<aside> ℹ️ Prysm Group has requested more information on Indexer node cost, to unlock work on profitability analysis, as part of engagement #2.
<aside> ℹ️ Prysm Group should identify here what the actual requirements are, so The Graph Foundation (@Pedro Diogo) can then work alongside Core Devs to collect such data.
PG: An average monthly infrastructure costs for indexers is sufficient.
In order to participate in the network, Indexers must deploy a specific set of software services on servers and maintain those services up and running in a reliable and performant manner. For this, Indexers either rely on cloud providers to rent the required set of servers or invest in dedicated hardware, being responsible for its maintenance. For the former, this can be seen as OPEX as there will always be recurring costs for such provided service; for the latter, this can be considered CAPEX as Indexers would invest a large sum upfront to buy dedicated infrastructure - however, it is important to note that Indexers may need to upgrade this infrastructure as their operation grows (indexing more subgraphs, serving more queries, etc.).
Besides infrastructure costs, Indexers must support the natural costs associated with on-chain transactions, which are detailed below under On-chain operations' costs. As such, to compute the average monthly expenses an Indexer may have, one must calculate both infrastructure costs as well as on-chain costs.
As most Indexers rely on cloud providers, we've tried to calculate their monthly costs with such services, selecting multiple offers from providers such as Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Hetzner. It must be noted that the infrastructure itself must be sized accordingly, meaning that Indexers wanting to service multiple subgraphs (and with the financial capacity to do so) must rely on larger and higher performant infrastructure. Furthermore, not all subgraphs demand the same degree of computation. To simplify things, a 3-tier hardware classification system has been put into place:
maxed out identifying 3 different Indexer profiles.
Indexer's Infrastructure Specs Tiers
Monthly Cloud Costs on Required Infrastructure (Index software)
An Ethereum Archive Node is an extra component required by Indexers. To calculate costs with such infrastructure, we've referred to Indexer Community's recommendations on required hardware.
Monthly Cloud Costs on Required Infrastructure (Ethereum Archive Node)
To efficiently serve subgraphs and the overall market, Indexers coordinate their business decisions through a series of interactions with smart contracts. These interactions may result in N on-chain transactions which incur a gas cost denominated in Ether.