Best Machine Learning Model Deployment Tools in 2024

April 9, 2024
Share this post
https://www.truefoundry.com/blog/model-deployment-tools
URL

The journey of a machine learning model from its training phase to actually being used in real-world applications is crucial. This is where model serving and deployment come in, turning theoretical models into practical tools that can improve our lives and work. However, moving a model into production isn't straightforward. It involves challenges like making sure the model works reliably when it's used by real users, can handle the number of requests it receives, and fits well with the other technology the company uses.

Choosing the right model deployment tools is key. It can make these tasks easier, help your models run more efficiently, and save time and money. This guide will take you through what you need to know about these tools. We'll look at why model serving and deployment are so important, what your options are, and how to pick the best ones for your needs.

We'll cover specialized tools designed for certain types of models, like TensorFlow Extended (TFX) Serving, as well as more flexible options that can work with any model, such as BentoML and Seldon Core.

Our goal is to give you a clear understanding of the tools available for model serving and deployment. This will help you make informed decisions, whether you're a data scientist wanting to see your models in action or a business owner looking to leverage machine learning.

Next, we’ll dive into what model serving and deployment really mean and why they’re so critical for making the most of machine learning in practical applications.

Model Serving and Deployment: Foundations

Defining Model Serving and Deployment

Model serving and deployment is the process of putting your machine learning model into a production environment, where it can start doing the job it was trained for. Think of it as moving your model from its training ground to the real world where it interacts with users, software, or other systems. This involves two main steps:

  1. Model Serving: This is about making your trained model available to make predictions. It requires setting up a server that can take in data input (like an image or text), run it through the model, and return a prediction.
  2. Deployment: This goes beyond serving to include integrating the model into the existing production environment. It means ensuring the model can operate smoothly within a larger application or system, often requiring automation, monitoring, and maintenance workflows to be established.

Role in Realizing the Value of Machine Learning

The ultimate goal of machine learning is to use data to make predictions or decisions that are valuable in the real world. Model serving and deployment are critical because, without these steps, a model remains just a piece of sophisticated code sitting in a data scientist's computer. Only by deploying a model can businesses and individuals leverage its capabilities to improve services, automate tasks, or enhance decision-making processes.

This phase ensures that the time and resources invested in developing machine learning models translate into practical applications, whether that's in recommending products to customers, detecting fraudulent transactions, or powering chatbots. In essence, model serving and deployment unlock the real-world value of machine learning by turning data-driven insights into actionable outcomes.

Understanding these concepts and their importance is the first step toward effectively navigating the complexities of bringing machine learning models to production, setting the stage for a deep dive into the tools and techniques that make it possible.

Choosing the Right Model DeploymentTools

Selecting the appropriate tools for model serving and deployment is a critical decision that can significantly impact the effectiveness and efficiency of your machine learning operations. The landscape of available tools is vast, with each option offering a unique set of features and capabilities. To navigate this landscape, it's essential to consider a set of core evaluation criteria: performance, scalability, and framework compatibility.

Evaluation Criteria

  1. Performance: The speed and efficiency with which a tool can process incoming requests and deliver predictions are paramount. High-performance serving tools can handle complex models and large volumes of data without significant latency, ensuring a seamless user experience. Consider the tool's ability to optimize model inference times and resource usage.
  2. Scalability: Your chosen tool must be able to grow with your application. Scalability involves the ability to handle increasing loads, whether it's more simultaneous users, more data, or more complex queries, without degradation in performance. Tools should offer horizontal scaling (adding more machines) and vertical scaling (adding more power to existing machines) capabilities to accommodate your needs as they evolve.
  3. Framework Compatibility: With the diversity of machine learning frameworks available, such as TensorFlow, PyTorch, and Scikit-learn, it's important to choose a tool that is compatible with the framework(s) you've used to develop your models. Some tools are framework-agnostic, offering the flexibility to serve models from any library, while others are optimized for specific frameworks, potentially offering more efficient serving for those models.

