multi-client structure, an advanced multi-version management system, and an Auto Recovery & Auto Scaling system for fault tolerance. For enterprise services, you can also choose a dedicated node environment to build an even more stable and secure network environment.
High Scalability: Auto-scaled Infrastructure with Data Consistency
The Luniverse Web3 Engine provides flexible node performance. Use an Elastic Node environment without worrying about increasing user traffic as your service grows. It is automatically connected to the appropriate infrastructure backend based on usage through an advanced monitoring system and abstracted node layer. In addition, it provides consistent data views in a flexible performance environment through Luniverse’s unique virtual mempool and Quorum-based data processing module.
Chain-Agnostic APIs: Seamless Access to Multiple Blockchain Networks
Relying on a specific blockchain protocol or network for implementation can hinder the scalability and reusability of an application. By using the Luniverse Multichain Web3 API, you can easily adapt to the rapidly changing blockchain market and respond to environmental changes with flexibility and scalability. Luniverse Multichain Web3 API is designed as a chain-agnostic API that provides integrated URLs to access various blockchain networks such as Ethereum and Polygon. By using Luniverse’s abstracted interfaces, developers can easily support multiple blockchain networks with minimal implementation and interact efficiently without in-depth technical knowledge. Through this, developers can focus on building dApps and providing enhanced solutions to users instead of consuming time and resources on the technical aspects of blockchain connectivity.
If you’re ready to take your project to the next level, Luniverse will be your essential Web3 companion.
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