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Peer-to-Peer Endpoints

Last updated 26 September 2023

ProxyStore Endpoints are in-memory object stores with peering capabilities. Endpoints enable data transfer with proxies between multiple sites using NAT traversal.


Endpoints are experimental and the interfaces and underlying implementations may change. Refer to the API docs for the most up-to-date information.


At its core, the Endpoint is an in-memory data store built on asyncio. Endpoints provide a REST API, served using Quart, and ProxyStore provides the EndpointConnector as the primary interface for clients to interact with endpoints.

ProxyStore Endpoints

Figure 1: ProxyStore Endpoints overview. Clients can make requests to any endpoint and those request will be forwarded to the correct endpoint. Endpoints establish peer-to-peer connections using UDP hole-punching and a publicly accessible relay server.

Unlike popular in-memory data stores (Redis, Memcached, etc.), ProxyStore endpoints can operate as peers even from behind different NATs without the need to open ports or SSH tunnels. To achieve direct data transfer between peers, endpoints use the WebRTC standard to determine how the peers can connect.

As shown in Fig. 1, endpoints use a commonly accessible relay server to facilitate peer connections. When an endpoint is started, the Endpoint registers with the relay server. Then, when an endpoint needs to make a request from a peer, (1) the endpoint creates an offer and asks the relay server to forward the offer to the peer endpoint. The relay server forwards the offer (2) and the peer endpoint creates an answer to the received offer. The peer endpoint returns the answer to the original endpoint via the relay server (3, 4).

The offer and answer contain information about the local and remote sessions of the endpoints which can be used to complete the peer-to-peer connection (5). (Note: this is a great simplification and more details can be found at The peers will then keep a data channel open between themselves for the remainder of their lifetime.

Clients interacting with an endpoint via the REST API and typical object store operations (get, set, etc.) specify a key and an endpoint UUID. Endpoints that receive a request with a different endpoint UUID will attempt a peer connection to the endpoint if one does not exist already and forward the request along and facilitate returning the response back to the client.

Endpoint CLI


Peer-to-peer connections between two Endpoints are not supported on all network types. The NAT traversal techniques used to establish peer-to-peer connections are unreliable across symmetric NATs or poorly behaved legacy NATs. To check the compatibility of your network, use the proxystore-endpoint check-nat CLI tool.

Endpoints can be configure and started with the proxystore-endpoint command. By default, an Endpoint is configured to connect to ProxyStore's cloud-hosted relay server. This relay server uses Globus Auth for identity and access management. To use the provided relay server, authenticate using the proxystore-globus-auth login CLI. Authentication only needs to be performed once per system.


Endpoints can be started using a client identity, rather than as a user, by exporting the PROXYSTORE_GLOBUS_CLIENT_ID and PROXYSTORE_GLOBUS_CLIENT_SECRET environment variables. This is similar to how Globus Compute supports client login.

$ proxystore-globus-auth login
$ proxystore-endpoint configure my-endpoint
INFO: Configured endpoint: my-endpoint <a6c7f036-3e29-4a7a-bf90-5a5f21056e39>
INFO: Config and log file directory: ~/.local/share/proxystore/my-endpoint
INFO: Start the endpoint with:
INFO:   $ proxystore-endpoint start my-endpoint

Endpoint configurations are stored in $PROXYSTORE_HOME/{endpoint-name} or $XDG_DATA_HOME/proxystore/{endpoint-name} (see home_dir()) and contain the name, UUID, host address, port, relay server address, and more.


By default, $XDG_DATA_HOME/proxystore will usually resolve to ~/.local/share/proxystore. You can change this behavior by setting $PROXYSTORE_HOME in your ~/.bashrc or similar configuration file.

export PROXYSTORE_HOME="$HOME/.proxystore"

A typical configuration looks like the following.

name = "my-endpoint"  # (1)!
uuid = "d27cf8cb-45fa-46b0-b907-27c830da62e3"  # (2)!
port = 8765  # (3)!

address = "wss://"  # (4)!
peer_channels = 1  # (5)!
verify_certificate = true  # (6)!

method = "globus"  # (7)!

