What should a newbie understand about being a SNO?

I’m putting together a short presentation about becoming a storage node operator. What would you tell yourself if you were a newbie? (not necessarily new to tech, just if you were new to being a SNO) thanks!

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Based on what I’ve found and read through on the forums, the biggest things would be making sure that knowing where to get information about the major troubleshooting steps are. The majority of support posts are around fixing the more common of the sqlite issues as well as basic log analysis to find important information. This also helps making a more informative support thread or ticket.

Outside of those, just ensuring that the escrow and auditing/vetting stages are well explained, that a new SNO may take a while before things really start happening but at the same time providing quick access to tools (official and community without lots of digging) to allow them to track their progress. The dashboard has come a long way for providing that information but there are still gaps that community tools help to fill in. Simple step by step information to setting up a wallet and getting funds exchanged would be great information too.

Also reiterate patience. Having been an SNO/storage farmer for a few years now, having patience with how the platform is progressing is important. Tons of progress has been made for those of us who have followed things for a while now (from v2 to v3 has been enormous) but for new users it may seem glacial at times in comparison.

In terms of what to tell prospective SNOs to attract them to the platform, that’s a tougher one as the thing that generally attracts people to participate is just straight up numbers, how much they can make, etc. The hard part with this is the variable nature of how much data will actually be stored. Lots of people also do it to be a part of a game changing, decentralized platform, which is a huge point in your corner.

Sorry my post is kind of all over the place, wasn’t 100% the angle you were wanting, figured I’d cover as many bases as possible.

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  1. It’s not mining. Having 100TB server and 10G uplink will not result in the server being full ($150/month) and link being saturated with you getting 3PB ($6000) upload per month.
  2. Right now, due to the majority of traffic being tests, the traffic can go up and down sharply for no apparent reason. That usually doe not indicate a problem with your node.
  3. You have to make the node reliable as it starts getting full traffic after a month and full income after 10 months. If you do not believe that your hard drive can last at least a year - use RAID. You also have to monitor the node as it can be disqualified after 5 hours (or whatever the new number is) of downtime.
  4. Do not use SMR drives, unless using a large array of them with SSD cache.
  5. Setting up multiple nodes most likely will not get you more traffic.
  6. Nodes are not ranked by the amount of free space available - if your node has enough free space for the file, it has the same chance to get it as a node with 100TB free.

First of all - if you start a node - it must work 24/7/365, so SNO must take care of it and remember that in one way or another it must pay for it.
And whether its hardware and operating system is reliable enough to allow it.

And by the way - what the abbreviations SN, SNO, etc. it would also be good to include in this guide.


I would start with setting expectations at a high level. Yes you can make income by participating in the ecosystem as a node operator, but the expectation is that your node will be highly available (offline for no more than 5 hours per month). This means working out stability on your equipment and network. If you lose your rig, your drive(s), you power or your network for extended periods you will not be seeing the revenue you are hoping for.

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I’d say by far the most important part is having the right expectations around payment. Many new SNOs are currently surprised about low payments in the first few months. So it’s important to explain the vetting process, the held amount percentages as well as the time it will take to fill up the space the node supplies to the network. Also make sure they know that payout takes a bit to process and payment for month 1 usually arrives in the second week of month 2.

I think the current earnings estimator is doing a disservice in this regard. There is too much emphasis on bandwidth limits (which don’t even affect node function anymore) and network speed and too little emphasis on data stored.
Some people expect way too high payouts to start from month one. And while those payouts may become more realistic when the node gets older, those SNOs will be gone before their node ever gets to this point, thinking they were simply lied to about earnings to begin with.
But just as important. The default setting of 2TB bandwidth limit tells node operators they can’t make more than a few dollars a month. Which is simply too low.

I’ll link this alternative version for an estimator one more time as it seems to be quite a bit more realistic. Storj earnings estimator - Google Sheets
If you want to play with the numbers, copy it to your own Google account.

Since bandwidth limits have been removed from the software, it’s important to list a requirement of up to 10TB of available bandwidth per month (my node used 8.5TB in April). Depending on connection speed of course. If your ISP bandwidth limit is lower than that, it’s probably not for you.
Be clear about 24/7 availability. But I would mention that in the context of suspension and disqualification. You can recover from it if you’re fast enough and you can start over if you get disqualified. Basically, make sure they know it’s not the end of the world either, but SNOs should prevent it from happening.

Other than that just make sure they know where to find the documentation and the forum (and the search feature in the forum :wink: ).

Edit: Added a line to explain payout arrives usually in the second week of the next month.


RAID are complicated enterprise class solutions and often tailored to specific needs, Want to try to run a storagenode then just put one node on a drive / partition and go from there… however storagenodes are quite demanding, so don’t expect perfect numbers on running one disk pr node.

anything less than 6-8 drives and raid is most likely a detrimental option for your profits and experience, ofc if you like working with storage, then its a perfect reason to get started on learning about storage solutions, but thats something you cannot avoid as a long term SNO.

Being a SNO is an distributed job where you mainly get paid, if you are good at it…

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Pretty much in agreement with what’s been written so far…

I would add a little bit about:

  • Basics of Ethereum addresses
  • Recommend signing up for an Etherscan account for email alerts when payments come in
  • SNOs getting paid in USD valuation at the time the transaction occurs

I would also add this gentle suggestion :

  • Have an option to receive up to $1.00 of the first month payout in ETH to the SNO address for the first month only.

The high risk of abusing. I would like to extend it to at least three months


How about the first $1 earned by the node is paid out as ETH, with the other payments being with the regular STORJ tokens? You can also limit it to once per node and address.
The SNO has earned that money anyway, so I do not really see the risk of abuse. OK, someone will keep creating new nodes on new addresses to get the $1 in ETH instead of the tokens, but at the same time he will earn much less in total.


I’m in agreement with @Alexey on waiting for month 3 to add an option for a small amount of ETH. The reason I think it’s important to have that option is… of course… to facilitate moving STORJ tokens around without needing to somehow acquire ETH in a new SNOs wallet.

Waiting 3 months is a good idea. However, I still think a little explanation of how Ethereum works and what ERC-20 tokens are is important for new SNOs.


this is all really great feedback, thank you


3 posts were merged into an existing topic: Why does Storj use the STORJ token?

Thanks for the spreadsheet - it is very helpful. I assume that this is based on high customer demand. What I find interesting is that if I double my HDD from 9 TB to 19 TB my revenue goes up by 50% over 24 months.

Completely agree. You don’t even need $1, just a first few cents on each satellite to cover a single erc20 transaction. You only need $0.02-$0.05 to pay for a transaction, so $0.1 per satellite will give you more than enough money to move your storj tokens around.

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this part of the discussion is slightly off-topic, but I think it’s worthy of discussion!

Therefore, can one of you please make this as a separate post in the Ideas & Suggestions category please?

That will ensure your recommendation doesnt become buried in the larger thread here, and also will help us mods keep the conversation organized. thank you.

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(ETA: I could have stepped in and split the topic with my mod powers, but I prefer that topics in Ideas/Suggestion have attribution to the community members. I like to give authorship credit :slight_smile: tagging @Pentium100 @anon27637763 @hoarder )