Deploy Ethereum RPC Provider Load Balancer with HAProxy in Kubernetes (AWS EKS)

To achieve high availability and better performance, we could build a HAProxy load balancer in front of multiple Ethereum RPC providers, and also automatically adjust traffic weights based on the latency and block timestamp of each RPC endpoints.

ref:
https://www.haproxy.org/

Configurations

In haproxy.cfg, we have a backend named rpc-backend, and two RPC endpoints: quicknode and alchemy as upstream servers.

global
    log stdout format raw local0 info
    stats socket [email protected]*:9999 level admin expose-fd listeners
    stats timeout 5s

defaults
    log global
    mode http
    option httplog
    option dontlognull
    timeout connect 10s
    timeout client 60s
    timeout server 60s
    timeout http-request 60s

frontend stats
    bind *:8404
    stats enable
    stats uri /
    stats refresh 10s

frontend http
    bind *:8000
    option forwardfor
    default_backend rpc-backend

backend rpc-backend
    balance leastconn
    server quicknode 127.0.0.1:8001 weight 100
    server alchemy 127.0.0.1:8002 weight 100

frontend quicknode-frontend
    bind *:8001
    option dontlog-normal
    default_backend quicknode-backend

backend quicknode-backend
    balance roundrobin
    http-request set-header Host xxx.quiknode.pro
    http-request set-path /xxx
    server quicknode xxx.quiknode.pro:443 sni str(xxx.quiknode.pro) check-ssl ssl verify none

frontend alchemy-frontend
    bind *:8002
    option dontlog-normal
    default_backend alchemy-backend

backend alchemy-backend
    balance roundrobin
    http-request set-header Host xxx.alchemy.com
    http-request set-path /xxx
    server alchemy xxx.alchemy.com:443 sni str(xxx.alchemy.com) check-ssl ssl verify none

ref:
https://docs.haproxy.org/2.7/configuration.html
https://www.haproxy.com/documentation/hapee/latest/configuration/

Test it on local:

docker run --rm -v $PWD:/usr/local/etc/haproxy \
-p 8000:8000 \
-p 8404:8404 \
-p 9999:9999 \
-i -t --name haproxy haproxy:2.7.0

docker exec -i -t -u 0 haproxy bash

echo "show stat" | socat stdio TCP:127.0.0.1:9999
echo "set weight rpc-backend/quicknode 0" | socat stdio TCP:127.0.0.1:9999

# if you're using a socket file descriptor
apt update
apt install socat -y
echo "set weight rpc-backend/alchemy 0" | socat stdio /var/lib/haproxy/haproxy.sock

ref:
https://www.redhat.com/sysadmin/getting-started-socat

Healtchcheck

Then the important part: we're going to run a simple but flexible healthcheck script, called node weighter, as a sidecar container. So the healthcheck script can access HAProxy admin socket of the HAProxy container through 127.0.0.1:9999.

The node weighter can be written in any language. Here is a TypeScript example:

in HAProxyConnector.ts which sets weights through HAProxy admin socket:

import net from "net"

export interface ServerWeight {
    backendName: string
    serverName: string
    weight: number
}

export class HAProxyConnector {
    constructor(readonly adminHost = "127.0.0.1", readonly adminPort = 9999) {}

    setWeights(serverWeights: ServerWeight[]) {
        const scaledServerWeights = this.scaleWeights(serverWeights)

        const commands = scaledServerWeights.map(server => {
            return `set weight ${server.backendName}/${server.serverName} ${server.weight}\n`
        })

        const client = net.createConnection({ host: this.adminHost, port: this.adminPort }, () => {
            console.log("HAProxyAdminSocketConnected")
        })
        client.on("error", err => {
            console.log("HAProxyAdminSocketError")
        })
        client.on("data", data => {
            console.log("HAProxyAdminSocketData")
            console.log(data.toString().trim())
        })

        client.write(commands.join(""))
    }

    private scaleWeights(serverWeights: ServerWeight[]) {
        const totalWeight = sum(serverWeights.map(server => server.weight))

        return serverWeights.map(server => {
            server.weight = Math.floor((server.weight / totalWeight) * 256)
            return server
        })
    }
}

in RPCProxyWeighter.ts which calculates weights based a custom healthcheck logic:

import { HAProxyConnector } from "./connectors/HAProxyConnector"
import config from "./config.json"

export interface Server {
    backendName: string
    serverName: string
    serverUrl: string
}

export interface ServerWithWeight {
    backendName: string
    serverName: string
    weight: number
    [metadata: string]: any
}

export class RPCProxyWeighter {
    protected readonly log = Log.getLogger(RPCProxyWeighter.name)
    protected readonly connector: HAProxyConnector

    protected readonly ADJUST_INTERVAL_SEC = 60 // 60 seconds
    protected readonly MAX_BLOCK_TIMESTAMP_DELAY_MSEC = 150 * 1000 // 150 seconds
    protected readonly MAX_LATENCY_MSEC = 3 * 1000 // 3 seconds
    protected shouldScale = false
    protected totalWeight = 0

    constructor() {
        this.connector = new HAProxyConnector(config.admin.host, config.admin.port)
    }

    async start() {
        while (true) {
            let serverWithWeights = await this.calculateWeights(config.servers)
            if (this.shouldScale) {
                serverWithWeights = this.connector.scaleWeights(serverWithWeights)
            }
            this.connector.setWeights(serverWithWeights)

            await sleep(1000 * this.ADJUST_INTERVAL_SEC)
        }
    }

    async calculateWeights(servers: Server[]) {
        this.totalWeight = 0

        const serverWithWeights = await Promise.all(
            servers.map(async server => {
                try {
                    return await this.calculateWeight(server)
                } catch (err: any) {
                    return {
                        backendName: server.backendName,
                        serverName: server.serverName,
                        weight: 0,
                    }
                }
            }),
        )

