MMS • Renato Losio
Google Cloud recently announced the private preview of Blockchain Node Engine, a managed node-hosting option for Web3 development. Ethereum will be the first blockchain supported.
Designed to help Web3 developers build and deploy on blockchain-based platforms, the new managed service monitors the nodes and restarts them during outages. Amit Zavery, GM/VP engineering at Google, and James Tromans, director of Cloud Web3 at Google, explain:
While self-managed nodes are often difficult to deploy and require constant management, Blockchain Node Engine is a fully managed node-hosting service that can minimize the need for node operations. Web3 companies who require dedicated nodes can relay transactions, deploy smart contracts, and read or write blockchain data with the reliability, performance, and security they expect from Google Cloud compute and network infrastructure.
According to the cloud provider, the main benefits for Web3 organizations will be streamlined provisioning, managed operations, and secure development, including placing nodes behind a Virtual Private Cloud firewall and integrating with Cloud Armor as a protection against DDoS attacks. Zavery and Tromans add:
Today, manually deploying a node is a time-intensive process that involves provisioning a compute instance, installing an Ethereum client (e.g. geth), and waiting for the node to sync with the network. Syncing a full node from the first block (i.e., genesis) can take several days. Google Cloud’s Blockchain Node Engine can make this process faster and easier by allowing developers to deploy a new node with a single operation.
The preview of the node-hosting service on Google Cloud triggered popular debates on Twitter and Reddit, with some users excited about the new option and others questioning if cloud providers will keep the promise of decentralization. User Lazy_Physicist highlights how the announcement can help spreading nodes among different providers:
You know how people say a concerning quantity of Ethereum nodes are run in AWS? Now you can do the same in Google Cloud. Basically Google just streamlined the provisioning of a node that you can run a validator on. Definitely a centralizing force but usually more options are better.
Earlier this year Google announced the Digital Assets Team to support customers building, transacting and deploying on blockchain-based platforms. Solana and Dapper Labs are among the Web3 companies already running on Google Cloud.
Google Cloud is not the only provider working on managed blockchain options: AWS offers Amazon Managed Blockchain, a service to join public networks or manage private networks using Hyperledger Fabric or Ethereum. Microsoft recently retired Azure Blockchain Service and Azure Blockchain Workbench. User AusIV comments:
If you’re running an application that needs scale and reliability you’re way better off with an RPC gateway than a managed node. If you’re trying to support the network by running a node, managed services are definitely not the way to do it. The network has a problem with the percentage of nodes run in a small handful of service providers.
A form is available to join the private preview of Blockchain Node Engine.