SONM is building a decentralized fog computing platform anyone can use.
Suppliers and individuals on SONM’s network run blockchain-enabled software to offer spare CPU, RAM, and GPU power to the marketplace. Customers can then purchase these resources for a small fee, allowing them to run tasks like big data analysis, scientific calculations, rendering, machine learning, and much more.
SONM’s ultimate goal is to make its blockchain supercomputer accessible to everyone at a minimal cost. The team had a successful ICO in 2017 and has been quietly hitting its milestones ever since. If things go as planned, SONM is set to have an impressive 2018, including the platform’s first commercial release.
Below we take a deeper look at where SONM has been and where it’s heading in 2018.
SONM’s Accomplishments in 2017
The SONM team launched an ICO, released a minimum viable product, and established several key partnerships all in the span of six months. Most of these developments will only deliver their full potential once the project launches in full, but it’s a solid foundation for the releases to come.
From ICO to Prototype
SONM’s ICO was ultimately a success, but things were looking grim during the first 48 hours.
Early SONM investors were met with errors left and right. The website refused to load, deposits returned errors, and crediting confirmations failed for certain cryptocurrencies. Fortunately the SONM team acted quickly and delivered missing tokens (or refunds) within two days. It wasn’t an auspicious start, but a potential day-one disaster was averted.
SONM’s ICO ran for 10 days and secured enough funds to guarantee the project’s immediate future. By the end of June 2017, the team had raised nearly $37 million in total assets.
With a PaaS (platform as a service) project like SONM, throwing out a token and a roadmap isn’t enough for true success. Something tangible needs to be released as soon as possible. SONM’s team pushed out a minimum viable product (MVP) just before the close of 2017. It only allowed for basic tasks and smart contracts, but it was enough to show early adopters what SONM would be capable of doing.
SONM will eventually handle massive amounts of data. To meet these demands, the project’s infrastructure will utilize object-based storage. This system treats data as objects instead of files, allowing for faster transfers and retrieval. Services like Facebook and Spotify use object storage for storing files and songs respectively.
In November 2017, SONM signed a technical agreement with the decentralized object storage platform STORJ. The deal adds a ready-made cloud solution to SONM’s architecture and will work behind the scenes to facilitate the peer-to-peer resource marketplace.
At about the same time as the STORJ agreement, SONM announced a partnership with Aion. The “third generation blockchain” brings interconnectivity to public and private projects, allowing them to send data between blockchains and scale without losing speed. SONM will provide computation resources when Aion goes live, powering the network’s proof-of-intelligence mining algorithm and creating instant marketplace demand for SONM resource suppliers.
Technical partnerships aside, SONM joined the Open Fog Consortium, entered Intel’s Cloud Insider program, and was invited to join Hewlett-Packard’s Cloud28+ as a recognized decentralized computing marketplace. All of these added some much-needed credibility to the fledgling network.
What to Expect From SONM in 2018
The SONM team has a roadmap planned for a full five years. It covers everything from platform releases to infrastructure updates, all focused on getting the decentralized supercomputer up and running. With the first commercial release scheduled for August 2018, this could be a very big year for SONM.
The last major 2017 update for SONM was in the fall with the release of 0.3 Arch. Minor releases trickled out in subsequent months as the team fixed bugs and improved performance based on feedback. The efforts pushed the 0.4 release a bit behind schedule, but with no major milestones scheduled for the following weeks, SONM should get back on track quickly.
Three major platform releases are scheduled for Q2-Q3 2018:
- 0.4 Power (April)
- 0.5 Virt (June)
- 1.0 Domin (August)
Power and Virt include features like an internal DNS peer discovery rewrite, improved smart contracts, and a trusted approved applications registry, all of which take steps towards making SONM more stable and usable.
The 1.0 release is the one to get excited about. Domin marks the first official commercial version of the SONM platform. At this point the main features will be working as promised, allowing users to buy and sell decentralized resources using a graphical UI and intuitive internal browser. Tasks like rendering and big data crunching should also be in full swing.
The SONM team believes 1.0 is where “non-bitcoiners” will start taking note of the platform. Need to render complex 3D models? Run a resource-intensive game server? SONM can help. Businesses and organizations increasingly need access to better computing resources, as well. If SONM can meet their demands at a reasonable price, it could really take off.
SONM implemented an Ethereum sidechain in early 2018 to increase speed and reduce network operating costs. Smart contracts will be migrated in full to this sidechain, which is running in test mode at the time of writing.
Several other technical improvements were made during the first few months of 2018. They don’t mark a dramatic shift in how users interact with SONM, but they’re definite steps towards a safer and more usable platform.
Below are some of the more notable upgrades.
- New GUI wallet release with storage support for ERC-20 tokens.
- Overlay network implemented with TINC and L2TP support for secure VPN-style connections.
- Parallel computation support for NVIDIA GPUs, with AMD to be added later.
- NAT penetration so the SONM hub will function from behind a NAT firewall.
Use Case Development
New use cases are the most exciting part of SONM’s development. The team is starting by researching RedShift video rendering and 3D modeling IDEs. A proof-of-concept for how these tasks run on the SONM network is already underway. They may not be as exciting as a SONM Quake server, but the team expects this type of task to eventually be a big part of the SONM marketplace.
Another upcoming high-level application of SONM’s platform is the ability to utilize artificial intelligence and neural networks. A use case for the latter was tested in February 2018 when the team ran full neural network image recognition software. It’s a small start, but by the time the mainnet is opened commercially, SONM should be ready for a lot more.
Marketing & Partnerships
At least two major partnerships were announced at the start of 2018. White hat hacker group Hacken signed on to help perform security audits to keep SONM as safe and reliable as possible. Artificial intelligence company Dbrain also joined forces with SONM. The company intends to use the network to analyze data produced by its neural networks, providing ample opportunities for SONM suppliers to sell their resources.
SONM’s marketing team is extremely active in the community, which bodes well for the platform’s future. They post monthly status updates on the SONM blog, host regular Q&A sessions on Reddit, and engage with users on social media. Their role is largely informative during the early development stages, but once SONM is in the wild, evangelism will be their main focus. So far, they’ve given every indication they’re up to the challenge of educating people about SONM’s benefits.
As is often the case when a blockchain platform enters its official release cycle, token value could potentially take a sharp uptick. Just before the SONM team rolled out its MVP there was a nice bump in both market cap and token value, for example. This will likely repeat when the 1.0 release happens in August 2018, though it’s anybody’s guess what market forces will be in play at that time.
Platform tokens also tend to rise when the accompanying project is fully functional. SONM is made to be used, and SNM will directly benefit from vibrant network applications. If this accessible supercomputer delivers on its promises, the token will soar.
We also listed SNM as a seriously undervalued coin in March 2018. That could change when August rolls around.
SONM Beyond 2018
SONM is still in its early developmental phase, but the ingredients are there for an incredible product. The team regularly hits its milestones, valuable partnerships are announced on a regular basis, and marketing knows how to engage with the community.
If the world is ready to embrace a decentralized supercomputer, SONM will be the first one they turn to.