Other important, but more technical, aspects of underlying blockchain infrastructure include key management, networking firewalls, and other security considerations.
Security maintenance can be performed by deploying updates and patches to the code implementations powering a user’s blockchain infrastructure. Keeping abreast of the latest updates and releases helps to protect users from any vulnerabilities as they are found by protocol teams.
What a blockchain infrastructure PaaS provider does
Participating on proof of stake blockchain networks requires a significant amount of technical expertise, time, resources, and resilient underlying technology — such as reliable and scalable hardware, updated software, and a stable internet connection to connect, communicate with, and participate in the blockchain network.
Blockchain infrastructure providers (IaaS) establish and provide direct infrastructure access to customers — for example, by operating data centers, building security features, and maintaining servers. A blockchain infrastructure platform-as-a-service (PaaS) provider coordinates and maintains access to those amenities while also developing the code to build on them, the platform to access them, development tools, metrics and analytics, container services, and community support. Combined, these amenities provide a simple way to deploy and manage the infrastructure that powers blockchains bundled in with the underlying infrastructure needed to operate their systems.
It’s difficult to become proficient in building for the abundance of protocols leading the ecosystem today, due to their widely varying governance forms, algorithmic mechanisms, and application interfaces. Some protocols require hands-on management and continuous engagement to keep their infrastructure functioning in a healthy manner. A blockchain infrastructure PaaS provider offers customers the ability to run secure infrastructure on multiple blockchains without having to develop the technological capabilities in-house.
This service helps to close the gap between the blockchain networks — which can be complicated to build on and participate in — and the token holders and developers on those networks.
Optimize participation: hardware, nodes, and solutions
Just as the ability to buy electricity from the grid removed the need for factories to build and maintain their own adjoining power plants, a blockchain infrastructure PaaS provider such as Coinbase Cloud enables people to participate in blockchain networks without building and maintaining their own hardware and code bases.
PaaS engineers can program blockchain infrastructure to customer specifications to save customers the time and resources required to set up their own infrastructure — including executing custom custody needs, pool fees, delegation rates, and even custom cluster structures, such as the number of relay nodes connected to each validator node.
Being a blockchain infrastructure PaaS provider also entails developing API solutions to help customers integrate blockchain resources into their existing products and services. For instance, the Coinbase Cloud eth2 Validator Management API authorizes the secure and programmatic creation, management, and status review of eth2 validators and their underlying infrastructure, allowing users to easily generate Ethereum deposit contract transactions or scale validators.
Enterprise-grade security and technical support
As a blockchain infrastructure PaaS provider, Coinbase Cloud monitors the health of and performs maintenance on nodes and their supporting infrastructure. Coinbase Cloud provides 24/7 monitoring of customers’ clusters with a cascading flow of on-call engineers and dedicated customer-support specialists. Key metrics are monitored on an ongoing basis to ensure the underlying infrastructure is functioning as well as possible. Customers are promptly informed of issues affecting their nodes.
Another function of working as a blockchain infrastructure PaaS provider is to deploy updates and patches to those code implementations powering a user’s blockchain infrastructure. Updates and patches are deployed in a timely fashion to ensure that clusters are always operating on the most recent version, and the updates are executed in a way that ensures the node experiences the least amount of downtime possible.
Coinbase Cloud is an active member of protocol communities — working closely with protocol teams to support mainnet deployment, but also with other validators to maintain network health. As a result, our efforts benefit our customers and the community as a whole. Coinbase Cloud also operates nodes on all of the protocols we support, lending our teams the hands-on knowledge needed to provide clients with superior service across multiple protocols.
A key aspect of working as a blockchain infrastructure PaaS company is sharing expertise and resources to build up the blockchain ecosystem and foster wider adoption. Hosting informational events, acting as judges in dev competitions, and publishing informational content are just a few non-technical ways we support the broader blockchain ecosystem.
Engineering teams submit contributions to open development projects (via pull requests) to help protocols grow and improve. Leveraging their own expertise and close relationships with protocol teams, as a blockchain infrastructure PaaS provider Coinbase Cloud also votes on governance measures and helps customers to vote as well.