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Running a Node Overview

Running a node is a key way to help decentralize the network and provide a network access point for systems built on top of Nano. Before setting up a node we recommend reviewing the following details in order to understand more about the motivations for running, required upkeep, types and recommended specifications for nodes.

Why run a node?

By design, the incentives for running a Nano node are not built into the network itself, but instead are external. This is an important difference compared to nearly all other cryptocurrency networks and allows Nano to operate securely without transaction fees.12 These indirect, external incentives include the following and more:

  • Advertising exposure from their representative showing up on curated representative lists
  • Transaction fee savings for businesses and organizations accepting Nano as payment
  • Helping support and further decentralize a global payment network
  • Having a trusted access point for building additional software on the network

Regardless of the motivation for running a node, it will only benefit the network if proper care is taken to ensure it is run on correctly provisioned machines and ongoing maintenance of the node, OS and any supporting systems are routinely done.

Node types

Principal Representative Nodes

Currently, nodes configured with Representative accounts with at least 0.1% of the online voting weight delegated to them participate more broadly in network consensus because they send votes to their peers which are subsequently rebroadcast.

Becoming a Principal Representative

With the ability for any user on the network to redelegate their voting weight, even an account with no weight today can become a Principal Representative over time.

Representative Nodes

Nodes with less than 0.1% of online voting weight will validate and vote on transactions seen on the network; however, other peers on the network will not rebroadcast their votes.

Resources and ongoing maintenance

Nodes consume CPU, RAM, disk IO and bandwidth IO resources, all of which come at a cost. In order to keep the node participating and in-sync, the recommended specifications for machines based on node type below should be followed.

Hardware Recommendations

Principal Representative Node

The following are minimum recommended specifications for nodes with more than 0.1% of the online voting weight (Principal Representatives):

  • 4GB RAM
  • Quad-Core CPU
  • 250 MB/s bandwidth (2TB of available monthly bandwidth)
  • SSD-based hard drive

Representative Node

The following are minimum recommended specifications for nodes with less than 0.1% of the online voting weight (regular Representatives):

  • 2GB RAM (additional RAM or swap space may be needed if bootstrapping a new node from scratch)
  • Dual-Core CPU
  • 100 MB/s bandwidth (1TB of available monthly bandwidth)
  • SSD-based hard drive

Warning

Various factors affect resource usage including how often RPC calls are made, other applications running on the machine, etc. These recommendations should be evaluated along with other considerations.

Proof-of-Work Generation

For nodes being used with services requiring regular or high volume sending and receiving of transactions, special considerations must be made for handling Proof-of-Work generation activities.

GPUs provide much higher throughput than CPUs. Work peers can also be configured for generating work outside the node.

And with any system, ongoing maintenance must be taken into account to avoid issues:

  • Performing OS-level updates and security patches regularly applied
  • Upgrading to the latest node versions they are available
  • Following best practices for securing passwords or other sensitive data related to the node

Without taking care with the security and maintenance of systems hosting the node, any benefit to the network could be lost.