package tezos-proxy

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Tezos: proxy


Dune Dependency






Published: 11 Apr 2022


Proxy Mode

The proxy mode is an alternative mode of tezos-client where some RPCs are done locally instead of being delegated to the node. The point is to discharge the node from potentially long computations, such as estimating baking rights.

This document is the developers' documentation of the proxy mode. It outlines the different modules implementing the proxy mode and how they interact with each other. Individual mli files contain additional documentation for things local to a module. This document aims to provide a higher-level view.


At the high-level, the proxy mode consists of:

  • A custom RPC client, capable of executing some RPCs locally; and of delegating others to the node.

  • A proxy context, that is capable of filling itself by requesting data from the node on the fly. This is what makes possible to execute RPCs locally: missing data is requested over the network under the hood.

tezos-client CLI

The proxy mode is requested by passing --mode proxy to the client. For this, src/lib_client/ contains a Mode_proxy value.

This flag is inspected in src/lib_client/ to build a Client_context.full instance whose underlying RPC_context.json behaves differently.

Custom RPC_context.json instance

The proxy mode's RPC_context.json instance is defined in src/lib_proxy/ This instance is capable both of executing some RPCs locally (by delegating to the mockup's client src/lib_mockup_proxy/ and of delegating RPCs to the node, like the vanilla client does. RPCs that cannot be executed locally are detected by matching the error Local_RPC_error (Rpc_not_found _).

Protocol-dependent functions

The proxy mode is implemented both as a library and with protocol-dependent code. The latter is declared in the module type Proxy_sig in src/lib_proxy/registration.mli. Each protocol then registers its implementation with a side effect, in a manner similar to how the mockup mode does.

The main protocol-dependent functions are:

  • Proxy_sig's directory function: it provides the part of the tree of RPCs that is implemented in the protocol. This is the tree of RPCs that can be executed locally by the proxy's custom RPC_context.json.

  • Proxy_sig's init_env_rpc_context function: it provides the instance of Tezos_protocol_environment.rpc_context to use when doing an RPC call. This record's main field is an instance of Environment_context.Context.t.

The value of Environment_context.Context.t built by the instances of Proxy_sig is where the proxy's core logic lies. The values returned are capable of filling themselves in the get method, by performing the /chains/main/blocks/head/context/raw/bytes RPC. By filling themselves, we mean that these values grow on-demand whenever a call to get is made. This is implemented in src/lib_protocol_environment/

Wrapper of the .../raw/bytes RPC: Proxy_getter

The instances of Proxy_context do not call the .../raw/bytes RPC directly. Instead they go through the module type M of src/lib_proxy/proxy_getter.mli. This interface is implemented in a protocol-independent manner. It takes care of the following:

  • If a request for a key of the context was made already, it avoids redoing the corresponding RPC request. This is crucial for performances because some algorithms (such as estimating baking rights) request keys that may be missing (without this case being a error). Hence Proxy_getter caches both data obtained and keys for which data is known to be missing.

  • When a request for some key k has to be made, Proxy_getter asks the protocol whether it is relevant to retrieve a parent key k'. This is relevant when it's known that sibling keys are often requested one after the other. Requesting the parent of both siblings allows to perform a single RPC call instead of two. This heuristic, called the get parent heuristic, is protocol-dependent because it depends on how the protocol's stores data in its context.

Interface of protocol-dependent code used by Proxy_getter is Proxy_getter.PROTO_RPC. It has two functions:

  • do_rpc which is meant to be implemented by calling the protocol's .../raw/bytes RPC.

  • split_key which provides the get parent heuristic.

Should the proxy be the default mode?

Experiments show that clients using the proxy mode do not significantly reduce the load of nodes. Detailed data is available on the proxy's MR. In a nutshell, on the node, the cost of executing many .../raw/bytes requests balances the gain of not executing full-fledged RPCs. Hence the proxy mode would reduce the nodes' load only if HTTP proxies were serving the .../raw/bytes in front of the "real" node. For the moment, as the proxy mode is a milestone towards the light mode, we prefer not to make the proxy mode the default mode.


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