Babylon Node betatesting - first impressions

I’ve been selected, alongside 14~ other node runners, to test the new Radix node for Babylon.
Just like before, RDX Works supports both a Docker installation and a native one, but at the moment they’re focusing on Docker.

Even if you haven’t been selected to test the new node, the docs are publicly available and everyone can start a Babylon node: Welcome to the Radix Babylon Tech Docs :: Radix Documentation

I am going to share my experience and thoughts in this thread, both for other users and also for RDX Works staff.

Just like in Olympia, I’ve never been a fan of Docker due to its lack of performance compared to running apps natively, so I decided to try a native installation using systemD, even though the docs were a bit lacking.
Thanks to the help of many kind node runners such as @r3animation, @Faraz, @stakesafebart and many others I didn’t have much trouble in getting my node up and running.

It’s now been almost a month and I am ready to share some basic impressions:

  • As of 2023-03-12T23:00:00Z, I am connected to 20 peers. This makes sense since some node runners such as @Faraz are running both systemD and Docker installations, and because there are other node runners that haven’t been selected for the testing that decided to give it a try as well.
  • Resource usage is hard to measure since as of right now the network is pretty much idle, but I will share my Proxmox summary to give an idea:

I started validating on 2023-02-20T23:00:00Z, once I got enough stake delegated by the team. RAM usage has been slowly creeping up since then, and that has been noticed by other node runners as well, such as @LeoMagal:

memory is ramping up. Started as 1.5G a few days ago now is at 3G. Still lots of margin to grow, but not stable like Olympia. Running smooth, just for you guys to know

and @Faraz:

Memory usage has been creeping up a bit, at around 7GB for both docker and systemd but the demand is still pretty low on Betanet. … CPU usage is very low much like mainnet.

Both network and disk I/O are pretty low because like I said there’s barely any activity on the betanet.
The ledger data (RADIXDB) is 29 GB as of right now.

  • Epochs are of 5 minutes.
  • I haven’t tested this personally, but quoting @Faraz, Docker startup times still seem very slow compared to native:

[Docker] takes a good 25 seconds before I can call the API on the node on docker. Systemd is up in sub 5 seconds.

  • Regarding failover, I haven’t tested it myself yet but apparently it’s just the case of sending a simple transaction to the network to switch the validating node, change that will take effect in the next epoch
  • Even though there’s pretty much zero documentation for Windows, we also have a node running on a different OS than Linux, thanks to @projectShift!
  • The Grafana dashboard is still very much a WIP, with the very useful metric of missed proposals missing (alongside others), but here’s what I have so far:

I shared a snapshot of my Grafana dashboard so everyone can check it out, go back in time and play with all the cool metrics we have so far: Babylon Node Dashboard
There are other interesting metrics to monitor such as proposal rate (useful to notice any slowdowns in the network, maybe due to a node offline) and network received/sent, but I haven’t integrated those yet.

  • The radixnode CLI is present once again and actively being worked on by the team. It’s very useful to check stats from the API or to manage a Docker setup.
  • Both Android and iOS preview/development Babylon wallets are available; I tried the Android one and while it’s still lacking some features, I have to say it’s pretty cool! You can request betanet XRD test tokens from the app and also authorize transactions on the Radix network using your phone’s biometrics.

So far I had a good and stable experience. Getting up and running was a bit of a learning process, especially since as of right now lots of transactions to create a validator component need to be done manually, but with Babylon release I’m sure that it will be much easier.

I welcome other fellow node runners that tried the Babylon node to share their experience as well in this thread. Babylon is coming!


Thanks for sharing your experiences @Mattia! Must say we’ve found running a Babylon betanet node to be pretty smooth sailing, for beta software it’s been very stable and reliable. The team have been super responsive and there have been numerous updates to the CLI since the beta launch which I know many node runners don’t really interact with, but as we think forward to massively widening node runner participation between now and eventual Xi’an release the CLI is a crucial tool to abstract away some of the complexity.

Agree with you that the absence of a missed proposal metric is a bit of an omission, but I’m sure this will be added ahead of mainnet deployment.

And I hope the 5 minute epochs can be maintained with the Babylon release - certainly when it comes to those rarely needed but really important node failovers when you are away from a proper screen it would be really reassuring to be able to failover promptly just by making a simple transaction.


Hey, we’re building a network dashboard/validator explorer for the betanet! :sunglasses:

However, we noticed that the betanet Gateway API is lacking some values. There are no staking rewards and the proposal metrics aren’t there. Still, we made a network dashboard using the available info. We’re hoping that this will help the Betanet get some more exposure.

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