Monthly report: June 2018

This June was an excellent month for SONM highlighting the most important step in product development —  shipping. The very first version of SONM decentralized computing power marketplace was released, and now we’re entering in the user acquisition phase. All the way long, SONM precisely followed the roadmap, releasing in time. Keeping promises is a part of our corporate identity, and we’re proud of it. We want to thank you all for the support, and thank you for being with us this far!

Preparing to the launch, we completely rebuild our website, adding a completely new look to better suit our changed needs. SONM is shifting towards customer oriented communication and experience, so there will be more UI/UX changes ahead.

We actively shared our news on social media and blogs, made a couple of great joint content projects with great folks along the way.

This heavy workload didn’t stop us from spending all June preparing for the most influential tech conference in Asia — RISE. This event marked the start of active region exploration for SONM, and we had a remarkable presence there with a wide range of speaking opportunities. More details will be shared in July report, in couple of weeks.

We also started building the product awareness in this region, actively talking to media and explaining the product and its meaning to the industry. The feedback we encountered was very positive, and resulted in more than a hundred media mentions in June.

Development

Product launch: Livenet is live!

On June 30, SONM finally presented users with the first version of its product: the Livenet infrastructure for decentralized fog computing. SONM users can now rent out and buy computing resources.

Via the SONM marketplace, customers can rent capacity to use for computing tasks such as big data analysis, machine learning, CGI rendering, streaming, hosting, and СDN, as well as the use of proxy servers and mining.

Customers save up to 80% on the rental of computing resources compared to the cost of the services of traditional cloud providers.

Owners of personal computers, servers and mining farms can monetize their hardware by renting out the resources of their CPUs, GPUs, hard disks, RAM and networks for the solution of real-world business tasks.

Suppliers and consumers of fog computing will interact with one another via the SONM blockchain-based marketplace. Mutual settlements between participants of deals will be conducted in SNM tokens. Interaction between suppliers and consumers will be regulated using a logic algorithm by smart contracts that have passed auditing.

Preparation and deployment of the Livenet infrastructure

We have finished work on the current stage of software development. Our team has moved mountains to prepare everything required for the production launch of the platform – please find details below.

Testnet fixes and updates

We have carried out a full testing cycle using a testnet version with community feedback:

  • the core team closed a total of 39 bug issues (found in the testnet phase) and additionally closed 81 tasks.
  • the GUI team fixed 49 bugs and closed 21 tasks.

To maintain continuous delivery we established these testing facilities:

  • Automatic functional testing. We have set up automatic testing for the majority of the platform’s components, in particular the automated deployment script system. This system performs automatic functional testing of the latest program codes on test servers.
  • Automatic load testing. We have also carried out automatic load testing with the help of software that simulates loads on the network.

Infrastructure deployment

In the future this system will be fully decentralized, but while system development is underway, some of its components are being provided centrally. At present we are providing a set of sidechain components (mining nodes, sync nodes), as well as other p2p components (DWH, gates, Relay and Rendezvous) centrally. Servers for these components have been provisioned and fine-tuned, components deployed, load balancers installed where applicable etc.

Infrastructure monitoring

Our team has also launched a system to monitor the infrastructure using Prometheus, additional scripts and telegram bots.

Smart contract finalization and migration technology

Smart contracts are invented and designed to be immutable on the blockchain. They must be securely deployed and never be changed. However, it is obvious that a developing and evolving decentralized system will have updates to its protocol, and to maintain these changes in the future we need to prepare for them today. This raises a set of tricky questions, which we have solved:

  • Smart contract finalization. We have managed to finalize the smart contracts and all components of the network that collectively form what is called a “Protocol.” After all, SONM’s spirit is its protocol, a set of interfaces for smart contracts and p2p services. This set of interfaces is hard to update (this is usually done via hardforks), and this is especially hard for deployed smart contracts, which are immutable (you cannot update them).
  • Audit of smart contracts. Finalized smart contracts have been submitted for a security audit, which must ensure that all operations related to money are implemented in a safe way. For this we prepared a description and technical task for external contractors. Two independent companies (Hacken and SmartDec) have already carried out an audit on the code for smart contracts, which has a critical relationship to payment operations. We are satisfied with the preliminary results of the audit. Hacken and SmartDec made the audit and gave a positive opinion on the results.
  • Migration of smart contracts. Migration on decentralized systems is significantly more complex than on centralized: the protocol is updated with hardforks, and smart contracts are immutable. To change smart contracts you have to deploy new versions, but then you need to migrate data and possibly tokens. Foreseeing the objective need to update the system in the future, we have prepared migration architecture and the necessary instruments have been put in place in advance.

