Alchemy Subgraphs Overview

Learn about subgraphs, their uses cases and the Alchemy Subgraphs platform.

Alchemy Subgraphs (formerly Satsuma) is a blockchain indexing platform with drop-in support for hosted subgraphs.

Understanding Subgraphs

Alchemy Subgraphs allow developers to create specialized APIs, aka subgraphs, that define how to ingest, process, and store information from the blockchain, making it easier for apps to query blockchain data

Pain Points Addressed by Alchemy Subgraphs

Alchemy Subgraphs offer a solution designed to mitigate the following pain points and streamline the process for developers:

1. In-House Indexing System Limitations

The main alternative to subgraphs is developing an in-house indexing system, which is resource-intensive, and has considerable drawbacks:

  • Engineering Time & Cost: Engineering resources from product development are diverted in order to construct and maintain a custom indexing system.
  • Complexity & Expertise: Building an indexing system requires specialized knowledge about blockchain intricacies, such as reorgs and data decoding. Companies often face a steep learning curve or need to hire additional, specialized staff.

2. Limitations with Existing Subgraph Services

Using subgraphs with other current hosted services, also comes with its challenges:

  • Performance Issues: Slow initial sync times, reindexes, and query response can bottleneck development.
  • Reliability Concerns: Downtime and inconsistent API performance, often due to operational inefficiencies, user abuse, or maintenance, can disrupt services.
  • Lack of Visibility: Insufficient insights into indexing and query metrics lead to a lack of trust and additional time spent debugging.
  • Data Lag: Delays in data updates can impede real-time functionality.
  • Customer Support: Limited or no direct support hampers problem resolution.

Current decentralized services introduce further complications:

  • Operational Overhead: Using this service entails complex processes such as acquiring and staking tokens, and signaling your subgraph to indexers.
  • Exposure and Privacy: The necessity to make your subgraph publicly accessible.
  • Indexer Reliance: No guarantee that indexers will prioritize or even process your subgraph.
  • Technical Support: Lack of a direct line for technical support to indexers can prolong issue resolution.

3. Self-Hosting Difficulties

Self-hosting subgraphs brings its own set of issues:

  • Maintenance Burden: Operators need to invest significant time and effort into system upkeep.
  • Performance Dependency: Indexing speed is contingent on running personal RPC nodes.
  • Infrastructure Costs: There are high costs associated with running the necessary graph node, database, and RPC nodes.

Alchemy Subgraphs APIs

Further Resources