Node Provider Maintenance Guide

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See the Node Provider Troubleshooting guide for info on troubleshooting failed onboardings, unhealthy nodes, networking, and more.

Submitting NNS proposals

As a part of being a Node Provider, you will likely have to submit some NNS proposals. The page at the following link describes some of these proposals: Node Provider NNS proposals


You are expected to regularly monitor the health of your nodes. Node health status is available on the public dashboard. Example: node status.

Community Tools and Resources

Several node providers have generously shared tools to facilitate monitoring node health. These tools can provide notifications in case of node issues.

Aviate Labs Node Monitor

DIY Node Monitoring

Prometheus Exporter for Node Status

Common maintenance tasks

Permitted tools

For security and confidentiality reasons, other tools are not allowed to run on the same machine in parallel with the replica. In case you need to troubleshoot an issue, it is recommended to either boot the machine from a USB drive that has a live Linux distribution (e.g. Ubuntu) or to debug from an auxiliary machine in the same rack on which you have complete control, as described in Unhealthy Nodes#Setting Up an Auxiliary Machine for Network Diagnostics

Scheduled DC outages

When your DC notifies you of a scheduled outage, you must:

  • Notify DFINITY on the Node Provider Matrix channel
  • Make sure your nodes return to one of the healthy statuses when the DC outage is resolved:
    • Active in Subnet - The node is healthy and actively functioning within a subnet.
    • Awaiting Subnet - The node is operational and prepared to join a subnet when necessary.
  • If a node is degraded at first, give it a little bit of time in case it needs to catch up, but make sure that it does return to one of the two healthy statuses.

Node rewards based on useful work

The Internet Computer protocol can tolerate up to 1/3 of nodes misbehaving. There is an ongoing activity to automatically issue node rewards based on useful work, and also to automatically reduce node remuneration in case nodes are misbehaving. This will provide a financial incentive for honest behavior. Please follow the forum and the Matrix channel to stay informed about these activities.

In the meantime, the recommendation is to prepare for this by making sure that your nodes are online and healthy at all times, otherwise you risk penalties even before the automatic node rewards based on useful work become active.

Subnet recovery

In case subnet recovery is needed, we may have to reach out to you for assistance. Please make sure you closely follow activities in the Matrix Channel, and enable notifications on new messages -- especially direct mentions.

General best practices

  1. Keep a separate machine in the same rack with appropriate tools for network diagnostics and troubleshooting
  2. Engage with the node provider community for support and to share effective troubleshooting techniques

Setting Up an Auxiliary Machine for Network Diagnostics

Robust Internet connectivity is essential. Without access to internal node logs and metrics, troubleshooting requires alternative strategies, including the use of an auxiliary machine within the same rack. Here's a brief outline for setting up an auxiliary machine in the same rack, while following best security practices:

  1. Hardware Setup:
    • Choose a server with sufficient resources to run diagnostic tools without impacting its performance. There is no need to follow the gen1/gen2 hardware requirements for this server (since this node would not be joining the IC network) but make sure the server is performant enough to run network tests.
    • Ensure physical security measures are in place to prevent unauthorized access.
  2. Operating System and Software:
    • Install a secure operating system, like a minimal installation of Linux (we prefer Ubuntu 22.04), which reduces the attack surface.
    • Keep the system updated with the latest security patches and firmware updates.
  3. Network Configuration:
    • Configure the machine with an IPv6 address in the same range as the IC nodes, for accurate testing.
    • Set up a restrictive firewall on the machine to allow only the necessary inbound and outbound traffic. Consider allowing Internet access for this machine only during troubleshooting sessions, and keeping the machine behind a VPN at other times.
  4. Diagnostic Tools:
    • Install network diagnostic tools such as ping, traceroute, nmap, tcpdump, and iperf.
    • Configure monitoring tools to simulate node activities and track responsiveness.
  5. Security Measures:
    • Use strong, unique passwords for all accounts and change them regularly. Or, preferably, do not use passwords at all, and use key-based access instead.
    • Implement key-based SSH authentication and disable root login over SSH.
    • Regularly review logs for any unusual activities that might indicate a security breach.
  6. Maintenance and Updates:
    • Regularly update all software to the latest versions.
    • Periodically test your network diagnostic tools to ensure they are functioning as expected.

Peer-support and bug reports / resolution: Node Provider Matrix Channel

Node Providers are encouraged to join the dedicated Node Provider Matrix channel. This platform can be used for discussing maintenance-related queries and sharing insights, report issues, and search for previous resolutions for operations.

Please consult the Matrix channel for troubleshooting issues only after consulting the Node Provider Troubleshooting guide

Communication Guidelines on the Matrix Channel

As a Node Provider, ensure your notifications are enabled to receive new messages promptly. Your input or intervention might be crucial, especially in urgent situations.

It is recommended to add the node provider name to your alias (handle) on the communication platform, to facilitate communication and enable others to quickly and easily mention you.