The last few days have seen some serious slowdowns, and setbacks in the Chia netspace growth. It is still growing VERY rapidly, with an extra three Exabytes being added over the last 4 or so days, but these blips are definitely slowing that growth.
It is unclear what is causing them, and due to the nature of a decentralized network the netspace numbers can only be inferred through probability, not known exactly. But let us speculate for a moment about the two factors I think that are causing this.
The first is the slowdown of new adopters for the consumer and prosumer farming demographics. There is no gold rush anymore, someone starting to plot today has a very uphill struggle in terms of solo farming without a huge investment. If the price of the coin were skyrocketing this may be different, but with the stagnant – albeit profitable – price there is not a lot of incentive to bring in new smallish farmers.
The second is manageability. I suspect that the enterprise farmers who bought a ton of storage and networking gear and started plugging it all together are starting to discover the nuances of running enterprise storage at scale, and how that is different than a ton of mining rigs all operating mostly independently.
Some of these issues will simply slow down the addition of new hardware and redirect employee efforts towards troubleshooting. This will slow them down, but wont stop them to any significant degree. These include simple planning problems in terms of architecture and ancillary gear requirements, as well as the effects of trying mix different vendor’s storage gear in order to minimize spend. There will be some compatibility problems that will require firmware updates and some head scratching. There are normal issues in dealing at the datacenter level, but its tough to plan for and it causes delays to things like storage deployments.
Some of these problems, however, will be catastrophic and will take entire farms offline for some time. Plugging in too much stuff without thinking. A 60 drive storage array isn’t nothing in terms of power requirements and plugging them in over and over again adds up. Not to mention when something doesnt show up on the management network, or storage network performance is shockingly poor when it does start working and slows down the rest of the network to where proofs stop working. These things happen, and I am going to bet all my Chia that none of these datacenter farms have a dev/test/pre-prod/production deployment pipeline to see this issues crop up before they plug them into their production networks.
We are going to see a lot of these things I think, because without using complex storage fabrics and high speed networking they have to just run a bunch of prosumer farms in a big room, which is horribly inefficient.