Leading Tools Overview

As you consider these criteria, here's a brief overview of how some leading tools align:

  • TensorFlow Extended (TFX) Serving: Specifically designed for TensorFlow models, offering high performance and compatibility with TensorFlow's ecosystem.
  • BentoML: A framework-agnostic tool that provides an easy way to package and deploy models from various ML libraries, supporting scalability through Docker and Kubernetes.
  • Cortex: Focuses on scalability and performance, leveraging container technology to manage server loads dynamically.
  • KServe (formerly KFServing): Kubernetes-native and supports multiple frameworks, making it a versatile choice for scalable deployments.
  • Ray Serve: Built for distributed applications, offering both scalability and framework agnosticism, integrating well with the Ray ecosystem for parallel computing.
  • Seldon Core: Provides advanced deployment strategies on Kubernetes, with broad framework support and a focus on scalability and monitoring.
  • TorchServe: Optimized for serving PyTorch models, focusing on performance and ease of use.
  • NVIDIA Triton Inference Server: Designed for high-performance GPU-accelerated inference, supporting multiple frameworks.

Choosing the right tool involves weighing these criteria against your specific needs and constraints. The goal is to find a solution that not only meets your current requirements but also offers the flexibility to adapt as your projects grow and evolve.

Best Machine Learning Model Deployment Tool

TensorFlow Extended (TFX) Serving: Tailored for TensorFlow Models

TFX Serving is built specifically for TensorFlow models, offering robust, flexible serving options. It stands out for its ability to serve multiple versions of models simultaneously and its seamless integration with TensorFlow, making it a go-to for those deeply invested in TensorFlow's ecosystem.

Pros:

  • Seamless integration with TensorFlow models.
  • Can serve different models or versions at the same time.
  • It exposes both gRPC and HTTP endpoints for inference.
  • Can deploy new model versions without changing client code.
  • Supports canarying new versions and A/B testing experimental models.
  • Can batch inference requests to use GPU efficiently.

Cons:

  • It is recommended to use Docker or Kubernetes to run in production, which might not be compatible with existing platforms or infrastructures.
  • It lacks support for features such as security, authentication, etc.

Learn more about TensorFlow Serving

BentoML: Framework-Agnostic Serving Solution

BentoML is a versatile tool designed to bridge the gap between model development and deployment, offering an easy-to-use, framework-agnostic platform. It stands out for its ability to package and deploy models from any machine learning framework, making it highly flexible for diverse development environments.

Pros:

  • Framework-agnostic, supports various ML frameworks.
  • Simplifies the packaging and deployment of models across different environments.
  • Supports multiple deployment targets, including Kubernetes, AWS Lambda, and more.
  • Easy to use for creating complex inference pipelines.

Cons:

  • Might lack some features related to experimentation management or advanced model orchestration.
  • Horizontal scaling needs to be managed with additional tools.

Learn more about BentoML

Cortex: Scalable, Containers-Based Serving

Cortex excels in providing scalable, container-based serving solutions that dynamically adjust to fluctuating demand. It's particularly suited for applications requiring scalability without sacrificing ease of deployment.

Pros:

  • Highly scalable, leveraging container technology for dynamic load management.
  • Supports autoscaling and multi-model serving.
  • Integrates well with major cloud providers for seamless deployment.

Cons:

  • The learning curve for setting up and optimizing deployments.
  • Might require more hands-on management compared to some platform-specific solutions.

Learn more about Cortex

KServe: Kubernetes-Native, Multi-Framework Support

As part of the Kubeflow project, KServe focuses on providing a Kubernetes-native serving system with support for multiple frameworks. It's designed to facilitate serverless inference, reducing the cost and complexity of deploying and managing models.

Pros:

  • Kubernetes-native, leveraging the ecosystem for scalable, resilient deployments.
  • Supports serverless inferencing, reducing operational costs.
  • Framework-agnostic, with high-level interfaces for popular ML frameworks.

Cons:

  • Requires familiarity with Kubernetes and related cloud-native technologies.
  • Might present challenges in custom model serving or with niche frameworks.

Learn more about KServe

Ray Serve: For Distributed Applications

Ray Serve is designed for flexibility and scalability in distributed applications, making it a strong choice for developers looking to serve any type of model or business logic. Built on top of the Ray framework, it supports dynamic scaling and can handle a wide range of serving scenarios, from simple models to complex, composite model pipelines.

Pros:

  • Flexible and customizable to serve any type of model or business logic.
  • Supports model pipelines and composition for advanced serving needs.
  • Built on top of Ray for distributed computing, offering dynamic resource allocation.
  • Integrates with FastAPI, making it easy to build web APIs.

