Development Update: Beta Network Refresh

Guilherme Lawless
Aug 17, 2019 · 3 min read

The Nano beta network has been crucial in assisting the development of the Nano node and protocol since it was set up over a year ago. Our latest release, V19.0 Solidus, is an excellent example of how helpful beta participants from the community have been, as they heavily tested builds for more than a month. Each of them enjoyed being on top of every recent development and optimization, often discussing data points at length and offering up contributions to our release.

To celebrate what has been accomplished so far, we have been refreshing the beta network over the past few weeks, setting things up for even more success going forward. This refresh essentially creates a whole new beta network, but what exactly does this mean?

  • A new genesis block is defined in V20.0+ builds which effectively establishes a new beta network, as all blocks need to be traced back to this genesis one.
  • Its participants decide the network state. As long as there is at least one node with the old ledger (tracing back to the old genesis block), the old beta network will continue to exist, somewhere.
  • As more people join the new network, it becomes the de facto beta network for testing the most recent developments.
  • Testers only need to delete their existing ledgers and upgrade their nodes to the latest V20.0 build to participate on the new beta network.

Part of the decision to reset the beta network was to allow a redistribution of the voting weight, allowing broader community participation and responsibility. The weight distribution follows a list that was agreed upon by active beta testers and will result in the majority of the voting weight being permanently online. This redistribution will allow anyone to perform their tests as necessary when they need.

The decentralized nature of the Open Representative Voting consensus mechanism makes it challenging to test openly in a public network. We are thankful to have experienced and responsible representative owners to rely on, allowing us to be more confident in the results measured with each change.

We’ve also made it easier to generate valid work for blocks by lowering the work threshold by 16 times, allowing for easier generation of large volumes of blocks for network stress and saturation tests. Previously these took a few days to generate; they can now be done multiple times per day for faster testing cycles.

Beta testing of V19.0 saw a total of six Release Candidate (RC) builds deployed. We have since made changes to the deployment pipeline for quicker turnaround, so we are introducing Development Builds (DB) in the process. These builds will be deployed more frequently, both as major features make it into the development branch, and when performance tweaks are desired. They allow for testing a smaller set of features and bug fixes with each successive build, giving higher confidence in establishing a causal relationship between the changes we made and the results observed. The introduction of DBs also reflects the status of RC builds and their potential for being shipped.

Participating in beta testing

While a majority of the beta funds will have been distributed to previous beta testers, we welcome and appreciate anyone setting up a node, no matter how capable performance-wise. However, your contribution to beta testing will be more helpful if you can ensure that you will:

  • Keep your node up-to-date with the latest release, whether with automated tools or manually
  • Participate in discussions and provide results through our Discord server on the #beta-net channel
  • Tell others about all the tests you perform in advance
  • Create Github issues with your findings

If you meet the criteria above, then here is how you can get involved in beta testing:

  1. Read our documentation to learn how to set up a node and how we perform tests
  2. Join the Discord server and let us know you’re running a beta node — you will get a sweet Beta Tester role and get notified on updates and new developments

In our next article, we will let you know about the most recent changes that are coming with V20 — Lydia.

Nano

The best place for all of the latest Nano updates, developments and interviews. Brought to you by the Nano Foundation.

Guilherme Lawless

Written by

Nano Developer, Roboticist

Nano

Nano

The best place for all of the latest Nano updates, developments and interviews. Brought to you by the Nano Foundation.

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