SONM (SNM) — The Giant Decentralized Supercomputer?
SONM is a decentralized fog computing platform which allows users to buy and sell computing power. Fog computing is the usage of a decentralized network formed from many individual computing devices providing computing power. Basically like a giant, decentralized supercomputer with a marketplace. Unlike centralized on-demand cloud computing platforms like AWS (Amazon Web Services), Microsoft’s Azure or the Google Cloud Platform this offers many advantages. Today almost any company, enterprise or startup, especially in tech, requires a lot of computing power for its infrastructure (like for example web hosting or deployment). Using those services is really expensive. If you need computing power for CGI/3D rendering, deep/machine learning or streaming, just to name a few, it gets even more expensive.
Hardware gets better and cheaper every day. In fact, Moore’s law states that overall processing power for computers will double every two years. With more than two billion personal computers in the world, and many of them connected to the internet, think about how much computing power today just isn’t utilized. What if you could connect all of these computers creating one giant supercomputer? This is where SONM comes into play.
With its powerful distributed worldwide system SONM offers scalability, geographical distribution and open infrastructure providing on-demand resources like CPU, disks, RAM and GPUs at a low cost. Therefore SONM is targeting two target groups. On the one hand SONM customers (people or companies) who need computing power and on the other hand SONM suppliers (also people or companies) who offer computational resources. Smart contracts are being used to make deals between customers and suppliers ensuring maximum security. A deal is the contract between a customer and a supplier using the SONM blockchain token as payment. More on that later. At the time of writing, there are 95 deals on the marketplace (30th of September, 2018).
So, how does SONM work exactly? Probably it is easier to work with some scenarios because the use cases can actually change depending on who is in need of computing power. Let’s say we have three hypothetical companies:
- Startup CGI is a computer graphic company which focuses on 3D animation. They are currently working on a huge 3D movie project in cooperation with a local university. The animation parts of the movie are almost done but they still need to render (export) the scenes.
- Company aCar is exploring artificial intelligence and autonomous driving using neural networks (brain-inspired systems). Therefore they gather lots of data to process with machine learning algorithms. The more data can be processed the better. Since they can’t provide this computing power alone they rent it from a cloud computing platform.
- Company Plume is a hosting provider company. They offer large scale backups in the cloud for their customers. They have just signed a one year contract with a big new customer. Therefore they plan to buy lots of new hardware.
These 3 companies are really different in what they do, yet they have something in common. They could use SONM to accelerate and improve their work in terms of speed and cost.
CGI will need many CPUs (and GPUs) to render the animated movie. Of course, they don’t own a lot because it’s just not worth the cost to buy them for themselves. Instead of using a render farm they decided to use SONM this time. For the same price they can now rent five times the computing power in comparison to a usual render farm while providing all the needed security using encrypted data transfers. SONM is compatible with 3D Studio Max, Autodesk Maya, Cinema 4D, Houdini, many render farm managers and Linux GPU renders. Their movie gets rendered in no time.
aCar needs many GPUs (because that’s way faster than CPUs for those tasks) to train their neural network with the open source machine learning framework TensorFlow. With SONM they can make use of hundreds of GPU instances at low cost. Since the amount of data is so huge in this case it’s convenient that SONM offers integration with cloud services for data storage.
Since Plume’s CIO does not really know what the new customer will do when the contract ends in a year he is unsure if Plume should really buy all this new equipment. What if the customer doesn’t want to continue this partnership? What will happen with the unused hardware? They decide to use hardware supplied by SONM since it’s much cheaper than the alternatives. Also, they only pay for the storage they actually need for their customers. And the best thing about it is that if they should somehow loose customers they can even become a supplier for the SONM network and rent spare resources out to other SONM consumers so the hardware doesn’t remain idle. This offers maximum flexibility.
The introduced scenarios become possible with the SNM token, the internal currency on the SONM computing power marketplace. It is an ERC-20 token based on Ethereum although SONM also uses a faster, dedicated blockchain for internal decentralized algorithms with no fees. To convert SNM ERC-20 tokens and SONM blockchain tokens you can use a so-called Gate to exchange the tokens at 1:1 rate. It’s important to know that deals are priced in USD but settled in the background using the SONM blockchain token with the current SNM token exchange rates. That is convenient for customer and supplier since there is no need to convert prices. It also means that SNM tokens will be needed for every deal done. When more and more people as well as companies use the SONM marketplace the demand for SNM tokens increases, resulting in a higher price for the token. Obviously, this won’t affect deal prices pegged to USD which will arise as a result of supply and demand for SONM tasks. You will just have to pay less SNM tokens for the task. So if you already know you’ll be using SONM a lot it might be wise to accumulate.
You can buy SONM ERC-20 tokens here and get started in an instant with the SONM auto-installer as a customer. At the time of writing SNM’s price is $0.056 USD or 859 sats. Market cap is at $20.3 million USD which puts SONM at rank #216 on CMC. There’s a circulating supply of 359.600.000 SNM with a total supply of 444.000.000 SNM.
And by the way, there are many more use cases, like for example Cryptocurrency mining (image on the left). Have a look at them here.
Let’s have a quick look at the cloud computing and fog computing market. Today the cloud computing market is worth about 180 billion USD in renevues for IaaS, PaaS and SaaS and is forecast to reach 411 billion USD by 2020. Also, as you can see in the statistics we’re barely at the beginning and the fog computing market and its revenue is about to grow even faster than cloud computing in the coming years. SONM having a first mover advantage is obviously a great add-on.
By the way, in Q2 of 2018 AWS generated revenues of over 6.1 billion USD, a sixfold increase compared to early 2014. This market is just getting started.
What else does SONM offer?
- A visionary leadership with over 70 skilled and hard-working team members working from five different locations developing a global decentralized marketplace for computing power. And they are hiring.
- Great transparency including monthly updates, reports and progress on GitHub. Go check it, they just don’t rest. In my opinion SONM has one of the hardest-working teams in the Crypto space.
- Gate Masternodes and Block producing Masternodes are about to come. You will need about approx. 100k and 500k SONM tokens for it. Expected practical ROI will be up to 15% annual.
- “General compatibility with existing applications — any application, that can run on Linux (x64) in Docker environment can run on SONM. Some restrictions and limitations apply, but general code base is compatible.” Of course, you can also use a virtual machine to run it.
- A roadmap the team has proven to stick to with clocklike deliveries. Have a look at it. It’s packed with stuff to come.
All in all you can say that SONM is an ambitious project with a great vision and more than one real use case for Blockchain. Personally it’s one of my favorite projects and I still consider it the ‘dark horse’ of Crypto. I can absolutely see SONM getting really big in the next few years. If you have gotten interested in SONM check out their website and/or documentation page. There’s lots of information on there. And why don’t you just try out the product. It works really nicely.