Ankr provides a management platform for cloud computing resources, building an ecosystem of resource demanders, resource providers, application developers, consumers, and more.
- Decentralized Architecture: Ankr implements SLSBFT to support its Decentralized Cloud Computing Network (“DCCN”) architecture
- Ankr Hub: Computational resources configured into clusters are connected to each other via Ankr Hub
- Task Distribution: Computing tasks are distributed with Resource Scheduler and Weighted Dominant Resource Fairness Algo (“WDRF”)
- Privacy: Ankr plans to utilize Intel Software Guard Extensions ("SGX") for sensitive information storage and management
WHAT IS ANKR?
Ankr believes that cloud computing is the future, and instead of being monopolized by tech giants like Amazon AWS, Google Microsoft Azure and Alibaba Cloud, it should be affordable for everyone.
Ankr aims to build a global distributed network, where everybody is able to benefit, while upholding the original ideals of Bitcoin where anyone with a computer and access to the internet can participate.
Project Value Proposition
Through the Ankr platform, acting as resource demanders, consumers can select cost-effective resources such as cloud servers provided by resource providers to use directly. Consumers can also use application services provided by application providers, such as Deep Learning and RStudio.
The Ankr platform dynamically selects appropriate cloud computing node for the application to run. Consumers pay for deals. Ankr charges a percentage (currently 5%) of every deal. This fee is made up of three parts:
- A fee paid to the resource provider,
- A fee paid to the application provider,
- A fee paid to Ankr.
ANKR Token Overview & Use Cases
ANKR tokens are mainly used for the cloud computing platform. In the platform, buyers can use ANKR tokens to consume the cloud services provided by service providers and the Ankr cloud platform. In addition, ANKR tokens can be used for donations to nonprofit cloud computing, for example, Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing ("BOINC"). ANKR tokens can also be used for other payments which are compatible with Ethereum or Binance BEP. Other uses of the ANKR token include:
- Data Centers: Ankr authorized reputed data centers and small data centers to join as part of the cloud platforms. Examples of these include DigitalOcean and Telefonica, who will stake ANKR tokens in order to get new computing jobs.
- Cloud Consumers: Cloud consumers can use ANKR tokens to buy cloud computing services.
- Donation: Supporters of BOINC can use the ANKR token to donate to scientific research projects.
PRODUCTS & METRICS
Ankr is a cloud computation platform which aims to provide prices that are more affordable than traditional data centers or public cloud providers like Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS.
For a computing power consumer, Ankr automatically finds the computing resources that are closest to him, allowing the user to access cloud computing services anywhere in the world. For a computing power provider, Ankr matches his computing power with the most suitable tasks, allowing the provider to capitalize on idle devices.
The following 5 screenshots demonstrate the step by step process of the deployment of an application by a user.
1. Choose an application in the App store and click "deploy"
2. Add App name and choose version, and then click "Next"
3. Add namespace and choose data center and resource type, and then click "create"
4. Check the overall information, and click "create"
5. The application is dispatching.
The Ankr DCCN system is deployed and distributed over the computing resources managed by Kubernetes across various geographic locations. Resources configured into clusters in Kubernetes are connected to each other via a specialized type of clusters called Ankr Hub. Hubs at this time are fully set up and controlled by Ankr and serve as key nodes to relay and dispatch the computing tasks to other working clusters. The working clusters are the units actually running users’ computing jobs.
Resource Scheduler and Fairness Algorithms
The core task of a Resource Scheduler is to select and assign tasks to nodes for user applications. These nodes will then run in the desired states.
In a multi-node, multi-user, and multi-task scheduling environment, a Weighted Dominant Resource Fairness Algorithm ("WDRF") evenly distributes the available resources of each node to each task based on resource availability and where services are most needed.
The WDRF algorithm has three main steps:
- Filter: For each resource provider, eligible node instances are filtered according to the specification of the App resource request. These specifications include definitions of CPU, memory, disk, bandwidth, GPU and so on.
- Prioritize: The final node instance is selected using the weighted sum of the node instance’s price score and the resource provider’s reputation score. If the node instance is low-cost, it will have a higher price score. The resource provider’s reputation score is calculated by the proportion of idle resources, number of resource allocation tasks that have been scheduled, rating score, system stability, and current running status.
- WDRFSche Algorithm: The WDRFSche algorithm is adopted for resource-request task scheduling for each resource provider. The allocation for each user will be determined by the user’s dominant share, which is the maximum share that the user has been allocated of any resource. In addition, each user is associated with a weight vector, which is used to allocate more resources to those users who are running high-importance jobs or who have a high reputation score. The next application task of user with the lowest dominant share will be picked to run, and resources will be allocated to the application task.
BLOCKCHAIN & NETWORK DATA
The goal of the Ankr blockchain is to provide payment and metering kinds of services for Ankr cloud service, rather than provide services for dApps of customers.
Each data center or mining machine will be a node for the network. As of writing, the team claims the network can support about 1,000 TPS, with each node supporting 900 connections. Both send rate and receive rate are 5 MB. The transaction fee currently is fixed at 5 ANKR tokens. Maximum blocksize is at 22 MB. The Ankr blockchain does not use hash puzzle, and therefore has no hashrate. The block period is about 1 second for blocks containing transactions. If there is no transaction being proposed in 15 seconds, the network will be forced to create an empty block.
Edge Node Design
In Ankr there are three types of nodes, including:
- Seed Peer: Generates new blocks, and is deployed in Ankr Hub.
- Persistent Peer: Synchronizes blockchain, and is deployed in data center.
