Proposal: Network Notary performance metrics

We’d like to know more about how Perspectives notaries are performing and what they need to keep up with demand. To learn this we’re proposing a new option for network notaries: tracking performance metrics.

What is a ‘metric’?

A “metric” is a specific piece of information that is measured or counted to help you understand how software behaves. In our case metrics will be used to better understand how well a notary is performing – whether it is healthy and keeping up with demand or having difficulty. Notaries that enable performance metrics will track certain specific events to help their operators keep them online.

Our ‘Ground Rules’ for metrics:

  1. Metrics should have a purpose.

    When taking any measurement it is important to decide what you want to know and what you will do with the information before you consider what to track. Don’t track information simply because “it might be interesting later” – that wastes time measuring the wrong thing and can negatively influence people’s behaviour. Track things with a purpose.

  2. User privacy is of paramount importance.

    We don’t want to track anything that could be abused or that would reveal sensitive information. (If you spot something that has the potential for abuse please let us know!)

Proposed notary metrics:

With our rules in mind, we want to know:

  1. What kind of demand a notary receives every day, and at what time(s) of day, so we can keep servers up and running.
    This means:

    • Counting how many requests a notary receives
    • Noting which sites are requested most often

    This data gives us a target when testing to ensure notaries can handle real-life demand. It also helps us gauge what kind of resources (e.g. cache size) are required to run a notary – useful both for planning ahead and so anyone considering running a notary knows what they’ll need.

  2. How quickly new services are added.

    We’ll count each time a site is requested that has never been seen.

  3. How long it takes to scan all known sites

    Notaries scan their list of sites each day to update their key data. Knowing how long the scans run helps us gauge what kind of resources are needed to run a notary server.

  4. Failures from scanning websites.

    If some sites are no longer working they could be removed from the scan list to save time and resources.

We believe that counting these few, specific pieces of data will help us keep the Perspectives notaries running smoothly. We’ll be able to take action when there is a problem, but more importantly we’ll be able to better gauge what a notary needs and prevent problems before they happen.

Logging statistics on these performance metrics should not endanger nor alter your privacy. We remain committed to providing a secure, transparent, and trustworthy service. If you have any feedback on these proposed metrics or other related ideas we would love to hear them! Feel free to leave a comment or ping us on the mailing list.

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  1. #1 by Pete on September 26, 2012 - 9:00 am

    Could you please fix the chrome extension?

    • #2 by daveschaefer on September 27, 2012 - 6:39 am

      Hi Pete! I believe you are talking about PerProxy, here – https://github.com/von/PerProxy – correct? PerProxy is currently experimental. What exactly is going wrong?

  2. #3 by l0rdraiden on November 20, 2012 - 10:04 pm

    We are talking about this extension for chrome

    https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/perspectives/lnppfgdnjafeikakadfopejdpglpiahn

    Is this developed by your team? could you develop an official addon for chrome?

    Thanks for your effort with Perspectives

    • #4 by daveschaefer on November 21, 2012 - 2:25 am

      Hey l0rdraiden,

      Thanks for the link! This is the first I have seen of that, but I will check with the other devs. I believe there were some technical problems creating an official addon with Chrome – addons don’t have the ability to call certain functions that we need. But I will look into it!

      Thanks for the kind words!

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