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Storing Data

The Powergate API leverages the concept of a user.

On IPFS, the ability to:

  • Store and retrieve data.
  • Track long-term deals on Filecoin.
  • Persist data on Filecoin.

Is managed through and scoped to a user.

Users can:

  • Manage the necessary state and capabilities.
  • Provide multi-tiered file storage.

Intro to Users

Users are associated with one or more Filecoin wallet addresses. You can use the Powergate admin API to create a new user. The Powergate will then:

  1. Create a new default wallet address for the user. You can configure the Powergate to automatically fund new wallets from a master address.
  2. Create a new API token linked to the user.
  3. Enable use of the user through the supplied token.

Almost all Powergate APIs rely on the user, including the CLI, so you'll need to supply the token to indicate which user your requests are targeting. Since each user has its own address, it has its own balance and therefore limits on the Filecoin network.


If you're providing a --lotusmasteraddr and --walletinitialfund, be sure that address exists in the Lotus node and has enough funds, since walletinitialfund attoFILs will be sent from there to fund from newly created users. Both flags are optional, and if not present, there won't be any auto-funding transaction, so you're responsible to fund wallet addresses of new users.

Multi-tiered design

Powergate provides you API access to a multi-tiered storage system built on IPFS and Filecoin.

In many places, we refer to these two tiers of storage as Hot (IFPS) and Cold (Filecoin). This mirrors multi-tiered storage often deployed with a hot storage layer in memory and a cold storage layer on disk.

Hot storage layer

Data stored in the Powergate hot layer is available to the IPFS network (or private network). Hot storage is designed to be fast and available on the IPFS network (private or public DHT). Data stored with hot enabled is pinned to the Powergate's IPFS node.

If Hot Storage is disabled, the IPFS node is still used as transient storage for data in Filecoin. This data will still exist in the IPFS node until a garbage collection runs, so you might benefit from temporal hot storage for retrievals even if you don't have Hot Storage enabled.

Cold storage layer

Data stored in the Powergate Cold layer is stored by miners on the Filecoin network (localnet or mainnet). You can use the StorageConfig to configure many properties of the Cold storage layer per file you store, such as where, how many copies, and how long to store the file.

Moving between tiers

Hot to Cold

The most common scenario is where data is stored initially with cold disabled and later a new StorageConfig is pushed that enables cold storage. In this scenario, Powergate will resolve the file from the hot layer, and create any newly required Filecoin deals to fulfill.

Cold to Hot

Data stored only in the cold layer isn't guaranteed to be available on the IPFS network.

For it to be available, you need to push a new storage config that enables hot storage. You can automate this movement using the AllowUnfreeze flag of the StorageConfig.

Either way, Powergate will always attempt to resolve the data first by trying to fetch it from the IPFS network. If unable to do that, Powergate will execute a retrieval deal to pull the data from Filecoin. Finally, the data will be pinned in hot layer IPFS storage and available on the IPFS network.

Read more about updating the StorageConfig here.

Using Powergate to store data

To start using most Powergate APIs, you must first create a user.

Create a user

Using the Powergate CLI admin commands, you can create a new user easily.

pow admin user create
    "user":  {
        "id":  "0ac0fb4d-581c-4276-bd90-a9aa30dd4cb4",
        "token":  "883f57b1-4e66-47f8-b291-7cf8b10f6370"

Add environmental variable (optional)

The --token is used to scope the requests to the user we created. You can skip setting the --token flag on every command by adding your new token as an environmental variable. For the rest of the examples, we'll assume you've set this environmental variable.

export POW_TOKEN=883f57b1-4e66-47f8-b291-7cf8b10f6370

Make data available

Powergate requires stored data to be available over IPFS. If you're using the CLI, you can ensure it's available by staging it on IPFS using stage.

Note that stage does not store your data in the Powergate. It's an optional step that caches your data to ensure it's available on IPFS before being stored in Powergate. This is technically equivalent to ipfs add --pin=false, which is adding data without pinning it.

pow data stage <path/filename>
    "cid":  "<cid>"


If data exists on the IPFS network, you don't need to run stage as the Powergate will automatically fetch that data from remote peers.

Initiate storage

The Powergate manages stored files based on the setup defined in a StorageConfig.

For Powergate to manage a new file by moving it from the cached state created above, to the Hot and/or Cold layers, we must apply a new StorageConfig for the CID we generated above.

Every user has a default StorageConfig that will be used for every new deal unless overridden.

pow config apply --watch <cid>
    "jobId":  "b4110048-5367-4ae5-8508-709bf7969748"
                 JOB ID                |       STATUS         | MINER  |  PRICE   |    DEAL STATUS     
  70368cda-d65a-4e11-8a9f-fbf36135f563 | JOB_STATUS_EXECUTING |        |          |                    

When complete, you should see,

                 JOB ID                |       STATUS       | MINER  |  PRICE   |    DEAL STATUS     
  b4110048-5367-4ae5-8508-709bf7969748 | JOB_STATUS_SUCCESS |        |          |                    
                                       |                    | f01000 | 62500000 | StorageDealActive


Powergate is configured by default to run up to 50 pushes in parallel, though you can update this setting as needed. Read more about the design here.

Storage Job Watch

The status will update as the deal progresses. If you apply a storage config without the --watch flag, you can check the progress later using, watch.

pow storage-job watch <jobid>

Retrieve files

Finally, you can verify that the file was stored on the network by making a request to get it back out.

pow data get <cid> myfile2
Success! Data written to myfile2


If you interact directly with the IPFS node, do not ever manually modify the pinset. The Powergate requires full control over the pinset since it's required when users specify HotStorage.Enabled=true. Manually interacting with the IPFS node's pinset could lead to unexpected behavior in the Powergate.

Miner selection

Powergate has many internal components that are used to simplify the process of using Filecoin. One set of components are the Powergate's indexes, where it collects information about miners including, power, sector size, storage ask price, etc.

With that information, the Powergate can create a reasonable ranking of miners. Miners that are most promising for making deals will show up at the top.

When storing data in cold storage, Powergate will use this information to automate finding miners and initiating deals. You can use the StorageConfig to help direct the Powergate to miners that match your particular requirements.

Learn more

Powergate does a lot of work out of the box. If you'd like to learn more about the components, design, and capabilities of Powergate, we encourage you to read the FFS Design document which gets into more of the technical detail behind Powergate's API.