        // if all endpoints are unhealthy, overwrite weights to 100
        if (this.totalWeight === 0) {
            for (const server of serverWithWeights) {
                server.weight = 100
            }
        }

        return serverWithWeights
    }

    async calculateWeight(server: Server) {
        const healthInfo = await this.getHealthInfo(server.serverUrl)

        const serverWithWeight: ServerWithWeight = {
            ...{
                backendName: server.backendName,
                serverName: server.serverName,
                weight: 0,
            },
            ...healthInfo,
        }

        if (healthInfo.isBlockTooOld || healthInfo.isLatencyTooHigh) {
            return serverWithWeight
        }

        // normalizedLatency: the lower the better
        // blockTimestampDelayMsec: the lower the better
        // both units are milliseconds at the same scale
        // serverWithWeight.weight = 1 / healthInfo.normalizedLatency + 1 / healthInfo.blockTimestampDelayMsec

        // NOTE: if we're using `balance source` in HAProxy, the weight can only be 100% or 0%,
        // therefore, as long as the RPC endpoint is healthy, we always set the same weight
        serverWithWeight.weight = 100

        this.totalWeight += serverWithWeight.weight

        return serverWithWeight
    }

    protected async getHealthInfo(serverUrl: string): Promise<HealthInfo> {
        const provider = new ethers.providers.StaticJsonRpcProvider(serverUrl)

        // TODO: add timeout
        const start = Date.now()
        const blockNumber = await provider.getBlockNumber()
        const end = Date.now()

        const block = await provider.getBlock(blockNumber)

        const blockTimestamp = block.timestamp
        const blockTimestampDelayMsec = Math.floor(Date.now() / 1000 - blockTimestamp) * 1000
        const isBlockTooOld = blockTimestampDelayMsec >= this.MAX_BLOCK_TIMESTAMP_DELAY_MSEC

        const latency = end - start
        const normalizedLatency = this.normalizeLatency(latency)
        const isLatencyTooHigh = latency >= this.MAX_LATENCY_MSEC

        return {
            blockNumber,
            blockTimestamp,
            blockTimestampDelayMsec,
            isBlockTooOld,
            latency,
            normalizedLatency,
            isLatencyTooHigh,
        }
    }

    protected normalizeLatency(latency: number) {
        if (latency <= 40) {
            return 1
        }

        const digits = Math.floor(latency).toString().length
        const base = Math.pow(10, digits - 1)
        return Math.floor(latency / base) * base
    }
}

in config.json:

Technically, we don't need this config file. Instead, we could read the actual URLs from HAProxy admin socket directly. Though creating a JSON file that contains URLs is much simpler.

{
    "admin": {
        "host": "127.0.0.1",
        "port": 9999
    },
    "servers": [
        {
            "backendName": "rpc-backend",
            "serverName": "quicknode",
            "serverUrl": "https://xxx.quiknode.pro/xxx"
        },
        {
            "backendName": "rpc-backend",
            "serverName": "alchemy",
            "serverUrl": "https://xxx.alchemy.com/xxx"
        }
    ]
}

ref:
https://www.haproxy.com/documentation/hapee/latest/api/runtime-api/set-weight/
https://sleeplessbeastie.eu/2020/01/29/how-to-use-haproxy-stats-socket/

Deployments

apiVersion: v1
kind: ConfigMap
metadata:
  name: rpc-proxy-config-file
data:
  haproxy.cfg: |
    ...
  config.json: |
    ...
---
apiVersion: apps/v1
kind: Deployment
metadata:
  name: rpc-proxy
spec:
  replicas: 2
  selector:
    matchLabels:
      app: rpc-proxy
  template:
    metadata:
      labels:
        app: rpc-proxy
    spec:
      volumes:
        - name: rpc-proxy-config-file
          configMap:
            name: rpc-proxy-config-file
      containers:
        - name: haproxy
          image: haproxy:2.7.0
          ports:
            - containerPort: 8000
              protocol: TCP
          resources:
            requests:
              cpu: 200m
              memory: 256Mi
            limits:
              cpu: 1000m
              memory: 256Mi
          volumeMounts:
            - name: rpc-proxy-config-file
              subPath: haproxy.cfg
              mountPath: /usr/local/etc/haproxy/haproxy.cfg
              readOnly: true
        - name: node-weighter
          image: your-node-weighter
          command: ["node", "./index.js"]
          resources:
            requests:
              cpu: 200m
              memory: 256Mi
            limits:
              cpu: 1000m
              memory: 256Mi
          volumeMounts:
            - name: rpc-proxy-config-file
              subPath: config.json
              mountPath: /path/to/build/config.json
              readOnly: true
---
apiVersion: v1
kind: Service
metadata:
  name: rpc-proxy
spec:
  clusterIP: None
  selector:
    app: rpc-proxy
  ports:
    - name: http
      port: 8000
      targetPort: 8000

The RPC load balancer can then be accessed through http://rpc-proxy.default.svc.cluster.local:8000 inside the Kubernetes cluster.

ref:
https://www.containiq.com/post/kubernetes-sidecar-container
https://hub.docker.com/_/haproxy

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