Protofire to Build a Failover Solution for Polkadot
May 12, 2020 · 3 min read

With a grant from Web3 Foundation, Protofire is developing a failover mechanism to increase the uptime of Polkadot validator nodes.

We are proud to announce that Protofire has received a grant from Web3 Foundation to contribute to the Polkadot ecosystem. During the first milestone, Protofire created a minimum viable product of a failover mechanism for operators running nodes on the Polkadot network.

The solution provides infrastructure as code, increasing the uptime of Polkadot nodes and eliminating the risk of being slashed. Polkadot is the flagship project of Web3 Foundation.

Optimizing the uptime of validator nodes

On the Polkadot network, validators secure the relay chain that connects the components of the network, validate and verify proofs, as well as participate in consensus with other validator nodes.

The idea behind the solution by Protofire is to create a failover mechanism to ensure validator nodes — distributed across multiple cloud regions — remain stable in case of slashing due to double signing, node failure as a result of network loss, etc.

The failover mechanism employs the Consul consensus protocol to manage the state of all nodes on the network. Ran under the Raft algorithm, the solution requires at least three nodes to start the failover script. Once a node becomes elected as a validator, the other two continue operating in the archive mode. In case the validator node goes down, the failover mechanism quickly destroys it and replaces it with an automatically created node.

The team behind the project has completed its first milestone. As a further step, it is planned to add Docker image support, enabling users on the Polkadot network to easily install their nodes with zero downtime. Deployed to Amazon Web Services, the system will also support Terraform scripts for Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure.

For more details, check out the project’s GitHub repository.

About Protofire

Protofire, a Web3-focused division of Altoros, has proven expertise in building decentralized protocols and developer platforms to accelerate growth of their ecosystems. By delivering hands-on coding and contributions, Protofire specializes in supercharging developer adoption and network usage.

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