Node Provider Roadmap

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Intro

This page serves as a guide designed to facilitate the process of becoming a Node Provider for the Internet Computer network. For those seeking to contribute to the network's decentralized infrastructure by hosting operational nodes, this guide offers a structured and informed approach.

The Node Provider roadmap outlines what is required of Node Providers, the reward model of the Internet Computer, guidance on hardware acquisition and data center contracts, in-depth best practices, node onboarding procedures, and much more.

Node Providers who have successfully completed this onboarding process are strongly encouraged to contribute their insights and wisdom to enhance this resource. Your valuable contributions can further enrich the guide. Collaboration is at the core of the Internet Computer community, and your participation can contribute to the success of new Node Providers!

Milestone One: Education

Here, you will learn more about the Internet Computer and the rewards/obligations of being a Node Provider.

Step 1: Learn about the Internet Computer

Before becoming a Node Provider, it is important to gain a base understanding of the Internet Computer.

For a comprehensive overview of the internet computer, read the Introduction to ICP wiki page as well as the official ICP website: internetcomputer.org. Here, you will learn about the Internet Computer, subnets, the NNS, proof of useful work, ICP tokens, Internet Identity, and other relevant concepts.

Step 2: Learn what it means to be a Node Provider

What is a Node Provider?

The Internet Computer operates as a decentralized network comprising nodes that run the Internet Computer protocol. These nodes are overseen by individual entities or organizations known as Node Providers. Node Providers manage and operate nodes on the network and, in return, earn rewards for their nodes' useful work. Each Node Provider is allocated a specific and limited number of nodes within the network.

Node Providers form the backbone of the Internet Computer, and it offers a pivotal role for those looking to engage in this ecosystem.

What does a Node Provider do?

It is the job of a Node Provider to:

  • Meet the skill, hardware, and networking requirements. These are detailed in milestones two and four.
  • Independently onboard as a Node Provider. This is detailed in milestone three.
  • Independently onboard their nodes. This is detailed in milestone five.
  • Provide maintenance to their own nodes when hardware or networking issues arise, as Node Providers are only rewarded for their nodes' useful work. This is detailed in milestone six.

What are the costs/rewards for being a Node Provider?

To understand the varying rewards and estimated costs of being a Node Provider, read the Node Provider Remuneration guide.

How do you apply to become a Node Provider?

Individuals or organizations can become Node Providers through submitting a proposal to the Network Nervous System (NNS). The NNS is a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) that governs the Internet Computer. The NNS is a collection of smart contracts running on the Internet Computer and includes a voting system where token-holders who have staked ICP may submit and vote on proposals.

The approval of a Node Provider registration proposal takes place through a vote on the NNS. If the proposal passes, the applicant will automatically be registered on the Internet Computer as a Node Provider. Once registered as a Node Provider, you can then purchase hardware, create a contract with a data center, and set up your node machines.

Milestone Two: Requirements

Here, you will learn more about the specific skill, hardware, networking, and data center requirements, as well as some best practices regarding decentralization and security.

Step 1: Understand requirements

Skill requirements

To function effectively as a Node Provider, certain technical skills are required. To assess your readiness, consider whether you or a member of your team can handle the necessary technical aspects, including:

  • Purchasing a node machine
  • Connecting ethernet or SFP+ cables between routers and servers
  • Installing USB based OS installers
  • Running commands from the command line
  • Troubleshooting network connectivity issues
  • Understanding the differences between IPv6 and IPv4
  • Following security best-practices

Note: A Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification (or equivalent knowledge) is strongly recommended to successfully complete network configuration.

Hardware requirements

Read the Node Provider Machine Hardware Guide.

Networking requirements

Read the Node Provider Networking Guide.

Step 2: Understand best practices

Read the Node Provider Decentralization and Security Guide.

Read the Node Provider Legal Guide.

Milestone Three: Node Provider Onboarding

Before ordering your hardware and obtaining a data center contract, you should first gain approval by the NNS DAO to be a Node Provider. You will do this by submitting a proposal to the NNS to make you an approved Node Provider. If you're approved, you will be able to add nodes to the Internet Computer network.

Step 1: Join Node Provider matrix channel

Join the Node Provider Matrix channel. Here, you can submit questions or comments related to obtaining the Node Provider requirements or being a Node Provider.

Step 2: Node Provider self-declaration

Node Providers should declare their identity and provide a statement of good intent so that the ICP DAO can make an informed decision. Failing to do so could reduce your chances of being approved by the NNS to become a Node Provider. See Node Provider Self-declaration.

Step 3: Order and setup your hardware wallet

You will require a hardware wallet to complete the Node Provider Onboarding. Follow these instructions to set up a Ledger Nano hardware wallet to manage your ICP tokens and NNS neurons.

Step 4: Node Provider onboarding

Follow the Node Provider Onboarding for detailed instructions on how to create a Node Provider ID and submit a proposal to become a Node Provider.

Milestone Four: Node Onboarding Preparation Checklist

Before you are ready to move on to onboard your nodes, it is important to verify that you have completed all necessary preparations. This milestone provides a mini-roadmap for you to follow to go about obtaining the requirements.

Step 1: Obtain hardware

The Node Provider Purchasing Hardware Guide will assist you in purchasing your node hardware.

The Node Provider Networking Guide will assist you in purchasing your networking hardware.

Step 2: Obtain data center contract

The Node Provider Data Center and ISP Guide will assist you in obtaining Data center and ISP contracts.

Step 3: Configuring networking requirements & rack and stack nodes

The Node Provider Networking Guide will assist you in configuring the networking equipment and rack and stacking your nodes.

Step 4: Reset BMC password

The BMC Password Reset Guide will assist you in resetting your BMC password. This is a crucial security measure you must take.

Milestone Five: Node Machine Onboarding

By this point, you should have been approved by the NNS as a Node Provider and have completed the Node Provider Onboarding preparation checklist. You are now ready to onboard your nodes to the Internet Computer! You do this by installing IC-OS on your node machines.

Note that all Node Providers are requested to deploy two nodes with IPv4 and a domain name for every data center they operate in. Node Providers should deploy IPv4 to the first two nodes in their first rack.

Step 1: IC-OS installation

If you encounter issues during the IC-OS installation, check the Node Provider Troubleshooting page. If that does not solve your problem, you are encouraged to ask for assistance in the Node Provider Matrix channel.

To install IC-OS, follow the Node Deployment Guide for your corresponding machine:

❗️❗️❗️DFINITY does not offer live support for Node Providers attempting to onboard nodes.

Step 2: Submit reward configuration proposal

After onboarding all your nodes, you must submit a reward configuration proposal in order to start receiving node rewards. If you do not do this, you will not receive node rewards.

The Node Provider Reward Configuration Guide will assist you.

Milestone Six: Node Management

Here, you will find important guidance and resources on managing and troubleshooting your nodes.

Step 1: Read the Node Provider Maintenance Guide

The Node Provider Maintenance Guide is designed to guide you through many of the tasks, questions or issues you may encounter throughout your career as a Node Provider. Additionally, it includes important best practices, of which all Node Providers should be aware.

Node Provider resources:

These guides provide additional assistance for certain Node Provider tasks:

To view the full list of Node Provider resources, see here


If these guides do not solve your problem, you are encouraged to ask for assistance in the Node Provider Matrix channel.