Launching Enigma Nodes in the Cloud

I’ve been exploring ways to launch an Enigma enabled node (particularly the Dockerized one) on a cloud in order to try to deploy online the Secret Rock, Papers and Scissors project. Although it can be tested locally, I feel an online example would be a great way to interact and showcase such work.

However, none of the most common providers (i.e. AWS, Google Cloud, Azure) have SGX-enabled machines, making it almost impossible to test it online. Intel Bluemix provides some ways to launch some, but they are expensive to say the least.

Does anyone know any way we could test an enigma node online within a cloud setup that doesn’t break the wallet?

Right now the options I’m personally aware of are compatible bare metal offerings from IBM with the cheapest I’ve seen from them being $140 and vultr bare metal which is $120 a month. In the grand scheme of things SGX is a rather new offering for cloud providers and it will take time for more cloud providers to offer it. There is also the possibility that eventually enigma will work with a cloud provider on this but nothing is set in stone in regards to that as of right now.

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Just wanted to share that for development, I was able to launch an Enigma Network node in simulated mode in AWS on a Ubuntu 18.04 AMI after installing Docker + Docker Compose. Going to do a couple tests and come back on how reliable it is in order to deploy a sample project like the one mentioned in the Secret Rock, Papers and Scissors online.

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Hi there,

Enigma has presently tested both IBM bare metal server (monthly charges for an SGX machine were at $275/month last time I checked, I would need to look at the specs that @moonstash mentions to confirm that are SGX-capable…) and Azure (starting at around $160/month, but required invitation last time I checked), and I can confirm both work for Enigma. I also confirm that Alibaba Cloud offers SGX-capable hosting, but we haven’t tested it. For a complete list, you can refer to this repo, to which we contributed most of the research around cloud providers: https://github.com/ayeks/SGX-hardware#cloud-vendors

You should be able to deploy a dockerized network to any provider in simulation mode (feel free to open a thread on this forum with any issues you encounter. However, be aware that for our upcoming Discovery release of the protocol, you will only be able to run and register a node in the network in Hardware mode (there is a mandatory check in a remote attestation report that is verified by Intel, that is simply empty/non-valid in simulation mode). --> I assume you already know this, I’m explicitly including this for future reference…

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I’m basing my information off of this conversation with vultr.

Lloyd W. Slade [staff]: Hello, We are not providing this feature to virtual machines. However, SGX is available on baremetal servers – you may need to enable it in the BIOS settings. Lloyd W. Slade System Administrator

Me: On the bare metal instances users have access to bios settings?

Lloyd W. Slade [staff]: Yes, this is possible through the web console.

Lloyd W. Slade
System Administrator

I have not actually tested vultr to see yet, I was waiting for the networked testnet to try.

Thanks for sharing @moonstash, because I have had a number of convos like the one you include above, and all the answers I got consistently is that the user never has access to the BIOS, and that can only be set while provisioning the host (the process by which the cloud provider sets it up and configures according to what you pay).

Keep us posted if you follow that route, I’m keen to see if this is a true fact :slight_smile:

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If SGX simulation is enough for you, I managed to set up the testnet on Hetzner’s cheapest cloud server CX11 at 3€/month. However I would suggest to go to CX21 for better performance.

I just spent the last hour trying to get the current testnet up on a baremetal vultr instance with no luck. I will try again when the upcoming networked testnet comes out but currently I’m assuming that even though vultr staff claim SGX is available it actually is not. I will update this if I find that vultr works in the future.

So after finally getting into the bios I have confirmed SGX is available to activate.


@victor I will update this as I progress through testing but this seems promising so far.

Hi @moonstash, curious to hear any updates you’d like to share with us about your experience with vultr

And also, I would very much appreciate if you could open a PR to this repo to report that vultr supports SGX. You would typically open an Issue first documenting the SGX support on that provider, and then open a PR to modify the README referencing the issue you just opened.

Thank you

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I don’t have any update right now but I will be taking your suggestion about adding vultr to the list :slight_smile: