Based in Seattle - Servers around the globe

Premium Stake Pool running on Microsoft Azure

Powered by Cardano

We are a Premium Cardano Stakepool

Delegation Address: 79c4d4fe108f480fee98f307adac12571df2959651f833b595141cd1

News updates: See our Twitter page for the most up-to date information.

(Below is our actual feed, feel free to scroll down and browse)

Why Should You Choose AzureADA? Us? AZUR?

There are a lot of stake pools out there to choose from. Thank you for considering us. Find out why we are an excellent choice. Choose stake pool operators who are experienced, have a solid infrastructure, and have skin in the game. Below are just a few of the reasons why AzureADA (with ticker AZUR) is a pool you can trust to grow your ADA investment. See the Frequently Asked Questions below for some concrete tips to help you choose the best pool.

Multiple Professionals

We have not one, not two, but THREE main team members. Our ops guy has over 20 years in IT security and consulting and ran all the IT operations for two separate companies. He is Azure certified (indicating a proven level of competency). Our dev guy actually develops on the Azure platform. And we have a business and marketing guy to keep things organized and rolling. This give us more than one set of eyes and hands to run the pool.

Large Pledge

Pledge is how much ADA we, as stake pool operators invested in the stake pool and promise to keep in it. It is an indication that we have "skin in the game" and are super-serious about being successful. At the time of writing this, we are in the top 3.8% of pool pledge... we have more invested than over 96% of the other pools.

We've also invested thousands of dollars into our infrastructure, marketing, and other elements of our stake pool, above and beyond our ADA holdings.

Enterprise-Class

Enterprise-class is a fancy way of saying that we're not playing around. We use the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, the biggest, most secure, and most feature-rich cloud platform in the world. Mission-critical systems are hosted on the Azure cloud.

If banks and hospitals trust Azure with their sensitive and life-saving systems, you can rest assured that it will run your stake pool just fine.

We follow industry best practices in how we architect and run the stake pool.

Global

As you can see from our topology diagram below, our Cardano server infrastructure has a global footprint. We leverage Microsoft Azure's world-class distributed network and have the flexibility to deploy servers around the globe. We currently have servers in:

  • Japan
  • The Netherlands
  • France
  • USA
  • Layered Security

    Without divulging too much of our secret sauce, we layer multiple security features on top of one another. We enlist current best practices like air-gapped workstation, multi-factor authentication, restricting management traffic to specific locations, certificate based authentication, etc.

    We may add breathalyzer tests, DNA testing, paper-scissors-rock competitions, or virtual arm wrestling in the future. Are those things available yet? Hmm, have to check on that.

    Nimble & Adaptive

    With 3 separate Azure tenants, and a flexible work schedule, we are able to respond quickly to any changing circumstances.

    Our infrastructure can be moved and changed in a matter of minutes to best contribute to decentralization.

    Involved

    If you look at our Twitter feed, you'll see that we are VERY involved in Cardano. We post almost daily at times.

    Recently, we held a live Meetup in Kyiv with a key Cardano player, professor Roman Oliynykov, from IOG, who helped develop the Ouroboros protocol. We have other Meetups scheduled.

    Cardano fans since 2017

    We've been closely following Cardano project since 2017 and have invested substantially, both time and money. We are all in! Each of us own ADA and has skin in the game. We each have Cardano tattoos. So do all our kids. OK, no tattoos, but you never know what the future holds!

    Killer Infrastructure

    We have an all-new infrastructure for the Shelley Mainnet (which went live July 29, 2020). We have six production servers running at all times, distributed across the globe for decentralization. One is the the active block-producing Node, with a replicated standby server that can take over in an instant. Four Relay servers sit in front of the block producers, maintaining an up-to-date copy of the block chain and being reliable partners. We advertise two of them and run the other two on private rings to prevent targeted network attacks from disabling our pool.

    We typically also have some extra test servers we use to refine our automation and security processes, as well as servers that are turned off, to reduce operation costs and save resources, but that can be turned on in minutes, as we experiment with global placement.  

    The net result is a highly connected, secure, and resilient infrastructure that provides an amazingly solid stake pool.

    Why Do We Use Azure?

    So what is Microsoft Azure, and why do we use it instead of hosting our servers in our house? In short, we are “renting” server space from Microsoft. Their professionals manage and maintain the infrastructure, allowing us to focus completely on Cardano.

