Exploring Alternatives to VertexAI

May 8, 2024
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Introduction to VertexAI

Vertex AI is a unified and integrated AI platform from Google Cloud designed to assist data scientists and developers in creating, training, and deploying machine learning models with efficiency and ease. Vertex AI amalgamates Google Cloud services for AI into a single environment, offering a broad range of tools from pre-trained APIs to AutoML and AI Platform. Noteworthy features of Vertex AI include its seamless integration with Google Cloud storage and analytics, an extensive library of pre-trained AI components, and the ability to automate and streamline the deployment of AI solutions.

The platform is engineered to optimize the entire machine learning workflow, which includes the processes of building, training, and deploying models. With Vertex AI, you benefit from state-of-the-art AI and ML tools that leverage Google's cutting-edge technology and services. It's tailored to facilitate scaling from prototype to production without having to manage the underlying infrastructure, thanks to its auto-scaling capabilities and fully managed services.

Pricing :  Vertex AI employs a pay-as-you-go model, similar to other Google Cloud services, where charges are based on the resources utilized such as compute hours, data processing, and storage. Google Cloud provides cost estimation tools to help manage expenses effectively.

Vertex AI may be an appropriate choice if :

  • You're looking for a platform with a strong integration of Google's AI tools and services, enabling the development of sophisticated models with less effort.
  • You require a platform that offers advanced ML capabilities with minimal management of infrastructure.
  • You prefer a platform that offers flexibility in managing costs according to resource usage.
  •  You're comfortable with Google Cloud's environment and are looking to leverage its extensive AI and machine learning capabilities.

Reasons for Exploring Alternatives to VertexAI :

While Vertex AI is a powerful solution for AI and ML projects, potential users should consider the platform's learning curve, especially those new to Google Cloud. Additionally, for some projects, the costs could escalate with increased usage of certain features like AutoML. Users who wish to avoid vendor lock-in or require a more agnostic platform in terms of cloud services may also look for other options. Each project's unique needs must be considered to determine if Vertex AI is the optimal platform for developing and deploying ML models.

6 Best VertexAI alternatives

  1. TrueFoundry
  2. IBM Watson Studio
  3. Databricks Data Intelligence Platform
  4. Seldon Core
  5. MLflow
  6. Valohai

TrueFoundry

TrueFoundry is designed to significantly ease the deployment of applications on Kubernetes clusters within your own cloud provider account. It emphasizes data security by ensuring data and compute operations remain within your environment, adheres to SRE principles, and is cloud-native, enabling efficient use of various cloud providers' hardware. Its architecture provides a split plane comprising a Control Plane for orchestration and a Compute Plane where user code runs, aimed at secure, efficient, and cost-effective ML operations.

Moreover, TrueFoundry excels in offering an environment that streamlines the development to deployment pipeline, thanks to its integration with popular ML frameworks and tools. This allows for a more fluid workflow, easing the transition from model training to actual deployment. It provides engineers and data developers with an interface that prioritizes human-centric design, significantly reducing the overhead typically associated with ML operations. With 24/7 support and guaranteed service level agreements (SLAs), TrueFoundry assures a solid foundation for data teams to innovate without the need to reinvent infrastructure solutions.

Pricing : The startup plan begins at $0 per month, offering free access for one user for two months, while the professional plan starts at $500 per month, adding features like multi-cloud support and cloud cost optimizations. For enterprises, custom quotes are provided to suit specific needs, including self-hosted control planes and compliance certificates. 

Limitations : TrueFoundry's extensive feature set and integration capabilities may introduce complexity, leading to a steep learning curve for new users.

Comparison with VertexAI :

IBM Watson Studio

IBM Watson Studio is a multifaceted environment that bolsters data scientists, developers, and analysts in their efforts to create, train, and manage AI models. The platform is renowned for its powerful machine learning capabilities and is fortified by IBM's deep learning and artificial intelligence technology. It serves as a collaborative platform that unites open source frameworks like PyTorch, TensorFlow, and scikit-learn with IBM's proprietary tools, offering both code-based and visual data science workflows. The comprehensive nature of Watson Studio is evident in its support for a variety of data sources, facilitating a streamlined workflow for building, training, and deploying machine learning models at scale.

In addition to advanced features like automated machine learning (AutoAI) and model monitoring, Watson Studio grants access to pretrained machine learning models such as Visual Recognition and Watson Natural Language Classifier. Its use of Jupyter Notebooks alongside other scripting languages positions it as a robust solution for project collaboration and deployment across different environments, including on-premises or as a SaaS solution in IBM's private cloud.

Pricing : IBM Watson Studio features a flexible pay-as-you-go pricing model, starting at $99 per month for the standard cloud version, making it accessible for various project sizes, while enterprise solutions offer more extensive packages at $6,000 per month with 5,000 capacity unit hours and a desktop version at $199 per month for unlimited modeling.