Cons:

  • May lack some of the integrations and features of other serving tools, such as native support for model versioning and advanced monitoring.
  • Installing and managing a Ray cluster introduces additional complexity and overhead.

Learn more about Ray Serve

Seldon Core: Advanced Deployment Strategies on Kubernetes

Seldon Core turns Kubernetes into a scalable platform for deploying machine learning models. It supports a wide range of ML frameworks and languages, making it versatile for different types of deployments. With advanced features like A/B testing, canary rollouts, and model explainability, Seldon Core is suited for teams looking for robust deployment strategies.

Pros:

  • Scalable and reliable, capable of serving models at massive scale.
  • Supports multiple frameworks, languages, and model servers.
  • Enables complex inference pipelines with advanced features such as explainability and outlier detection.

Cons:

  • Requires Kubernetes expertise, which may add to the learning curve and operational complexity.
  • May not be the best fit for very custom or complex model serving scenarios due to its graph-based approach.

Learn more about Seldon Core

TorchServe: Serving PyTorch Models Efficiently

TorchServe is tailored for efficiently serving PyTorch models. It is developed by AWS and PyTorch, offering an easy setup for model serving with features like multi-model serving, model versioning, and logging. TorchServe simplifies the deployment of PyTorch models in production environments, making it an attractive option for PyTorch developers.

Pros:

  • Designed specifically for serving PyTorch models, ensuring efficient performance.
  • Supports A/B testing, encrypted model serving, and snapshot serialization.
  • Offers advanced features such as benchmarking, profiling, and Kubernetes deployment.
  • Provides default handlers for common tasks and allows custom handlers.

Cons:

  • Less mature compared to other serving tools, with ongoing development to add features and stability.
  • Requires third-party tools for full-featured production and mobile deployments.

Learn more about TorchServe

NVIDIA Triton Inference Server: GPU-Accelerated Inference

NVIDIA Triton Inference Server is optimized for GPU-accelerated inference, supporting a broad set of machine learning frameworks. Its versatility and performance make it ideal for scenarios requiring intensive computational power, such as real-time AI applications and deep learning inference tasks.

Pros:

  • Optimized for high-performance GPU-accelerated inference.
  • Supports multiple frameworks, allowing for flexible deployment options.
  • Offers features like dynamic batching for efficient resource usage.
  • Provides advanced model management, including versioning and multi-model serving.

Cons:

  • Primarily beneficial for projects that can leverage GPU acceleration, potentially overkill for simpler tasks.
  • May require a deeper understanding of NVIDIA's ecosystem and tools for optimal utilization.

Learn more about NVIDIA Triton Inference Server

Each of these tools offers unique advantages and may come with its own set of challenges or limitations. The choice among them should be guided by the specific needs of your deployment scenario, including considerations around the framework used for model development, scalability requirements, and the level of infrastructure complexity your team can support.

End-to-End MLOps Platforms

AWS SageMaker: Comprehensive AWS Integration

AWS SageMaker is a fully managed service that offers end-to-end machine learning capabilities. It allows data scientists and developers to build, train, and deploy machine learning models quickly and efficiently. SageMaker simplifies the entire machine learning lifecycle, from data preparation to model deployment.

Key Features:

  • A comprehensive suite of tools for every step of the machine learning lifecycle.
  • Seamless integration with other AWS services, enhancing its capabilities for data storage, processing, and analytics.
  • Managed environments for Jupyter notebooks make it easy to experiment with and train models.
  • AutoML capabilities for automating model selection and tuning.
  • Flexible deployment options, including real-time inference and batch transform jobs.

Considerations:

  • While SageMaker provides a high degree of convenience, it locks users into the AWS ecosystem, which might be a consideration for organizations looking to avoid vendor lock-in.
  • The platform's extensive features come with a learning curve, especially for users new to AWS.

Learn more about AWS SageMaker

Azure ML: Seamless Azure Ecosystem Integration

Azure Machine Learning is a cloud-based platform for building, training, and deploying machine learning models. It offers tools to accelerate the end-to-end machine learning lifecycle, enabling users to bring their models to production faster, with efficiency and scale.

Key Features:

  • Supports a wide array of machine learning frameworks and languages.
  • Provides tools for every stage of the machine learning lifecycle, including data preparation, model training, and deployment.
  • Automated machine learning (AutoML) and designer for building models with minimal coding.
  • MLOps capabilities to streamline model management and deployment.
  • Integration with Azure services and Microsoft Power Platform for end-to-end solution development.

