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Tor#1: You write you utilize OpsGeneie for escalating alerts....

Do you differentiate between types of alerts and who's contacted first? Who in your support network will be able to handle factomd/docker-specific issues?
How do you ensure that your alerting system is functioning correctly over an extended period of time?
 
Thank you for your application! A quick question to get started:

A. Based upon your stated Efficiency of 50% (with one server) and your estimated expenses, at what USD price does FCT need to be for your Authority Node operation to break even on a monthly basis with one server?
Hi, thanks for your question. We prepared b/e factoid price for 1/2/3 servers at 30-70% efficiency as per document p9.

One server b/e is: $3.32 at 50% efficiency.
 
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Tor#1: You write you utilize OpsGeneie for escalating alerts....

Do you differentiate between types of alerts and who's contacted first? Who in your support network will be able to handle factomd/docker-specific issues?
How do you ensure that your alerting system is functioning correctly over an extended period of time?

Hello - thanks for your question.

Yes, we originally trialled PagerDuty - but have gone for OpsGenie. Both are integrated through our Zabbix monitoring server.

Rene (Flying_Viking) is our tech lead. Larsen Data is contracted to be our backup Support Team - they employ a team of 4 to supply round the clock maintenance.


Types
The types of alerts we operate with are divided into 3 levels: information, warning and critical.

Informational - just a heads up that something may be happening, could be if it takes more than 12 minutes for a block to be completed or if cpu utilisation reaches a certain threshold for a period of time.
Warning - is activated if for instance, sustained cpu usage, memory usage, or low disk space, where action is needed within a reasonable timeframe to prevent it from becoming critical.
Critical - which is if factomd is not running or any other criteria which means that business is immediately affected and prompt action required to ensure continued operation.



Responses
Informational - we push a notification to our slack alert channel as well as send an email to Rene and Colin. As no action is required as such OpsGenie will not be used at this level.
Warning and Critical - will be routed via OpsGenie along with email and slack notifications to Rene first - unless he's marked as unavailable in the OpsGenie On-Call schedule in which case the alert will be routed to Colin and then to Larsen Data, our backup Support Team.

A warning event escalates every hour. A critical event escalates every 15 minutes.

As well as email, SMS, app push notifications, or custom apps like slack or other api. OpsGenie is capable of making multiple, repeated international phone calls both to landlines and mobiles.


Team
Everybody in our support network will be trained to deal with all common issues like restarts, generic updates etc.

More serious issues will be lead by Rene, who as seen on Discord is highly proficient, and will be responsible alongside Larsen Data to do OS and hardware level troubleshooting.


To verify operation of our monitoring and alerting systems our current plan includes planned tests (stop factomd, reboot machine) on the hot-spare node once a month to verify routing as well as response time of the monitoring system in place.

Additionally Ops Genie offers "Heart Beat" monitoring of the monitoring/alerting system which will be utilised to ensure operational functionality.
 
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$3.32? Are you able to share your expected expenses?
The list of expenses included is on p9 of our document. It is the required breakeven to maintain our Authority Servers and Testnet ops in fullness. It's our fixed costs.

It does not include Marketing efforts or development of our application Off-Blocks. These are variable costs.

Please note: we take no salary.
 
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The list of expenses included is on p9 of our document. It is the required breakeven to maintain our Authority Servers and Testnet ops in fullness. It's our fixed costs.

Please note: we take no salary.
1. Is your contract with Larsen Data included in the costs?
2. Regarding the lack of salaries, I see your statement regarding Off Blocks, FFWD, and FCT. At any point do you see yourselves drawing a salary from the Authority Node?
 
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1. Is your contract with Larsen Data included in the costs?
2. Regarding the lack of salaries, I see your statement regarding Off Blocks, FFWD, and FCT. At any point do you see yourselves drawing a salary from the Authority Node?

1) Larsen Data are included in our fixed costs. i.e none.

However we will pay their ‘incident response’ fee, which is $320. We hope to never use this.