Next development steps

As reported earlier, our team has switched to rolling releases and continuous delivery. This means that we will no longer be waiting for some major release in X months’ time that will instantly add a large number of functions to the product. Instead, we will be rolling out small updates on a continuous basis as they become available, and will not be tied to specific dates. In the coming months we will be working on the improvements as described below.

Work in progress

The following essential features have already been implemented but not tested enough to be included in a release yet:

  • Differentiation of network traffic. Work on differentiating network traffic has been completed.
  • Differentiation of disk space. A prototype solution for the differentiation of disk space has been created.

These will be tested and released when ready.

The following features have been identified, some are already in progress and will be released in the upcoming months as part of a “GP-IaaS” feature set and future feature sets (when ready, priority not guaranteed):

  • Autoinstaller. At this moment we have SONM components distributed as Debian packages and we provide scripts for one command installation, however this must be done on a already prepared Linux operating system. An autoinstaller raises this to a whole new level: it allows to boot from a flash drive, format the disk, install Linux, all the required drivers and libraries (Docker) and then install SONM components from packages. The vision is that it will only ask to confirm the disk format and ask for the Ethereum key of the worker Master. This will be the first phase of the future Trusted Platform.
  • Integration with Changelly. In the near future there are plans to integrate the Changelly crypto exchange into the SONM wallet. This is important because it gives users the ability to purchase SNM tokens with a credit card.
  • KYC level 3. This is required to run custom code as Docker containers. Currently we provide KYC3 only as part of a special promotion for early partners, but it should work without our interference.
  • User agreement embedded in the system. Users need to accept the agreement (liability etc).
  • Supplier-customer agreements embedded as part of the deal. Suppliers and customers will have an electronic agreement, filled with their identification data and signed with their keys (Ethereum keys).
  • SLA and rating system. This will allow to SLA to be defined and checked for SONM services and maintainedon the supplier’s side using ratings.
  • Gate masternodes. [See article about masternodes]. Here we foresee a great breakthrough in gate technology: this will be described later.
  • Computing validity consensus algorithm. Obviously this is a required feature. Until we implement one, customers must maintain this on the application side. If and when we provide a consensus algorithm for computations,- this will allow application owners to rely on platform services.

Strategic priorities

Our priorities for the upcoming year are as follows:

  • Kubernetes integration. We are working to provide support for Kubernetes on SONM in a set of different use cases. It should be possible to host K8s clusters and tasks on SONM.
  • Stateless and serverless. We see this class of tasks as promising: they could make use of SONM’s strong points (extremely cheap and scalable execution), at the same time being tolerant with SONM challenging aspects.
  • Fog services. To be described later.

The active phase of expanding the business is beginning! All summer we will be actively attracting suppliers and consumers of computing resources to the platform. The SONM decentralized fog computing platform will soon be developing and scaling up.

Marketing

June turned out to be a very fruitful month for our project. More than 100 articles mentioning SONM appeared in the press in June, with a substantial percentage published in Asian region. Our decentralized fog computing platform is now familiar to readers of Chinese, Japanese and South Korean media, representing a collective audience of billions views. For example, the Сhinese publication Sohu.com, which published an article about SONM, boasts a monthly audience of 592 million views.

