As everyone is aware, the Alpha 2 Network is currently running on hosted nodes as we continue to build out the functionality in advance of a full release. The Alpha 2 Network was launched in September 2017 using this approach in order to actively develop and test component parts in public as we move towards the full launch of the Network.
Earlier this week, Digital Ocean (where the nodes are hosted) carried out maintenance which we assume in part was to work on a bug that they had recently discovered. Following this, we noticed excessive churn in some groups of the Network, bringing with it the possibility of data loss. We have always openly stated that any data placed on the Alpha Network may be deleted at some point as we move through the Network evolution towards launch - but it is somehow more frustrating for us when a third party is the cause of this! Of course, these are the very weaknesses of centralised storage models that the more fully featured SAFE Network will solve.
As a result, we cannot estimate what the impact may be from these nodes going offline. The whole point of the Network is that no-one (including us) can view or assess the data that has been uploaded. Also, the situation is further complicated by the fact that all data is split into chunks on the Network. This means that if a file on Alpha 2 (not the final Network) is missing one chunk, it may be unusable in some situations. It is therefore impossible to say what impact this work by Digital Ocean has had. Continuing without responding to this in some way therefore would make the diagnosis of Network behaviour far more complicated as we move along the road to launch.
Therefore, we are now planning to carry out a reset of the Network in order to resolve this issue.
This has a few implications that it is important for everyone to be aware of:
All user data on the Alpha Network will be wiped
Every user will need to go through the invite process again to access the Network
The current plan is to do this on Wednesday 29th August (timing tbc)
If you have any data that you would like to reuse after this date, please make copies as it will be unrecoverable after this time
Whilst the decision to wipe test data is never easy (particularly given the great content that has been put onto the Network by the Community to date), there is no doubt at all that the decision clearly represents the straightest path towards the ultimate release of the live Network. Collectively, this is an opportunity for those who have contributed to re-engage with the Network once again and to remind ourselves just how easy and compelling such things as creating websites can be on the SAFE Network.
We will of course answer any questions you might have in the thread below - but in the meantime, we’d like to take the opportunity to publicly thank everyone once again who has taken part in the Alpha 2 Network to date. And we of course hope to see you as we relaunch the Network and move to the next stage!