Considerations:

  • Azure ML's deep integration with the Azure ecosystem is highly beneficial for users already invested in Microsoft products but might present a steeper learning curve for others.
  • Some users might find the platform's extensive features more complex than necessary for simpler projects.

Learn more about Azure ML

Google Vertex AI: Google Cloud's AI Platform

Google Vertex AI brings together the Google Cloud services under a unified artificial intelligence (AI) platform that streamlines the process of building, training, and deploying machine learning models at scale.

Key Features:

  • Unified API across the entire AI platform, simplifying the integration of AI capabilities into applications.
  • AutoML features for training high-quality models with minimal effort.
  • Deep integration with Google Cloud services, including BigQuery, for seamless data handling and analytics.
  • Tools for robust MLOps practices, helping manage the ML lifecycle efficiently.

Considerations:

  • Vertex AI is deeply integrated with Google Cloud, making it an excellent choice for those already using Google Cloud services but potentially limiting for those wary of vendor lock-in.
  • The platform's powerful capabilities and extensive options can require a significant learning curve to fully leverage.

Learn more about Google Vertex AI

TrueFoundry: Developer-Friendly MLOps

TrueFoundry is a developer-friendly MLOps platform designed to simplify the machine learning lifecycle, making it easier for teams to build, deploy, and monitor their models without deep operational overhead.

Key Features:

  • Provides a suite of tools to automate the deployment and monitoring of machine learning models.
  • Supports continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) for machine learning, streamlining the process of getting models from development to production.
  • Offers a more accessible entry point for teams without extensive MLOps infrastructure.

Considerations:

  • Being a newer player, TrueFoundry is rapidly evolving, which means frequent updates and potential changes in functionality.
  • It aims to simplify MLOps, which might mean trade-offs in terms of advanced customizations and controls available in more established platforms.

Learn more about TrueFoundry

These end-to-end MLOps platforms offer a range of tools and services to simplify the machine learning lifecycle. Choosing the right platform depends on several factors, including the specific needs of your projects, your preferred cloud provider, and your team's expertise. Each platform offers unique strengths, from AWS SageMaker's comprehensive suite of tools and Azure ML's integration with Microsoft's ecosystem to Google Vertex AI's AI-focused services and TrueFoundry's developer-friendly approach.

Beyond Deployment: Supporting Tools in the MLOps Lifecycle

Experiment Tracking and Model Management

Tools like MLFlow, Comet ML, Weights & Biases, Evidently, Fiddler, and Censius AI are essential for tracking the progress of machine learning experiments and managing the lifecycle of models.

  • MLFlow: Manages the end-to-end machine learning lifecycle, with capabilities for tracking experiments, packaging code, and sharing results. Learn more
  • Comet ML: Offers a platform for tracking ML experiments, comparing models, and optimizing machine learning models in real time. Learn more
  • Weights & Biases: Provides tools for experiment tracking, model optimization, and dataset versioning to build better models faster. Learn more
  • Evidently: Specializes in monitoring machine learning models' performance and detecting data drift in production. Learn more
  • Fiddler: A platform to explain, analyze, and improve machine learning models, focusing on transparency and accountability. Learn more
  • Censius AI: Helps teams to monitor, explain, and improve AI systems, offering solutions for AI observability. Learn more

Workflow Orchestration

Tools such as Prefect, Metaflow, and Kubeflow are designed to automate and manage complex data workflows, enhancing the scalability and efficiency of machine learning operations.

  • Prefect: Aims to simplify workflow automation, providing a high-level interface for defining and running data workflows. Learn more
  • Metaflow: Developed by Netflix, it offers a human-centric framework for building and managing real-life data science projects. Learn more
  • Kubeflow: Makes it easier to deploy machine learning workflows on Kubernetes, facilitating scalable and portable ML systems. Learn more

Data and Model Versioning

Version control tools such as DVC, Pachyderm, and DagsHub help manage data sets and model versions, ensuring projects are reproducible and scalable.

