Freenet as a Network Node Heartbeat Monitor

While real application of Freenet is for anonymous, censorship tolerant network. I am experimenting its usefulness as poor man’s server heartbeat monitor.

The idea is, I’d configure each node as Darknet only mode, and only exchange keys with nodes to monitor the server. Participating nodes can monitor status of server by whether it is available or not, and there are unique advantages in this setting:

  • The system does not require global IP — NAT traversal works seamlessly with Freenet.
  • Completely decentralized — you do not need dedicated server to monitor.
  • Freenet runs on just about any operating systems.
  • Not only you can get information about whether you can connect the A node to the B node, but you can also figure out if the B node to the C node connections are available. The Friends page on Freenet makes itself evident if one of leaf node has access to other. (In smaller network, you could exchange a noderef among each node. Bigger set of servers probably will require more coordinations.)
  • Possibly expandable using FCP. For example, you can set each node to push out reachability report every once in a while to be retrieved from monitoring systems, for example.
  • The load on the network is light in Darknet settings.
  • No plain text transfer.
  • N2NTM feature makes it easy to transfer small segment of text or a file across the node, and it is encrypted, too.

Setting up a Darknet node without extra plugins makes it very lightweight, in my test environment, taking as little as 60MB of RAM, which seems to make it an ideal solution for small scale network environment where setting up a server monitoring system unpractical.

By Hideki Saito

In the video game industry for for more than 15 years. Currently working for Nintendo of America Inc. as a Localization Engineer, developing the translation solutions.