Node operator can be a business?

I am thinking about making a small business out of operating a STORJ node. I mean seriously setting up a decent/reliable data center. Not just a on-again-off-again hobby. The capacity I am looking at is 100TB - 1,000TB. Or more.

Here is the predicament:

I have a test node setup for sometime. On a good day, the hard disk is filled up at a rate of 10GB/day. At this rate it is gonna take more than 27 years to get to 100TB. 270 years to 1,000TB. This is super slow given the fact that the average life of a HDD is only 3-5 years. My HDDs will spend their healthy adult life extremely under utilized and die decades before even have a chance to fulfilling their capacity.

I heard that after a vetting period the rate can go faster but how fast? Unless the rate is gonna be 20x, this thing is NOT feasible, business-wise.

So the question is: Is this thing can be a business?

Or the intention of the platform is only for hobbyists with a spare capacity of just a few terabytes, or less.

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Hello @DD7,
Welcome to the forum!

With a dedicated hardware you may not have a ROI any time soon, see Realistic earnings estimator


@Alexey Thanks for clarity.

But really… I’m sad.

Right now, only if you already have access to a large number of IP addresses. For example, maybe you work for an ISP and you can install small nodes all over a city, taking advantage of a large IP space allocation. Or you have access to many data centres.


As owner of 300TB space for storj and 230 of them is full for today.
I will tel you that it is possible.
But you have to workout your own way hot to make it, how to monitor it…
Other way you will lose it all one day.


I get about 1tb of data a month on my one home Internet line (cable). Growth depends on how much gets deleted versus how much comes in. Revenue also is impacted by how much egress you have. So, it takes time, but not 30 years. However, I would not recommend this as a business plan, as the amount Storj pays could change down the road, and you would not have a way to predictably estimate revenue long term.

We suggest you don’t invest in hardware and use what you have on hand to be a node operator so you don’t experience losses on hardware costs.



1TB a month sounds a lot better. But noted: the pay could change. Thanks for sharing.

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@Vadim How long has your node been running?

This is a 12 month node located in Rome, Italy. Line 150/15

They are actually two node in parallel, so they work as one

i have 65 nodes, i builded it all about 3 years already.

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As V said above, you would have to run lots of storagenode on widely spaced IPs to make a business of it.
A single node can’t really get to $100 wages

There are a few who do it, we called them “the whales” in another thread


I’m mainly gonna say things that were posted above, with some extra details.

The quick answer to that is: Not even close to being easily possible. Unless you make great efforts for launching dozens of nodes geographically scattered all over a country, or the world… in a way that make them profitable. Like @Vadim did which should be seen as an exception. Most of us just run one or a few nodes behind a single IP address.

That’s the key thing here, and more precisely all nodes behind a single /24 subnet are seen as a “big single node” by satellites which means they all share ingress.

The rational behind this being that StorjLabs are doing their best for customers’ data to be as spread as possible so reliability is optimized, and avoid having data centers storing massive amount of data in a centralized building.

Had forgotten that :whale: :slight_smile:
Maybe we could find a better word for them? Like “Pro SNOs”, I dunno ^^
But that’s for another thread :wink:


Yeah… that’s what I now gather. That is also unfortunate.

1,000TB in one node might sound a lot but actually very tiny in the grand scheme of the whole system.

We need decentralization. But economic incentives are important if you want people to take part in and, for some, take it seriously. That means each node needs some scale. Or at least a prospect of practically increasing capacity down the road.

The more people take part in, the larger the community and even more words are spread.

And I’m not even talking about get-rich-quick kind of thing. I’m talking about a decent return given the risk. Now the return is deeply NEGATIVE. Hobbyists, idealists, enthusiasts with old HDD spare capacity, can only get you so far.

Worst, the platform now incentivizes people to game the system by spreading their capacity over numerous public ips. The machine that runs the nodes itself may or may not be in a different physical location. It can be done by only a handful of people with special access to resources. STORJ becomes a way to monetize their privileged position.

In this sense, STORJ rewards the powerful and penalizes the believers, economically speaking.

I was drawn to STORJ because I really think it is the best decentralized storage, to date. I would jump in even I get just a risk-free rate of return. But negative return is just too much to swallow. And the only way to avoid that is to hack the system? It’s just… sad.

If STORJ wants to get to the next level, it needs to rethink the whole economic incentive program.


Maybe that’s true, they could authorize a set number of nodes per /24 subnet for instance, instead of one.

Although I tend to agree, the thing is Storj is not very popular (yet?), so there is (unfortunately) absolutely no need for massive amount of storage capacity right now. If there was, Storj could raise up incentives and many SNOs are already ready to throw more nodes/disks at the network, if activity were to pick up significantly.

