7 min read

Behind the Scenes: An Overview of Our Node Setup Methodology

We show you - how it's done!

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Published on

5 June, 2023

Validators are the fundamental pillars of every Proof of Stake (PoS) blockchain. The performance and security of a blockchain is heavily reliant on the efficient and responsible operation of these validators. At Luganodes, we fully acknowledge our responsibility in upholding the integrity of the blockchain ecosystems on which we offer staking services. To fulfil this commitment, we run validators nodes which are meticulously documented and are extensively monitored using robust systems. Our team of expert Site Reliability Engineers, located across multiple timezones, guarantee 99.99% uptime and unwavering support. This article will expound upon the procedures we follow, the guidelines we adhere to and the standards we uphold when setting up a new validator node on a network. Stick with us to learn what goes behind attaining unprecedented performance and an impeccable track record!

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Due Diligence

Prior to commencing the process of setting up a validator node, it is essential to have a comprehensive understanding of validating on the blockchain in question. At Luganodes, our SRE team works closely with our research team to document key information pertaining to the network and its operation. In order to ensure a structured approach, we ask the following questions:

  1. How does the network work and what makes it special?
  2. How do the delegation/undelegation/redelegation time periods and amounts work?
  3. How long is an epoch and how long does it take for a validator to go live?
  4. How many tokens do you need to create a validator and where can one obtain them?
  5. What is the minimum self-stake? If any.
  6. What is the necessary delegation amount to become active?
  7. What are the validator hardware requirements?
  8. What is the slashing criteria? If any.

These questions help us understand the economic feasibility of running a validator on the blockchain in question.

Setup

After performing the due diligence, our operations team conducts a dry run to set up a validator — somewhat like a rehearsal dinner. This test node setup process receives the same level of meticulous documentation as a production node. The operations team diligently reviews and comprehends the documentation, following each step to establish a validator on the blockchain’s testnet. Throughout this process, they take notes on any unique concepts encountered during the validator setup.

Documentation

Comprehensive documentation plays a vital role in ensuring the long-term success of a validator setup. Our operations team at Luganodes understands the importance of meticulous documentation and goes the extra mile to include every little detail, even those that might have been overlooked in the official validator documentation.

When documenting the validator setup process, we cover various aspects, including validator upgrades, validator log checks, validator identification information, and any other pertinent information that facilitates a thorough understanding of the validator setup. By providing detailed documentation, we aim to establish a seamless onboarding workflow for our new SREs by provisioning them the necessary knowledge to navigate and comprehend the intricacies of our validator setup process.

Alerts

Despite a meticulous setup of validator nodes, it is not uncommon for them to encounter connection errors, memory errors, and other network-specific issues. To tackle these challenges, we have implemented a robust monitoring system utilizing Grafana OnCall.

Our monitoring system acts as a vigilant guardian, alerting our operations team to any anomalies or critical issues that arise. By filtering and prioritizing alerts, we ensure that only the most important and urgent alerts reach the relevant team members. This helps us maintain an efficient response system while minimizing distractions caused by non-essential notifications.

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In addition, we proactively set up secondary monitoring for each chain or even develop customized monitoring solutions tailored to specific chains if necessary. This approach allows us to distribute reliability throughout our setups, enhancing the overall stability and performance of our validator nodes.

Peer Reviewing Setup

After the implementation of the aforementioned steps, the whole setup is reviewed by all members of the operations team. Every member of the operations team lends their expertise to ensure the sanity of the setup. Additionally, another team of senior engineers is responsible for testing the setup based on a standard procedure. This helps us corroborate the longevity and robustness of the setup.

Maintenance

The job is not over after a validator node is setup and reinforced with our scrupulous alerting system! With frequent releases of bug fixes, security enhancements and feature additions, it is imperative that our nodes are always up to date. To this end, our SRE team has setup a monitoring system to track the latest releases of our validator nodes. We strive to promptly perform these upgrades after their release, with zero down time. Over the last month, Luganodes has successfully upgraded its nodes to the latest versions for the following networks.

  1. Aptos: Version upgraded to v1.4.2. This upgrade contains some crucial security fixes and was executed smoothly by our ops team in a timely manner. More details

  2. Polygon: Version upgraded to v0.3.9. The latest version of Polygon Bor nodes contains security fixes and was processed accurately by our ops team. More details

  3. Solana: Version upgraded to v1.14.17. The latest release brings multiple changes and improvements, including enhancements to the deduplication process, metrics tracking, capacity adjustments, and bug fixes. It also includes updates to various tools and programs. More details

Truly Rewarding

Phew! That was quite a process, and our diligent SREs have been consistently following all of these steps for setting up and maintaining every single node under our operation. These efforts find acknowledgement in our unrelenting performance and continuous trust and support from institutions and individuals. Luganodes has also attained the acclaimed AAA rating from Staking Rewards, recognising our provision of institutional-grade staking node services which come with the following advantages.

  1. Dedicated Node Solutions

Luganodes proudly offers users with their own dedicated validator or RPC nodes. This guarantees that users have full unparalleled control over their staking or blockchain application operations, maximising returns at any point in time.

2. Robust Node Infrastructure

Luganodes runs bare metal servers which are geographically distributed around the world to ensure high availability and minimise the risk of downtime or security breaches.

3. Highest Standard Security

Our dedicated validator or RPC nodes are located at Tier IV data centres with security and reliability marked the highest standard across global data centres.

4. Automatic Failover Practice

We adopt appropriate failover practices to ensure nodes are always running smoothly. Our redundancy system is designed to automatically route traffic to another node in the event of an issue with one node, with no disruption to the existing operation.

5. Dedicated SRE team

Our dedicated SRE team monitors nodes and reacts to any issues quickly. We use Grafana, Prometheus, and in-house tools to monitor nodes to ensure nodes maintain high uptime.

6. Carbon Neutral Staking

Luganodes pursues proactive engagement with external counsels on local regulations to ensure our staking services always follow compliance rules and be responsible to the environment.

Setting up a validator node is no easy task, and given that they are the cornerstones of PoS networks, this painstaking effort is completely justified. Currently, Luganodes is live on over 18 networks which include Aptos, Avalanche, Cardano, Cosmos, Near, Neutron, Polkadot, Polygon, Solana, Sui, and Tron among many others. This article marks the first of many which will offer a glimpse into our operations. As a Web3 business, transparency is ingrained in our ethos, and this report is another way toward reinforcing that commitment.

About Luganodes

Luganodes is a world-class, Swiss-operated, non-custodial blockchain infrastructure provider that has rapidly gained recognition in the industry for offering institutional-grade services. It was born out of the Lugano Plan B Program, an initiative driven by Tether and the City of Lugano. Luganodes maintains an exceptional 99.9% uptime with round-the-clock monitoring by SRE experts. With support for 36+ PoS networks, it ranks among the top validators on Polygon, Polkadot, Sui, and Tron. Luganodes prioritizes security and compliance, holding the distinction of being one of the first staking providers to adhere to all SOC 2 Type II, GDPR, and ISO 27001 standards as well as offering Chainproof insurance to institutional clients.

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