    Most Decentralized Public Cloud

    Microsoft Azure has 54 regions in 140 countries around the globe. Each region has at least 2 data centers, with most having 3. So, there are roughly 180 different locations around the globe. This is the most of any public cloud provider.

    With the goal of a solid blockchain being decentralization, Azure is already off to a great start to spread Cardano nodes around the globe.

    As our pool grows, we will take advantage of the global footprint and target locations that are under-represented by Cardano nodes.

    We do have the option of deploying bare metal servers in Seattle as necessary, too (20 years experience deploying bare metal).

    Most Secure Public Cloud

    Azure has more than 90 compliance certifications, including over 50 specific to global regions and countries, such as the US, the European Union, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, India, and China. And, it has more than 35 compliance offerings specific to the needs of key industries, including health, government, finance, education, manufacturing, and media.

    Microsoft spends over $1 Billion annually on security, employs over 3,000 professionals focused exclusively on security. They also processes trillions of security signals daily. This is an enormous focus on security.

    If the security is good enough for banking, government, and other highly sensitive industries, you can rest assured knowing our stake pool is on a provably secure platform.

    Most Feature-Rich Public Cloud

    There are over 200 products in the Azure ecosystem... more than AWS, Google, or any other. Microsoft is ahead of the competition in solving today and tomorrow's computing challenges.

    FAST Networking

    Generally speaking, public clouds have really fast Internet. Our speed tests have shown up to 6 or so gigabits per second of speed--this is 6 times faster than the fastest residential Internet speed ("gigabit"). It's also backed by multiple Internet backbones, so an outage in one provider will not bring the Internet down.

    Since a blockchain is all about sending and receiving blocks through the entire network, the faster the connection, the more quickly it can get blocks distributed throughout the global network. A fast network can propagate blocks faster than a slow one, improving the odds of being the chosen block in "block battles" which do happen.

    DDoS Protection

    Azure has built in Distributed Denial of Service attack mitigation. This is an attempt to send so much traffic to a computer or computers, that they are overwhelmed and can't function (like, say mint a block). Azure gives wayyyyy more protection than a computer in a basement somewhere does. Again, more protection to keep blocks minting.

    24/7/365 Monitoring and Security

    Azure data centers are monitored and secured every second of every day. Access is controlled into the building. There are teams of professionals whose only job it is is to make sure that the computers running in Azure are secure, up to date and running well. This lets us focus on the stake pool, not the infrastructure. Plus, we need sleep, so having someone else make sure the servers are running 24/7/365 is priceless.

    Redundancy

    Servers running in Azure data centers have redundant systems designed to insure that the servers continue to function. Not only are do the servers themselves have redundant power supplies and other features, but there are redundant racks of computers, including geographically distant (so that say, an earthquake in one area won't impact the redundant system). There are power generators, redundant Internet connections and a whole bunch of other redundant systems we don't even know about that go WAY above what we could provide in our basement or garage. This is state-of-the-art technology and safety practices. This all helps AzureADA keep the rewards to you coming, without interruption.

    Meet our Team

    Meet the people behind AzureADA

    Ryan

    Founder

    Ryan fell in love with Cardano in 2017 and started AzureADA at the end of 2019

    Eric

    Infrastructure, Operations & Security

    Eric puts the "goo" in guru, and is an engineer at Microsoft who works on Azure and is a well-seasoned a 20+ year IT vet who's run the entire IT operations end to end.

    Teran

    Operations & Development

    Teran actually is a developer on the Microsoft Azure Identity platform

    NOTE: This video was prepared during the Incentivized Test Net phase, prior to the main network release, so the topology discussed does not apply to our current Main net configuration, as shown in the topology diagram, above. However, the substance is still the same–awesome platform. Awesome operators. Plus, you still get to see our handsome mugs.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    It takes 2 epochs for rewards to be awarded. When you delegate for the first time, it takes 4 epochs, then they are delayed every 2 epochs. Using sites like pooltool, cardanoscan, adapools, or poolrank can help you see the rewards and understand when to expect them.

    Rewards are built into the protocol itself. The stake pool operators don’t control or distribute it, it just happens automatically.