Indicated by our performance on testnet, they should not be needed. It would be very unlucky timing to require their assistance due to a critical event. But as we couldn’t guarantee our 24/7 immediate availability, we wanted to have a professional solution as backup.

2) No, we will never be taking a salary. We love our jobs, and in a tax free environment it’s more than enough money. Personally I hate the thought of Factom paying for people’s rent, car, “business travel” or expense account ; they should not be living unaccountably off the protocol - as their first expenditure will always be to themselves. (Edit: to be clear, an accountable salary is fine)

We will reduce any holdings needed in the event we are elected out of the Authority Set in order to continue to fund Off-Blocks through to revenue generation.
 
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B. Pages 10-12 of your campaign document highlight marketing plans and allude to performing a lot of work that would potentially drive leads to Factom Inc. Have you discussed these plans with anyone from Facton Inc?
I’ve asked Paul - and he responded regarding an easy to use licensing policy that’s apparently coming. However this is to be clarified by Factom Inc, and yet to be seen. I’m hoping they’ll address this after M3.

We absolutely intend to have any material approved by Factom.

Our goal would be to host information sessions worldwide, attended by Factom Inc members. Before this, interest generated will be passed directly onto Factom, and not dealt with by our crew.
 
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2) No, we will never be taking a salary. We love our jobs, and in a tax free environment it’s more than enough. Personally I hate the thought of Factom paying for people’s rent, car, “business travel” or expense account.

We will reduce any holdings in the event we are elected out of the Authority Set.
Off Blocks seems like an extremely ambitious effort. Do you feel you'll be able to make it a reality by working on it part time while earning your salary elsewhere?
 
Off Blocks seems like an extremely ambitious effort. Do you feel you'll be able to make it a reality by working on it part time while earning your salary elsewhere?
Yes David - we've already held those meetings. (Details edited)

We aren't developers, so will be contracting out the development - it won't take up too much of our time, outside of the flight deck. Our secret is that no-one on our team has children :)

I'm going to London for a workshop in June with an agency to get a working prototype I can bring upstairs, and we can begin testing using real-world data and scenarios in the flight deck.

From there, the local government has pledged to move all official processes to the blockchain by 2020. We feel Off-Blocks fits in nicely with that vision.
 
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Thx for your application :)

Your specs are more than enough and will accommodate for the short to medium term probably. It does raise some questions though

NK1)
Could you clarify why node 1 and node 2 have so different specs?
128 GB mem versus 192 GB
12 cores vs 20 cores

NK2)
Why does one node have 5 discs whilst the other has 4, both in a RAID 10 setup
 
NK4)
Aim
Our hope is to build traction amongst key markets well ahead of the Factom Inc team. We’ll be putting in the
leg work, to establish name recognition and generate enquiries from around the world. Connecting them with
the right people, in a facilitatory role, and on-boarding users to the testnet through our admin position.
Why is your admin position mentioned here? Does the aim change in case the admin position is not filled?
 
NK5)
We are actively building a list of hundreds of targets in these markets, primarily around the existing products of
Factom Harmony/dLoc. This comprises mostly Fortune 1000 companies, governments, IT solution providers
but of course any potential user of Factom, no matter their size.
Outside of Factom Harmony - we’ll additionally target developers to build awareness, training, and new
solutions using Factom.
Could you elaborate why you choose Factom Inc, which is a private company, instead of the open Factom protocol in your target strategy?
 
Thx for your application :)

Your specs are more than enough and will accommodate for the short to medium term probably. It does raise some questions though

NK1)
Could you clarify why node 1 and node 2 have so different specs?
128 GB mem versus 192 GB
12 cores vs 20 cores

NK2)
Why does one node have 5 discs whilst the other has 4, both in a RAID 10 setup
Good Morning - thanks for your questions.

Every server used is from a different host to maximise distribution. They are all dedicated servers, rather than cloud based; not as configurable.

Therefore finding exact matching specs for each machine was not possible.

These are simply the options available at the hosts we wanted, that met our internal criteria for a specific budget.
 