Limitations : While the platform is highly capable, new users, particularly those without prior data science experience, may find it challenging to navigate the comprehensive toolset and integration points. This could result in a steep learning curve and may necessitate additional training or support to leverage the platform fully. Moreover, like many robust platforms, large-scale deployments could potentially result in increased costs due to the advanced nature of the services used.

Comparison with VertexAI : 

Databricks Data Intelligence Platform

Databricks Data Intelligence Platform is a cohesive and comprehensive environment that facilitates the end-to-end analytics and machine learning workflow, just as VertexAI does within the Google Cloud ecosystem. It is built on a lakehouse architecture, combining the best elements of data lakes and data warehouses to offer a single source of truth for all data workloads. Databricks stands out with its generative AI and large language models, integrated with a data lakehouse that helps to understand the semantics of your data and automatically optimizes performance for your business needs.

The platform offers tools for data processing, scheduling, management, ETL operations, dashboard generation, and machine learning modeling, tracking, and serving. It supports a variety of programming languages and provides seamless integration with open-source projects like Delta Lake, MLflow, and Apache Spark.

Pricing : Databricks operates on a pay-as-you-go model with the option for committed-use discounts, which offers cost benefits when committing to certain levels of usage. They offer a free trial for new users and a range of products designed for different workloads with prices starting at $0.07 per DBU for workflows and streaming jobs.

Limitations : However, as with any comprehensive data platform, there may be a learning curve, especially for those new to such extensive data processing and machine learning systems. Also, depending on the services and the scale of operations, costs can escalate, so it’s important to consider these factors when choosing Databricks as a data intelligence platform.

Comparison with VertexAI : 

Seldon Core

Seldon Core is an open-source platform designed to simplify the deployment, scaling, and management of machine learning models on Kubernetes. It provides a powerful framework for serving models built with any machine learning toolkit, enabling easy wrapping of models into Docker containers ready for deployment. Seldon Core facilitates complex inference pipelines, A/B testing, canary rollouts, and comprehensive monitoring with Prometheus, ensuring high efficiency and scalability for machine learning operations.

Pricing : Being open-source, Seldon Core itself does not incur direct costs, although operational costs depend on the underlying Kubernetes infrastructure.

For a detailed exploration of Seldon Core's capabilities and documentation, visit their GitHub repository and official documentation.

Limitations : The initial setup requires a good understanding of Kubernetes, which may present a steep learning curve for those unfamiliar with container orchestration. Also, while it supports a wide range of ML tools and languages, customization or use of non-standard frameworks can complicate the workflow. Some advanced features, like data preprocessing and postprocessing, are not supported when using certain servers like MLServer or Triton Server​ ​. Additionally, the documentation, although extensive, may be lacking for advanced use cases and occasionally leads to deprecated or unavailable content​.​.

Comparison with VertexAI :

MLflow

MLflow is an open-source platform designed to manage the ML lifecycle, including experimentation, reproducibility, and deployment. It offers four primary components: MLflow Tracking to log experiments, MLflow Projects for packaging ML code, MLflow Models for managing and deploying models across frameworks, and MLflow Registry to centralize model management. This comprehensive toolkit simplifies processes across the machine learning lifecycle, making it easier for teams to collaborate, track, and deploy their ML models efficiently.

Pricing : MLflow is free to use, being open-source, with operational costs depending on the infrastructure used for running ML experiments and serving models.

For a deeper understanding of MLflow, its features, and capabilities, consider exploring its documentation and GitHub repository.

Limitations : MLflow is versatile and powerful for experiment tracking and model management, but it faces challenges in areas like security and compliance, user access management, and the need for self-managed infrastructure. Moreover it has issues with scalability and the number of features are also limited.

Comparison with VertexAI :

Valohai

Valohai is an MLOps platform engineered for machine learning pioneers, aimed at streamlining the ML workflow. It provides tools that automate machine learning infrastructure, empowering data scientists to orchestrate machine learning workloads across various environments, whether cloud-based or on-premise. With features designed to manage complex deep learning processes, Valohai facilitates the efficient tracking of every step in the machine learning model's life cycle.

Pricing : Valohai offers three options: SaaS for teams starting out with unlimited cloud compute, Private for enhanced functionality and speed with the choice of cloud or on-premise compute, and Self-Hosted for maximum security and scalability, enabling full control over ML operations on preferred infrastructure.

Limitations : Valohai promises to automate and optimize the deployment of machine learning models, offering a comprehensive system that supports batch and real-time inferences. However, users looking to utilize this platform must manage the complexity of integrating it within their existing systems and might face challenges if they're unfamiliar with handling extensive ML workflows and infrastructure management.

Comparison with VertexAI :

Conclusion

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