The Factom Open Node project is a decentralized, load balanced factomd-node located at factomd.net which provides an API to interact with the Factom blockchain protocol. It is an alternative to hosting and maintaining your own factomd-node. The infrastructure is currently provided by five different Authority Node Operator companies. I met with Jay Cheroske of Bedrock Solutions, one of those providers and asked him a few questions.
How can developers utilize the Factom Open Node?
Factom Open Node is a free factomd API endpoint developers can use to read and write to the Factom blockchain. By using Factom Open Node, in lieu of running their own servers, developers can get started right away with no additional costs. In keeping with the ethos of decentralization, production services should run their own factomd servers, but Open Node can still add value to production applications by serving as a reliable backup. The service is load balanced across multiple cloud providers, features a distributed monitoring system, and is architected with no single point of failure.
Who can contribute infrastructure to the project and how do they get involved?
Factom Open Node provides a specific service to the Factom ecosystem: a highly available API endpoint that enables efficient application development. As such, all the pieces must be as robust as possible. The nodes themselves, the monitoring infra, and the load balancing should all be ready for heavy usage. Being funded by the Factom grant pool has given us the resources necessary to build this kind of solid infrastructure. Going forward, we envision the pool of nodes behind the load balancer will grow, and we want to make sure that each node added to the pool increases the overall quality of service. As usage increases and the number of nodes needs to grow, we will be looking to add additional authority node operators to the project. At the moment, we have all the capacity we need.
When would it not be appropriate to utilize the Open Node?
While we strive to distribute control of the Open Node project across multiple ANOs, developers need to understand that they are using a trusted 3rd party service when they use Open Node. This may or may not be appropriate depending on the use case. Most production applications should set up their own factomd infrastructure.
Will additional functionality be coming to the project?
Recently, Bedrock Solutions, Defacto, and Crypto Logic were awarded a grant to enhance Open Node in several ways. Most notably, the monitoring system will be made more robust and the per-node health checks will perform a more in-depth assessment. In terms of system capacity, we have always been ready to scale up as usage increases.