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NK3)

Would this patent interfere with development on Factom for other parties?
No, the patent sought is highly specific to our application seeing as we are having to talk about the details publicly. This will help protect our IP in the future, by establishing a priority date today.

For the tech to be certified, it'll be beneficial to have the industry led by one or two known brands - as in all areas of Flight Operations. Jeppesen/Lido - Airbus/Boeing - Bose/Sennheiser - Rockwell/Lockheed. We need Off-Blocks to be front and centre to be a focus point for blockchain technology in aviation.

Without regulatory approval, without certification - the whole thing is pointless. We need to introduce regulators to blockchain technology slowly. We need to work through the stages of certification, with real-world testing.

We are in a position to do that.

If regulators are inundated by different applications from random cryptos shilling away, all seeking approval, they'll panic with an unknown tech and close their ears and minds to the potential; It risks the whole endeavour.

However if we can work closely with them, together we can attain certification of blockchain technology in Flight Operations. This will then open up the industry for natural competition to develop.

Additionally, it takes years to establish an international patent - so we thought we'd get the ball rolling asap. We have plenty of time to re-assess, and are not committed if it becomes a problem.

Whilst blockchain is a mystery to the industry, we have the opportunity to establish a known brand in a new market, and lead the way in certification.
 
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NK4)

Why is your admin position mentioned here? Does the aim change in case the admin position is not filled?
Most companies are secretive, and have incumbent IT departments.

The test net admin has already allowed factom to onboard a very big client who needs help with the tech side, whilst remaining anonymous on the testnet.

What would change, is our ability to help new clients get established and provide ongoing corporate support without having to refer them to a random handle on Discord, who they may not be comfortable talking with.
 
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NK5)

Could you elaborate why you choose Factom Inc, which is a private company, instead of the open Factom protocol in your target strategy?
Factom Inc has a working product, ready for clients. This is something we can take to businesses and gain immediate traction over the next 6-12 months. We'll certainly look at marketing any product working on the protocol as they become available.

The document goes on to say we will also target developers who may be interested in building solutions on the Factom protocol. The information presented to developers would be in a different format to that of businesses; focussed on the protocol - over a specific product.
 
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NK6)

Could you give your vision about possible centralization aspects for node operators or in the current M3 proposal?
Factom is making a giant leap into decentralisation with M3. Personally, I feel it's more important to get the network stable, the code hardened, projects funded, and then transition into a fully decentralised set of Node Operators over time.

I wrote an essay called "The cost of decentralisation" - where I argued the risk of allowing any early applicant into the Authority Set outweighed the benefits of one added distributed operator. i.e if we have 64 operators, what's the value of the 65th?

Although this would have had stability benefits for the protocol, it would also be a centralised version that woulad be an attack vector.

I'm happy to report there now is an abundance of quality applicants - so this risk has disappeared.

Whilst the goal is a fully decentralised protocol - there doesn't have to be a rush. It shouldn't get in the way of genuine collaboration, business ventures, funding, and network stability.

Ultimately though, we want the community to grow, and to attract talented people to the set. We want to help people get started; to give them an opportunity to contribute rather than put up barriers to entry so we can reach 65 independent operators as soon as is reasonable.
 
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2) No, we will never be taking a salary. We love our jobs, and in a tax free environment it’s more than enough money. Personally I hate the thought of Factom paying for people’s rent, car, “business travel” or expense account. People should not be living unaccountably off the protocol - as their first expenditure will always be to themselves.
If there is a, "Factom Conference" of some sort, would take issue with other Authority Node Entities paying for travel / expenses related to attending that conference via the sale of FCT? If you were operating an Authority Node, would you attend and pay for it with personal funds?
 
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Most companies are secretive, and have incumbent IT departments.

Being testnet admin has already allowed us to onboard a very big client who needs help with the tech side, whilst remaining anonymous on the testnet.

What would change, is our ability to help new clients get established and provide ongoing corporate support without having to refer them to a random handle on Discord, who they may not be comfortable talking with.
Does that mean that other node operators would be at a disadvantage compared to you?
 
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