Recent events have tested the faith of Solana developers, with some contemplating leaving the platform. But we’re glad to see that the community is resilient and continues to work on the infrastructure and applications for end users.

Today, we’re delighted to release an open-source load balancer for Solana RPCs. It enables devs to reroute requests from Solana’s delinquent public RPC nodes to active ones, guaranteeing availability to service your requests.

Check it out and share any feedback on our Discord. Developers can also build a Docker image from the source code or use a ready-made image from Docker Hub.

Why are Solana RPCs important?

Crypto wallets are not actually connected to the blockchain despite “holding” user assets. An RPC node is required to execute the code that is usually generated when a user interacts with the wallet. This code is sent to pre-selected RPC nodes for execution and inclusion in the blockchain. If these nodes fail or deny requests, the application won’t work.

Many developers opt for public RPCs because of the high costs of running private RPC endpoints-the cheapest option starts at $1000 per month. However, public RPC endpoints are usually hosted by centralized entities, such as Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, and Hetzner.

Hetzner, for instance, decided early this month to stop providing its services to entities running Solana nodes, taking a whopping 22% of the network’s nodes offline. Although the incident did not take Solana down, it highlights how it remains vulnerable to relying on centralized providers to run your RPC nodes. When Hetzner turned = Solana nodes off, many apps crashed as their selected RPC nodes went offline.

Of course, some developers might try to avoid a similar situation by creating a script, module or standalone app that switches to a spare RPC endpoint automatically where there’s any problem with the primary node. However, if the alternate node fails too, you will have nothing else to do and your dApps will definitely go offline.

This is why we created extrnode load balancer.

What is an extrnode open-source load balancer?

extrnode open-source load balancer is a Solana RPC solution that distributes requests within a cluster of Solana’s public RPC nodes. It reroutes requests to another active RPC endpoint automatically when the RPC node in use is down, giving your dApp access to RPC nodes at all times. When any one node fails, there is always another node available to service your dApp.

Apart from providing reliability to RPC nodes, extrnode also offers the following benefits:

  • extrnode load balancer will be free to use. Simply run the open-source load balancer on Docker, connect to it, and all is set up.
  • One can configure the open-source load balancer to pick up the closest RPCs with the fastest response time.
  • extrnode is a community-driven project, meaning users can share ideas, modify their clients, and contribute to the project’s source code.

If a developer wants to run a Solana RPC node using a load balancer, they have only three options:

  • Use decentralized but paid balancers. Be prepared to pay in volatile project tokens.
  • Try free but centralized balancers. Because users can only access an RPC of a single provider, this reduces the solution’s reliability in case of attacks.
  • Build a DIY load balancer. This option is difficult and expensive, as the development would require a team, money, and infrastructure to host the solution.

With the above options, one can choose to pay for a decentralized service or use a free centralized solution. Whichever option is chosen, one has to worry about sudden shutdowns, imposed rate limits, and denied requests.

How extrnode load balancer helps developers maintain uptime

Using extrnode open-source load balancer gives developers uninterrupted access to RPC nodes, allowing their users to use the apps without any delays or errors. It means that developers no longer have to ask users to switch manually to other RPCs to continue enjoying the service.

The extrnode solution will also save developers from having to build their own custom load balancer-an expensive and difficult thing to do. You will need a huge team with the necessary funds and expertise. On top of that, you will need a network of validators and infrastructure providers to work with. 

Devs can use the current extrnode version to test applications on the mainnet. We cannot guarantee its quality yet, which is why we ask that you do not use this load balancer for consumer-ready applications.

We are releasing a free public load balancer hosted on Everstake‘s infrastructure. There will also be a Premium version for production use. To use the free public load balancer, developers must send requests to extrnode’s RPC endpoint so that the load balancer can redirect them to available RPCs.

The Premium load balance will only be available to the most reliable and fastest validators in the RPC cluster. These include 01node, Chainflow, Imperator, Chainode Tech, Stakin, Staking Facilities, and Triton One.

extrnode open-source load balancer is currently available on Solana. We decided to launch the product on Solana first to gauge its uptake and gather feedback from the community before scaling it to other blockchains. Not only is Solana a Web3 powerhouse, it’s backed by a strong community that remains confident in Web3 despite such challenges as the market downturn and the Hetzner ban.

Is using a load balancer safe?

extrnode open-source load balancer will have a fail-safe request rerouting mechanism. Help us improve the product by testing it and sharing your feedback with us.

Keep your eyes peeled for a separate premium solution for customers with higher security requirements. Such enterprise-level version of extrnode will accept the most reliable and fastest validators only. With this version, we hope to achieve complete decentralization while protecting clients against unexpected events.

Want to learn more? Follow extrnode on Twitter and join our Discord to get all latest updates, ask questions, and participate in community events.


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