PolkaHub: Scalable Blockchain Infrastructure

Dec 23, 2019 · 4 min read
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Web3 Foundation has awarded Akropolis PaaS solution a grant to continue its development. Please check announcement here:

We are happy to re-introduce PolkaHub, a Web3Foundation grantee project by the Akropolis team. In this article, we will share what this product is about, how it benefits the Polkadot ecosystem, and most importantly, what problems does it solve.

Why are we building Polkahub?

Polkahub is a DevOps tool we wish existed when we started researching and building on Substrate.

New languages, frameworks, version control systems, databases, architectures, and other bleeding-edge technologies are gaining ground in the space. Especially in a fast-paced environment of the Web3 ecosystem. You need containers and microservices to support infrastructure work and be easily updatable.

Having launched our own Substrate-Based Chain since February 2019, we encountered the challenges that the rapidly changing web3 infrastructure brings with each upgrade.

We concluded back then, that keeping the infrastructure up to date becomes time-consuming and constantly requires attention. This delays the development process. Creating this PaaS solution will allow developers to fully focus on the development of their own Substrate-based chains or applications, rather than setting up and maintaining infrastructure.

What is Polkahub?

Polkahub is a fast, scalable cloud infrastructure for Substrate based chains, a “Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) for Substrate Nodes”, inspired by Heroku. Heroku is a platform as a service based on a managed container system, with integrated data services and a powerful ecosystem, for deploying and running modern apps.

Polkahub aims to create a managed container system. The proposed system enables automatic updates and resource management for running nodes, additionally providing templates for launching Substrate based chains. It provides Substrate based chain developers with the ability to launch and manage network infrastructure using our command line utility and the ability to provide public node access, with a uniform standard for packaging and deploying applications to cloud infrastructure.

Who can use it?

Substrate-based chain developers: use Polkahub to build serverless public node infrastructure. We offer the simplest way to deploy it with the git command. Additionally, through Polkahub, all the information needed for dApp developers (public node IP address, API specification, etc.) will be in one place, simplifying the onboarding of dApp developers to Substrate based chains.

dApp developers: find information, connect to public node, call contracts and so on via RPC/API/Sockets, by using the public node infrastructure powered by Polkahub.

Validators: node deployment made easy through this PaaS. The docker containers prepared by Substrate-based chain developers will be loaded into the Polkahub marketplace — anyone who wants to become a validator can enter the marketplace, choose a Docker container and deploy it. PolkaHub creates an abstraction layer for node deployment for validators.

What benefits does it bring to the Polkadot ecosystem?

  1. Lowers the barriers of entry to the ecosystem for developers of all backgrounds.
  2. PolkaHub gives users the opportunity to get free cloud access to the diverse Polkadot ecosystem.
  3. The Polkahub Explorer (list of Substrate-based chains) provides comprehensive information about each Substrate-based chain, how it can be used (how to make transactions and other operations in it). Additionally, it provides information on how to use the public Substrate based chain’s API to create decentralized applications.
  4. It provides developers with a uniform standard for packaging and deploying applications to cloud infrastructure.
  5. It provides the functionality to track and control of the Substrate based chain’s versions. So in the event of critical bugs arising, developers can update or roll back the version of the Substrate-based chain using simple commands (via running specific commands in a command line).
  6. Node deployment support to remote servers or cloud infrastructure via git.
  7. Docker provides high-level interfaces for isolated environments within the node’s execution. Easily scaled, managed and updated.
  8. No need to rely on DevOps and System Administration for managing the Substrate-based chain infrastructure, this is done automatically by PolkaHub.
  9. Comprehensive web interface containing description of existing Substrate-based chains:
  • What’s the purpose of this chain, what problems does it solve
  • Documentation
  • Configuration/Installation guides
  • RPC link

Polkahub has been presented (and demoed) at the DOTCon by our developers Alex Maz and Alex Gnatovskyi. As we received very positive feedback from the community, we decided to continue building the project, and make significant improvements. We would like to thank Web3 Foundation for supporting this initiative.

We will be ready to release PolkaHub in the near future — we are aiming that, at the launch of the Polkadot mainnet, all developers in the ecosystem can use the platform and attract more people into the network.

Stay tuned for future updates!

Learn more about Akropolis:

Website: https://akropolis.io/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/akropolisio

Telegram: https://t.me/akropolis_official

Do you have any questions? Reach out through email team@akropolis.io or via Telegram.


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