Monthly report: December 2018

Now that 2019 has arrived with fireworks and great expectations and plans, let’s look back to December 2018, which was hardly any less intensive than previous months. We shifted development, business, and marketing into high gear, and we don’t plan on throttling down.

Full of new development releases, this month was very positive and full from all sides. The community brought us new victories, the support vehicle was running in full swing, and two new tutorials were released. On the business side, Sonm launched two important initiatives, the strategic one with video-making studio POSTKINO FX, which finally resulted in rendering tasks being tested on Sonm, and collaboration with decentralized CDN project Teleport. Read about our December achievements in the report below and share your feedback!

Product development

In this section, we cover the main achievements of the development team.

Product

Platform

  • Implemented an alpha version of the new Marketplace. The new version of the marketplace is now deployed on a test bench and is in the testing stages. This release is not compatible with the old version and contains many new features:
    • the modernization of the Marketplace by the principles of CRUD — this is a required step to separate data storage and logic in smart contracts to make migration possible
    • the implementation of the Marketplace migration mechanism (necessary when new versions are released, and old ones are replaced)
    • the implementation of the Rating & SLA system
    • support for a new type of benchmark, Bit benchmarks (for example, to determine support for a particular instruction in CPU or GPU)
    • geolocation support for Suppliers/Workers in orders on the Marketplace (currently implemented only for Workers)
  • Implemented a prototype solution for video-rendering services using Sonm resources. The prototype was successfully tested in December on a real task. The working prototype of the solution involves the use of the following components for video rendering: rendering managers Afanasy and Deadline and render engines Blender and Redshift. Now, on the basis of this prototype, a SaaS service is being developed for users.
  • Implemented Blockchain Explorer, and when alpha testing comes to an end in the very near future, a beta version will be released. Keep following this story, as more information will be published soon. After the stabilization of Blockchain Explorer, Market Explorer will be released on its base.
  • Implemented the beta version of Sonm OS for installation on computers running Windows. This version makes use of VirtualBox Virtual Machine, and the whole machinery is installed automatically by the installer. This way a virtualization technique IS used, but the user is not required to know or understand how it works. More information will be available soon.
  • Continued the alpha testing and revision of the Sonm OS version with the installation option based on the Debian installer and the “live USB” boot mode with the Windows-based software installer to prepare the Sonm OS USB drive. One of the new features that the installer will include is an automatic withdrawal function, which will allow equipment suppliers to specify an Ethereum address for automatic withdrawal, similar to the way it works in the mining pool.
  • Adjusted the requirements for the referral system to reward network users, which contribute to the growth of the platform. The referral system will be implemented based on the new version of the Marketplace after its deployment on the Livenet Sonm.

Changelog

v0.4.20

  • Added TTL for servers in Rendezvous.
  • Optimus algorithm improvements: reduced default branch-bound model thresholds, switched to the default optimization method while calculating the current worker’s price.
  • Added a smart contract migration feature (in preparation for the introduction of the new Marketplace).
  • Implemented small improvements in system stability.
  • Fixed platform component bugs.

Implementations in progress:

  • Work is in progress on the first SaaS-service based on Sonm – video rendering. This service, among other things, offers payment in fiat currency.
  • There are ongoing testing and refinement of the new version of the Marketplace on the test stand.
  • Work is in progress in implementing a prototype of the SaaS service Machine learning, based on Sonm resources (using a TensorFlow framework and Jupyter notebook). Service will begin immediately after the implementation of the SaaS service for video rendering.
  • There is continued alpha testing and revision of the Sonm OS version with the installation option based on the Debian Installer and with the “live USB” boot mode with the Windows-based software installer to prepare the Sonm OS USB drive.
  • Work on the implementation of Sonm token purchases with bank cards and wire transfers has been suspended because of our decision to open a bank account, which took a very long time. Despite the difficulties, we have found a solution, and we look forward to the completion of all formal procedures to open a bank account in January 2019 and return to the implementation of this function in February 2019.
  • The Market Explorer has been designed and is in the final stages of implementation. The Explorer uses the API of the new version of Sonm Market. After the beta testing of Blockchain Explorer has been completed and the Livenet Sonm switches to the new version of the marketplace, the new Market Explorer version will be released for testing.