- Access Peer (or Ankr Miner): Accesses Persistent Peer and reports the workload. Ankr Miner also provides computing services as an additional edge computing node to data center.
Since the mining equipment is also used for resource sharing and calculation, the graphics card mining machines with CPU, disk, and memory are selected to deploy.
With the ever-growing development of 5G technology, the modern network has much higher bandwidth and much lower latency. This allows for the implementation of a variety of real-time coordination applications using Ankr Miner, such as IoT, machine learning, distributed storage systems, and VR/AR.
Blockchain Network Structure
Ankr’s blockchain network is divided into four layers:
- Core Layer: This is the core consensus layer of the Ankr network. The consensus calculation this layer uses is the Proof of Service Level and Stake Byzantine Fault Tolerance (“SLSBFT”), which defines the service quality of bandwidth, computation, and storage in the distributed cloud computing service market. Within this layer, blocks will be produced until a consensus is reached by the Block Producer (“BP”) nodes.
- Relay Layer: The relay layer is for fast network routing. All nodes in this layer will not produce blocks or take part in the consensus. Users have the ability to add a better network on top of the layer, and can earn ANKR token reward based on proof of a network contribution ("PNC"). The PNC calculation is based on the node’s relayed packet number, network steadiness, network bandwidth, and the node’s quality of service.
- Access Layer: The access layer contains data center nodes, mining nodes, and edge computing nodes. All of these are light nodes and can control illegal node access.
- Micro-Node Layer: The micro-node layer contains device nodes and some transaction hashes. If a micro-node needs to retrieve network proof, it will ask the access-layer node. If the access-layer node is unable to provide a proof, the request will pass through the relay layer to the core layer.
In essence, the Core Layer includes 2 types of nodes, namely Regular Nodes and Validator Nodes. Regular Nodes can synchronize blocks, relay new transactions, respond to Remote Procedure Calls, etc. Validators are Regular Nodes that serve as Block Producers.
The provider of the network, the computation, and the store will provide proof periodically to the access layer. The access layer will then verify the proof, and the result will be passed to the core layer. If the proofs are verified, the resource provider’s service level will be increased, which in turn increases the probability that the provider will be elected as a BP node.
Using the supernetting technology, Ankr’s blockchain network can aggregate idle networks and provide more bandwidth. To do this, a supernetwork IP is formed by routing two or more networks into a larger network. The new routing prefix for the combined network represents each constituent network as a single routing table entry.
Expandable and Organizable Network
The Ankr blockchain network imports distributed sloppy hash tables based on the traditional Kademlia distributed hash table.
The node can retrieve physical neighbor nodes, allowing packets to be transmitted faster and more nodes to join the Ankr blockchain network.
Ankr has also expanded network organization by using the tag model, in which nodes with the same tag are clustered into the network organization.
Using a Proof of Work ("POW") node ID generation calculation, Ankr’s blockchain network avoids Eclipse and Sybil attacks. The blockchain network also avoids hostile routing attacks by using disjoint path-finding algorithms.
Ankr’s blockchain consensus is called Proof of Service Level and Stake Byzantine Fault Tolerance (“SLSBFT”). For verification, the consensus has three phrases:
The difference between SLSBFT consensus and standard BFT is the Block Producer ("BP") node election. BP node election is based on service level and stake, so that not only large token holders, but also nodes who contribute positively to the conmutational power of the platform, can become Block Producers.
The user’s service level is calculated by the DCCN resource provider’s Quality of Service ("QOS") and the resource consumer’s credit. The first step for all satisfied account nodes is to become a candidate node.
For security, all validator nodes are randomly selected from a pool of candidate nodes. During each cycle, the proposal node is randomly selected from all validator nodes.
The diagram below is a visualization of how smart contracts work in Ankr’s blockchain.
Ankr’s smart contract system is characterized by the following traits:
- The virtual machine ("VM") of the smart contract complies with WebAssembly 1.0.
- During the execution of smart contracts, Ankr’s blockchain can invoke the contracts' API via a service bus.
- In the smart contract development tool, the responding language’s IDE plugin will be supported.
- Ankr’s blockchain will charge transaction fees based on the smart contract instructions.
- It supports the smart contract’s communication with Ankr blockchain.
- It supports the smart contract’s direct communication with the off chain system. For example, the DCCN’s edge node.
In order to promote the healthy development of the Ankr cloud computing platform and to provide customers with high-quality services, an incentive mechanism is provided to all relevant participants in the ecosystem.
Rewards for participants are calculated with several factors, including:
- Rewards for ANKR stakeholding
- Rewards for ANKR stake consumption
- Rewards for resources and services provision
- Rewards for reputation
For example, an application end user chooses to use the resources of a data center provider. The reward for both parties will computed by using the formula mentioned in the white paper. Stakeholding, consumption, resources and services provision, and reputation are part of the formula.
Incorporation with DCCN
The Ankr DCCN blockchain serves Ankr’s DCCN in several ways, including:
- It provides the payment interface for cloud users and providers.
- It rewards resource providers and computing users when they successfully finish their computing tasks.
- It rewards validators when they help maintain the blockchain and handle transactions.
- It provides smart contract functionality.
- The relay network secures communication between DCCN hub and DCCN daemon.
- The resource provider can provide proof to Ankr DCCN blockchain, and the Ankr DCCN blockchain can verify it.
In addition, the Ankr blockchain provides APIs to DCCN services and front-ends. These APIs include wallets, transactions, history, validator management, metering, and smart contracts.