Let us share with you some of them we recommend to pay a special attention to:

  • SONM CTO Igor Lebedev wrote a column for the TechBullion publication in which he highlighted the five main trends in software development in 2018.
  • SONM co-founder Alexei Antonov gave an interview to the CoinGeek resource in which he talked about the advantages of SONM fog computing over traditional cloud services: “While a consumer of computing resources can rent a NVIDIA Tesla V100 (P3.2xlarge) module for $660 a month at a hash rate of 94 MH/s, the rental of a comparable volume of computing power via the SONM marketplace will cost around $137 a month. The reason is simple: the suppliers of computing resources on the SONM platform are PC owners with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 GPUs. The savings for consumers of SONM computing resources can reach 80% in comparison with services provided by cloud platforms,” he said.
  • In an interview with Digital Journal, SONM co-founder Alexei Antonov talked about the ways of digitalizing businesses: “There are no magic “digitalizers” that can change the way your business works. So, if you want to digitize your business, start with your team,” he said.

Website updates

For the launch of Livenet we planned a global update for our website. We began with a major restructuring of the site, worked our way through several versions, and developed contact points for users (the Customer Journey Map). Along with the product team we have highlighted our main target audiences and prepared promotional material for them.

We have moved the SONM blog from Medium to our own blog platform as one of the steps for SEO optimization improvement. As the next steps we consider a special how-to section launch to help users understand SONM better, and a special page for the community with an events calendar, giveaways and contests.

Social networks

We have begun systematic work on implementing SONM’s new content strategy on social media. Our strategy is based on a structural approach to classification and subject headings, the introduction of modern media content formats and an integrated approach to working with the community.

The first block of work is concentrated on content. We have already managed to do a lot. In the last few months, for example, a lot more new formats have appeared in our social media communities: animation, video, infographics and live updates.

In June we experimented with a new format of countdown to share our excitement with you.

The massive release is tomorrow!

The massive release is tomorrow! 1 day till LIVENET! Are you ready for the real world tasks implementation on fog computing platform?

Posted by SONM on Friday, June 29, 2018

2 days left

2 days and LIVENET is here! #SONM

Posted by SONM on Thursday, June 28, 2018

3 days until SONM Livenet release!

3 days until SONM Livenet release! Prepare your task and get ready to have it done quickly!

Posted by SONM on Wednesday, June 27, 2018

1 Week Countdown!

One week till SONM goes live. Are you a Supplier or a Customer? Choose your side!

Posted by SONM on Saturday, June 23, 2018

Additionally, when planning content, we try to balance the information flow in such a way that on the one hand we publicize all the important news events as much as possible, but on the other we don’t overload the feeds of our subscribers with a huge stream of posts.

Community growth

Over the last month the SONM community has grown by 1,800 subscribers. We are grateful for your trust and welcome new participants! We would be delighted to receive your feedback and suggestions on how to improve SONM.

Team News

We have strengthened our focus on development and our content department, which is especially important for us. Meet the new members of the SONM team:

Fyodor Sakharov, Software Developer. Fyodor has experience of developing system software and IS. Over several years he has developed kernel and user space applications in С language. He is also interested in machine learning and functional programming. Perhaps he will share his knowledge by creating interesting articles for our blog.

Andrei Shmelev, Frontend Developer. Andrei Shmelev has been working in the IT sphere since 2005 as a full stack web developer. He has been developing programs in the Microsoft technology stack for more than 10 years. Until 2013 he was responsible for the automatization, planning and monitoring of the Russian municipal education budget at the R.O.S.T.U. company, after which he joined the NORBIT team in order to create a purchase system for RusHydro and the Central Bank. Since spring 2018 he has been responsible for the automatization of the sorting of correspondence in C#, WinService, SQLite, RabbitMQ and a client cross-platform application for sending data to a cloud printer for ReactJs and ElectronJs.

Alexander Tabernakulov, Senior Editor. Alexander is the founder of the digest about world financial technologies. He is also a participant in the Russian parliament’s expert council for legislative support for development of financial technologies. He worked for two years as editor-in-chief in a blockchain-focused communications agency. Alexander has a great experience in the preparation of content for blockchain and fintech projects, venture funds and startups funded by ICOs.

Summary

An important phase in our quest to conquer the market awaits us. After the launch of Livenet we will actively attract consumers and suppliers of computing resources to our platform. We will continue to scale our project, improve UX, and make the product easier accessible for users.

This month we took an important step towards global expansion. Participating in RISE conference helped us showcase the product in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as attract the new customers and partners we need to develop the project further. We’ll share the details of our participation in RISE conference and the latest details about the development of SONM in July report. Stay tuned!