[relay.auth.kwargs]  # (8)!

database_path = "~/.local/share/proxystore/my-endpoint/blobs.db"  # (9)!
max_object_size = 10000000  # (10)!
  1. Human-readable name of this endpoint. Only used for logging and CLI operations.
  2. Unique identifier of this endpoint.
  3. Change the default port if running multiple endpoints on the same system.
  4. Comment out the relay address if you want to start the endpoint in SOLO mode. Peering will not be available, but all other functionality will remain.
  5. Number of channels to multiplex peer communications over. Increasing this to two or four may improve performance on certain networks.
  6. Only disable this when connecting to a local relay server using self-signed certificates for testing and development purposes.
  7. Authentication method to use with the relay server. Comment this out when using a local relay server without authentication.
  8. Optional keyword arguments to use when creating the authorization headers. Typically only used for testing and development purposes.
  9. Optional path to a SQLite database for persisting endpoint objects. See the tip below for more details.
  10. Maximum object size. Comment out to disable object size limits.


Endpoints provide no data persistence by default, but this can be enabled by passing the --persist flag when configuring the endpoint or by setting "database_path" in the [storage] section of the config. When set, blobs stored by the endpoint will be written to a SQLite database file. Note this will result in slower performance.

An up-to-date configuration description can found in the EndpointConfig docstring.

Starting the endpoint will load the configuration from the ProxyStore home directory, initialize the endpoint, and start a Quart app using the host and port.

$ proxystore-endpoint start my-endpoint


The primary interface to endpoints is the EndpointConnector.


This section assumes familiarity with proxies and the Store interface. See the Get Started guide before getting started with endpoints.

Endpoint Client Example
from proxystore.connectors.endpoint import EndpointConnector
from import Store

connector = EndpointConnector(
store = Store(name='default', connector=connector)

p = store.proxy(my_object)

The EndpointConnector takes a list of endpoint UUIDs. This list represents any endpoint that proxies created by this store may interact with to resolve themselves. The EndpointConnector will use this list to find its home endpoint, the endpoint that will be used to issue operations to. To find the home endpoint, the ProxyStore home directory will be scanned for any endpoint configurations matching the one of the UUIDs. If a match is found, the EndpointConnector will attempt to connect to the endpoint using the host and port in the configuration. This process is repeated until a reachable endpoint is found. While the user could specify the home endpoint directly, the home endpoint may change when a proxy travels to a different machine.

Proxy Lifecycle

Dataflow with Proxies and Endpoints

Figure 2: Flow of data when transferring objects via proxies and endpoints.

In distributed systems, proxies created from an EndpointConnector can be used to facilitate simple and fast data communication. The flow of data and their associated proxies are shown in Fig. 2.

  1. Host A creates a proxy of the target object. The serialized target is placed in Host A's home/local endpoint (Endpoint 1). The proxy contains the key referencing the target, the endpoint UUID with the target data (Endpoint 1's UUID), and the list of all endpoint UUIDs configured with the EndpointConnector (the UUIDs of Endpoints 1 and 2).
  2. Host A communicates the proxy object to Host B. This communication is cheap because the proxy is just a thin reference to the object.
  3. Host B receives the proxy and attempts to use the proxy initiating the proxy resolve process. The proxy requests the data from Host B's home endpoint (Endpoint 2).
  4. Endpoint 2 sees that the proxy is requesting data from a different endpoint (Endpoint 1) so Endpoint 2 initiates a peer connection to Endpoint 1 and requests the data.
  5. Endpoint 1 sends the data to Endpoint 2.
  6. Endpoint 2 replies to Host B's request for the data with the data received from Endpoint 2. Host B deserializes the target object and the proxy is resolved.

Hosting a Relay Server

The proxystore-endpoint configure CLI will configure endpoints to use a relay server hosted by the ProxyStore team. If this is not suitable (or the ProxyStore relay is unavailable) we provide all of the tools to host your own relay server. See the Relay Serving Guide to learn more.