We are excited to announce that we have begun the soft roll-out for MIRA. MIRA is a cutting-edge scaling solution that we developed for Steem and stands for Multi Index RocksDB Adapter. It leverages state-of-the-art database technology developed by Facebook to dramatically reduce the cost of running the Steem blockchain by allowing nodes to store almost all necessary data on low cost (commodity) hardware instead of in RAM without degrading performance.
If you’d like to learn more about MIRA, be sure to check out the post being released alongside this announcement by @vandeberg, our senior blockchain developer. That post includes both audio and video versions of Episode 3 of The Steemit Podcast in which @vandeberg explores what MIRA is and why it is so important to Steem, and the blockchain world as a whole. You can also find both audio and video versions of the podcast at the bottom of this post.
With MIRA we are following the same strategy we employed when rolling out Hivemind and steemitwallet.com. Instead of simply releasing the software into production and hoping it doesn’t break, we gradually introduce the software into our production environment for limited periods of time. After these tests, we return to our previous environment, analyze the data, make whatever adjustments are necessary and then plan the next tests.
We have actually performed such tests multiple times over the past month, but this week we expect to be running steemit.com almost entirely on MIRA! Because we’ve already made numerous improvements based on our past tests, we don’t expect many issues, but if you do come across bugs that you believe might be related to MIRA, please let us know in the comments section below. As this is a soft roll-out, we will be prepared at all times to immediately switch back to our previous production environment so that we can ensure uninterrupted use of steemit.com.
The REAL Scaling Challenge
That means that if you are using a Steem application that uses Steemit’s nodes (steemit.com and most other Steem apps do) then you are accessing a blockchain which is now being stored on commodity-hardware! This is the scaling challenge that no one else is talking about because no other blockchain has applications with as much real-time engagement and traffic as Steem. Other high-performance blockchain protocols accomplish their speed by storing their blockchain database in RAM. RAM is incredibly expensive and unlike commodity-hardware, its price is not decreasing at an exponential rate. That's why the cost of building apps on those blockchains costs around $55,000 for every 1,000 users onboarded!
RAM & nVME Reductions
Thanks to MIRA, we will likely be able to reduce the amount of RAM being used in our Steem node by 50% and the nVME usage by 100%! Instead of using nVMEs, we can switch entirely to generic network backed SSDs. This should reduce the costs of running a node to a fraction of what it used to be. Best of all, this dramatic improvement didn’t even require a hardfork.
It is our hope that some time next week MIRA will be running live in production full time. Soon after that we plan to have a public release available so that every Steem node operator can benefit from the dramatic cost reductions that result from MIRA. This will not only reduce the cost of running the Steem network across the board, it will lower the barriers to entry for anyone who wants to develop an app on Steem or even compete to become a Witness (a/k/a block producer). That means Steem should also become even more decentralized than it already is.
Smart Media Tokens
Once we have released MIRA to the public, our blockchain team will be shifting their attention entirely to completing the development of the Smart Media Tokens protocol which will empower any app developer to launch their very own cryptocurrency with 3-second fee-less transfers and our revolutionary proof-of-brain algorithm which leverages the wisdom-of-the-crowd to autonomously reward engagement. They have already been strategizing about this project and we look forward to sharing more details about their plan of attack.
The Steemit Team
Ep. 3 of The Steemit Podcast: MIRA Interview with Senior Blockchain Engineer @vandeberg
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