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The Storage Nightmare on the Solana Chain

An In-Depth Look at Solana's Current Storage Model and the Need for Scalable Solutions

Blog Post_The Storage Nightmare on the Solana Chain

Introduction: Web3 - Hype or Reality?

The Solana blockchain, known for its high-speed transactions, faces significant challenges with its storage model. Anatoly Yakovenko, the founder of Solana, recently highlighted these issues, referring to the concept of “State Rent,” which essentially means storage costs on the Solana chain.

The Current State of Solana Storage

Solana accounts, the primary storage units on the chain, allow for rapid data storage but do not scale well in terms of capacity. While they can handle smaller amounts of data efficiently, they struggle with larger data volumes that Web2 applications commonly manage.

Initially, Solana’s storage model involved charging rent for accounts, with users needing to deposit a certain amount to keep their accounts active.

However, this system evolved into a rent exemption model, where users could deposit two years’ worth of rent upfront, making storage almost free. This exemption has led to inefficiencies and potential exploitation, with storage costs not being adequately covered.

The Problem with Rent Exemption

Yakovenko criticized the rent exemption model, suggesting that it should be eliminated. He pointed out that the exemption was a design flaw, leading to nearly free storage.

This approach fails to account for the actual cost of storage over time, resulting in a growing burden on the network.

Currently, Solana snapshots—copies of the blockchain state—are approaching 80 GB, increasing by about 10 GB each week. This growth rate poses a significant problem, as it could lead to unsustainable storage demands.

A Case Study: Jito's Storage Costs

Jito, a liquid staking provider on Solana, illustrates the scale of the storage issue. Each validator in the Jito network requires multiple storage accounts, including tip distribution and claim status accounts.

For example, with 2,000 validators and 1,500 stakers per validator, the storage requirements quickly add up to hundreds of millions of bytes. Calculating the rent exempt minimum for these accounts reveals substantial costs, potentially reaching hundreds of thousands of dollars per epoch (a period of time in blockchain operations).

This expense only covers a fraction of the necessary storage, highlighting the inefficiency of the current model.

The Need for Scalable Storage Solutions

The fundamental issue is that Solana accounts do not scale storage capacity-wise. Each validator must store extensive data, leading to an inevitable limit on storage capabilities.

To address this, a scalable storage layer is essential. Offloading storage from Solana accounts to a more scalable solution can alleviate these pressures. This concept involves treating Solana accounts as the blockchain’s RAM, while a new storage layer functions as its hard disk or SSD.

Xandeum's Approach

At Xandeum, we are developing innovative solutions to tackle these storage challenges. Our approach involves creating a second layer of storage, the Xandeum buckets, which are managed by pNodes (provider nodes) under the supervision of validators.
This architecture allows for scalable and efficient storage, integrated seamlessly with Solana’s ecosystem. By providing developers with new primitives for accessing this additional storage layer, we aim to enable the creation of truly scalable Web3 applications.

Conclusion

The storage model on the Solana chain is currently flawed, with significant inefficiencies and limitations. To achieve the potential of Web3 applications, a scalable storage solution is necessary.

At Xandeum, we are committed to solving these problems and providing the tools needed for a scalable and efficient blockchain ecosystem.