A blockchain ecosystem is designed to remain accessible around the clock. For Solana, that was not the case earlier this week. A severe outage took the network offline for over half a day, although things are back to normal now.
Solana Outage is Worrisome
It is not entirely uncommon for technology to suffer from an outage or setback. That is one of the problematic aspects of centralized servers and services. With decentralized technology, the network load is distributed globally, ensuring the network remains operational. That is how it works in theory, as the recent Solana outage indicates something else entirely. Going offline for over 17 hours is not a good look, even if no user funds were affected.
It would appear the issue began when Solana ran out of network resources. That may seem strange, although it successfully triggered a denial of service across the entire network. Despite being built for a high transaction throughput, it seems there are still some limits to overcome. After hitting 400,000 transactions per second, the technology stack could not cope.
As the transaction processing queue got flooded, the network started splitting into forks. There was no prioritization of network-critical messaging, creating a problematic scenario that needed to be addressed quickly. As Solana kept forking, its overall memory consumption rose, forcing nodes offline. An attempt to stabilize the network was unsuccessful, forcing a shutdown.
In theory, Solana should be able to handle over 700,000 transactions per second. However, more work is to be done when the network runs out of resources at just 50% of the theoretical capacity. Although the current throughput is still very impressive, outages like these cannot keep happening. For now, it seems like a one-off deal, although it will be worthwhile to keep tabs on the overall network health.
Services Resume Without Issues
Thankfully, it appears things are back to normal after this unforeseen issue. The Solana Validator community has successfully restarted the mainnet beta after a big upgrade. It is remarkable how community members can help restart an entire ecosystem, which isn’t possible in a centralized environment. Moreover, it is good to see everyone agreeing it is the best course of action.
The Solana validator community successfully completed a restart of Mainnet Beta after an upgrade to 1.6.25. Dapps, block explorers, and supporting systems will recover over the next several hours, at which point full functionality should be restored.
— Solana Status (@SolanaStatus) September 15, 2021
Contrary to what most people expected, the SOL price didn’t budge much. Instead, it dipped along with all other crypto assets and is now recovering slowly. Crypto markets remain in a state of unrest for the time being. If Bitcoin breaks $50,000 again, there may be some more overall excitement. For now, it is still every market for itself with no clear indication of where things may head next.