Research in progress:

  • Research is underway on a web-based control panel for purchasing and managing services. A concept solution architecture and UI has already been developed.
  • Research is underway on various options for implementing Gate Masternodes and Sidechain PoS to determine the best solution. We are investigating Plasma options and other possible solutions.

Business & Marketing Achievements

Industry cooperation // Binance

We have been actively collaborating with industry players since the very beginning of Sonm’s history. In December, we actively communicated with the Binance exchange, which resulted in Sonm joining Binance Info’s transparency initiative and receiving V-Label status. By sharing project-related updates and progress reports on Binance Info, we are helping keep the community informed.

Then, we also added Binance’s Trust Wallet as one of the available ways to store SNM tokens. To download the wallet (with SNM tokens as the default currency) use http://bit.ly/snm_trustwallet.

In December 2018, Sonm co-founder Aleksei Antonov spoke at the Binance Moscow meetup, which drew many crypto enthusiasts from all around the country.



Partnerships and new initiatives

Sonm partners with Teleport, a blockchain-driven CDN project

This month was also very fruitful for new partnerships. First, Sonm announced its collaboration with Teleport, a blockchain-driven CDN project. The Teleport CDN will be powered with computing resources available on the Sonm platform. The teams have successfully implemented an integration prototype (Teleport on Sonm) and conducted several functional tests of the combined technological stack. Tests included running real traffic on the Teleport demo booth, which showed exactly how the Teleport decentralized CDN functions: Viewers came to the website and watched videos, and at the same time, the majority of the traffic was loaded from Teleport distributed nodes that operated on the Sonm & Teleport joint technological stack.

Sonm partners with POSTKINO FX to run fog-rendering in post-production

One of the most significant achievements of the month was the launch of a joined initiative with studio POSTKINO FX, which successfully proved Sonm’s ability to provide an efficient fog-rendering solution. Studio POSTKINO FX deals with the creation of computer graphics for cinematography and TV and is one among companies to use Sonm to render their tasks. The MEGAFON provider, which is the second-largest mobile phone operator and the third-largest telecom operator in Russia, operates as the end customer for the graphics created, and as such, the task Sonm directed to was highly sensitive.

“When the deadlines are strict and fast approaching and the situation changes all the time, sometimes tasks change right in the middle of the process, and we have to react immediately. Sonm reacted perfectly and took on the new tasks. Great job, nothing to add.”

Ivan Lebedev,
POSTKINO FX CEO & CG Supervisor

The whole process took 19 hours, and including the re-rendering of two episodes and numerous broken frames, we rendered 632 pictures. The average rendering speed was 33 frames per hour, and the process ran on 21 GTX 1070 video cards.

Website development

At Sonm, we have continued developing information material to help our users. One of the most recent advancements was the update of the Support page by expanding the range of guidance and helpful material to provide the community and our clients with the information they need.

We do our best to develop and submit the most detailed and step-by-step tutorials for our users to start using the Sonm platform easily. That’s why we’ve released both a supplier and a customer manual in a new tutorial form inspired by industry leaders like Ubuntu. Try these and share your feedback on your experience.

Community

The community Sonm has created around its product is simply awesome. We appreciate every single member and do our best to meet the community’s needs. At the same time, the community pushes us forward to new contests and victories, so let’s take a look at what we achieved together in December.

This month, the community’s votes brought us a victory in the DragonChain contest for the Best Decentralized Computing Project nomination. 44% of participants voted for Sonm in this contest. Thank you, guys!

Also, the community launched a charity initiative to support [email protected] (FAH or [email protected]), a distributed computing project for disease research that simulates protein folding, computational drug design, and other types of molecular dynamics. With Sonm, anyone can contribute computational power for medical research by converting their Bitcoins or Ethers to SNM.

Conclusion

These are the greatest things that happened to Sonm in the last month of 2018.

We also posted a 2018 overview, which covers the most important stories from Sonm’s life and development (special thanks to everyone who has stayed with us!). Check it out to quickly get a global picture of how we spent the year.

In 2019, we will keep developing the Sonm platform to make it universal and user-friendly. We are planning for new achievements and partnerships and will report on updates directly to our lovely community. Thank you for staying with us! We wish you all the best in the new year!