Numerous /24 subnets which makes things more complicated. How do you game the system though? With VPN faking your geo position? or access to ISP-grade networks? Either way it’s gonna cost you money, so I’m not sure it is that interesting, but agreed a handful people may be able to workaround the system, as in many fields…

How do you suggest Storj could handle the network in a more fair way, while still maintaining their current reliability? I’m sure they’d be open to discussion if brilliant ideas were suggested.

That’s understandable, but some setup are kinda profitable: I run my nodes on a raspberry Pi, drawing little power, on disks I already had and an Internet connexion that I already had too, for my personal needs, so Storj in my case is just a set-it-and-forget-it* side-bonus.
But I’m in the “hobbyist” group, for sure ^^’

* weeell… I tend to have regular issues with it to be honest and it even fried lately, so it’s not that of a “set-it-and-forget-it” thing in my case, but that teaches me how to manage a 24/7 server, sys-admin skills and so on :smiley:
Everyone’s mileage varies.


I agree with @DD7 here. Although decentralization is key koncept in the storj network, scalability possibilities for node operators should also be present.

Inflow of SNOs could in some theoretic future time saturate, which could bring scalability issues into the network itself.

I think there should be imlemented some kind of “Proof of interest” concept for SNOs. Maybe not the best, but something like: Add some stake (PoS) to the network, so we know you are serious about being bigger SNO and you can have more nodes on same subnet. Up to the point, where it won`t be any problem for the decentralization concept of the network, when (not if) you will have problems with providing the service.

I see that it is allready happening here for SNOs with multiple nodes routed through VPNs. Hey are paying VPS services which acts as PoS in my eyes and storj (probably) quietly accepts that.

Yes, that’s one way to go, practically.

Yes, it costs but here is the thing: even paying for the vpn to run multiple nodes with the “fake” ips, you still get better ROI than running a single node and then wait months/years to fill just a few terabytes.

That means people are incentivized to fake decentralization. Given the economics, how many nodes out there you think is not “fake”.

The idea behind Storj is decentralization of storage, which means that the ideal scenario is that all nodes have equal amount of data and traffic. Having some “special” nodes with more data/traffic than usual goes against it. This happens naturally to some extent, since not all nodes have the same speed or capacity, so the smaller ones fill up completely, but bigger ones continue to accumulate data.

Having one node for /24 subnet (as opposed to one node per IP) makes sense since if there is a problem with the ISP, whole /24 is likely to go down at the same time. Different ISPs assign IPs differently, but there is no real way to have special cases for everyone, so the /24 limit is an OK compromise.

There is no way to prove that I am running my node like a datacenter (on in a real datacenter) or that I am running multiple nodes on different hardware and there is no way to limit that. I could start a second node on the same pool, just using my backup ISP and there would be no way for Storj to know that.

However, that being said, there is a lower limit of earnings, below which it is no longer worth the effort to look after the node (“set it and forget it” may work for miners, but not Storj, as downtime can result in losses beyond what could be earned during that time), this is not counting expenses like hardware and power.


It’s chicken-and-egg thing.

STORJ will kill all the cloud services. Cost of storage per terabytes is $4 compared to $23 of AWS. The number is there. No sensible business will stay with AWS (or Google Cloud, etc) even with double the price.

But one big question from the demand side is: How the nodes are incentivized to stay operating?

Imagine you are a fortune 500 company wanting to migrate to STORJ, just to find out that all the nodes are run by either:

a. underpaid decentralized hobbyists who can turn off on a whim for various reasons more likely economic ones, or

b. overpaid centralized large whales with 100s of fake vpn ips, pretending to be decentralized

You wouldn’t bet exabytes of customers data on it , would you?

What they want to hear is:

c. fairly paid decentralized operators who are incentivized to invest for and maintain a certain quality of service, and NOT to fake decentralization

Maybe interesting for you:

Starting at 5:50.


Please note that right now, supply is much higher than demand. This means that so far hobbyists, idealists, enthusiasts are simply enough, Storj just doesn’t store enough data to bring business to professionals. That doesn’t rule out involving and attracting professionals in future—I’m just stating it’s not necessary just yet.

As for gaming the system, there is an idea to more accurately determine location of nodes. The moment Storj Inc. figures out that cheating is too high, they will implement it. Again, right now it seems cheating is not a big enough problem yet.

As for incentives for node operators, Storj Inc. never stated that they’re fixed forever. They will need to be changed to adapt to the changing environment. Maybe at some point some incentives will be developed to attract professionals. Right now, the current incentives seem to attract enough storage owners already.

You’re looking at a young system that does not implement all ideas possible yet, but there are plans to. And if you are impatient, well, Storj Inc. accepts patches.