    1. Do your research
      1. Know the available tools to help research pool performance. The main players are  pooltool, cardanoscan, adapools, and poolrank.
      2. Know the factors that are important:
        1. return on stake/return on ADA (RoS/RoA)
        2. over saturation (which means LESS rewards for delegators)
        3. pledge (how much ADA the pool owners putting into the pool themselves)
        4. active & live stake
        5. trends
    2. Choose a solid stake pool
      1. It should mint 100% of assigned blocks, or very close to it, if they happen to lose slot battles
      2. It should have a resilient infrastructure to handle computer and network issues; 100% uptime with a perfectly running pool=more blocks which =more rewards
      3. It should have top-notch security to keep pool running
      4. It should be operated by people who understand the operating system it runs on, how the Cardano blockchain works, and how to recover quickly if something goes wrong
      5. Ideally, it should be communicative and transparent
      6. Ideally, it should be ran by operators who are active in the community
    3. Put time on your side
      1. Never jump pools after an epoch or two if a pool is minting its blocks
      2. Realize that luck plays a role-some epochs will be “lucky” and some will be “unlucky” and some will be in between
      3. Look at trends. All pools will have a relatively bad epoch now and again, but look for trends over the last 10 epochs or so to get an idea of overall performance

    To explore these things in more detail, head over to our Performance page.

    Some would argue that using a public cloud such as Azure, AWS, Google, etc., goes against the blockchain goal of decentralization. And, if everyone used the same cloud, they might have an argument. But the fact is, as pool operators who have been involved in both the Incentivized Test Network (ITN) and the Shelley testnet and now mainnet, we have seen operators using everything imaginable, from bare metal servers at their home, private data centers at their place of business, cloud service providers, to Raspberry/Rock Pi devices and even a mobile phone.

    There is a robust, decentralized infrastructure out there, and we choose to run on part of it. As mentioned above, the Azure cloud has over 150 distinct data centers (think really large building that are 30 or more miles away from each other) around the globe. That alone is a pretty good stab at decentralization. When you add up all of the the others, Azure-based pools make up only a small percentage. As it stands, we’re only aware of about 5 other Azure-based pools (but there are no doubt more that we’re not aware of).

    Using Azure give our contribution and incredibly robust and dependable infrastructure upon which to contribute to Cardano.

    There are some fabulous tools out there to help you analyze stake pools. The main ones are pooltool, cardanoscan, adapools, and poolrank.

    Some of these do not rank pools themselves, but let you explore them according to different criteria and decide for yourself. 

    And of course, many pools have Websites, Twitter, YouTube, Telegram, Reddit or other social media sites. 

    Well, it varies as we spool up test machines and experiment with Azure features, but it’s typically between $300-$500 US. At some point, hopefully this expense will be covered by the stake pool fees, but for now, we are committed to contributing to the Cardano ecosystem which we wholeheartedly believe in. 

    Well, we’re glad you asked! The Daedalus pool ranking has been hotly contested… it has been largely random, and now is somewhat more accurate for the “top” 150 pools. But it does not factor in saturation and is not considered very good ranking at this point.

    The following data will obviously change over time, but as of writing this (09/21/2020, epoch 218), our lifetime Return on Stake/Return on ADA/Interest or whatever you want to call it, according to adapools.org was at 5.71%. This puts us in 5th place! As you can see, you don’t need to delegate to a huge pool, smaller pools can pay as good or better as the largest pools. A huge pool can reach saturation (210M at time of writing), and then your rewards will go DOWN, as the rewards don’t increase after saturation, but the number of delegates getting a slice of the pie does.

    11PCT86.47%  
    2OCEA56.15%  
    31PCT55.93%  
    41PCT25.75%  
    5AZUR5.71%  
    61PCT05.56%  
    7OCEAN5.48%  
    81PCT95.31%  
    9ACL5.29%  
    101PCT5.26%  
    111PCT45.12%

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    BTW: AzureADA stakepool has no relationship or affiliation to the Microsoft Azure cloud service, or Microsoft. We use the Microsoft Azure cloud for our Cardano servers and infrastructure, and since we love azure blue, we named our pool after that. Please do not conflate our pool in any way to an official Microsoft resource. We use Microsoft products and have Microsoft employees on staff, but there is no official relationship to Microsoft. Thanks 🙂