  • DVC (Data Version Control): An open-source tool designed for version control of data science projects, making them more collaborative and manageable. Learn more
  • Pachyderm: Provides data versioning and lineage for machine learning projects, enabling reproducible workflows. Learn more
  • DagsHub: A platform for data scientists and machine learning engineers to version control data, models, experiments, and code. Learn more

Data Engineering and Pipeline Frameworks

Kedro:

Kedro is a Python framework designed to help data engineers and data scientists make their data pipelines more efficient, readable, and maintainable. It promotes the use of software engineering best practices for data and is built to scale with the complexity of real-world data projects.

  • Main Use: Kedro structures data science code in a uniform way, making it easier to transform raw data into valuable insights. It integrates well with modern data science tools and supports modular, collaborative development.
  • Kedro Documentation

Additional Tools

  • Google AI Platform Predictions: Offers a managed service that enables developers and data scientists to easily deploy ML models to production. It supports a variety of machine learning frameworks and allows for the deployment of models built anywhere to the cloud for serving predictions.some text
    • Main Use: It simplifies the deployment process, offering a scalable and secure environment for your machine learning models, with support for both online and batch predictions.
    • Google AI Platform Predictions Documentation

Open Source vs. Commercial Tools

In the realm of model serving and deployment, the decision between leveraging open-source and commercial tools is pivotal, each offering distinct advantages and considerations. Here's how the previously discussed tools classify into open-source and commercial categories, along with their respective benefits and potential drawbacks.

Open Source Tools

Open Source tools are publicly accessible and can be modified or distributed by anyone. They're particularly favored for their flexibility, community support, and cost-effectiveness.

  • TensorFlow Extended (TFX) Serving: An open-source platform tailored for serving TensorFlow models efficiently.
  • BentoML: A framework-agnostic, open-source library for packaging and deploying machine learning models.
  • Cortex: Though offering commercial support, Cortex's core features are available in an open-source version.
  • KServe (Kubeflow Serving): An open-source, Kubernetes-native system for serving ML models across frameworks.
  • Ray Serve: Built on top of Ray for distributed applications, Ray Serve is open-source and framework-agnostic.
  • Seldon Core: Offers a robust set of features for deploying machine learning models on Kubernetes, available as open-source.
  • TorchServe: Developed by AWS and PyTorch, TorchServe is open-source and designed to serve PyTorch models.
  • MLflow: An open-source platform for managing the end-to-end machine learning lifecycle.
  • Kedro: Provides a framework for building data pipelines, open-source and designed for data engineers and scientists.
  • DVC (Data Version Control): An open-source version control system tailored for machine learning projects.

Pros:

  • Cost: Most open-source tools are free, significantly reducing overhead costs.
  • Customizability: They offer the flexibility to tailor the tool to specific project needs.
  • Community Support: Open-source tools often have active communities for troubleshooting and enhancements.

Cons

  • Maintenance and Support: May require more effort for setup and maintenance, with support primarily community-driven.
  • Complexity: Some tools may have a steeper learning curve due to their broad capabilities and customization options.

Commercial Tools

Commercial tools are proprietary products developed and maintained by companies. They often come with licensing fees but provide dedicated support and advanced features.

  • NVIDIA Triton Inference Server: While it offers an open-source version, NVIDIA Triton's advanced features and optimizations are part of its commercial offerings.
  • Google AI Platform Predictions: A managed service from Google Cloud, providing a commercial solution for deploying ML models.

Pros

  • Ease of Use: Commercial tools often provide a more streamlined setup and user experience.
  • Support: They come with dedicated customer support and documentation.
  • Integrated Features: Often include additional features not available in open-source alternatives, such as enhanced security, scalability, and performance optimizations.

Cons

  • Cost: Commercial tools can be expensive, especially at scale.
  • Flexibility: May offer less flexibility for customization compared to open-source tools.
  • Dependency: Relying on a commercial tool can introduce vendor lock-in, potentially complicating future transitions or integrations.

Decision Factors

Selecting between open-source and commercial tools for model serving and deployment should consider several factors:

  • Budget Constraints: Open-source tools can reduce costs but may require more investment in setup and maintenance.
  • Support Needs: Evaluate the level of support your team needs. If in-house expertise is limited, a commercial tool with dedicated support might be more beneficial.
  • Customization and Scalability: Consider the degree of customization required for your project and potential scalability needs.
  • Integration: Assess how well the tool integrates with your existing stack and workflow.

Ultimately, the choice between open-source and commercial tools will depend on your project's specific requirements, resources, and long-term goals, balancing the trade-offs between cost, support, flexibility, and ease of use.

Integrating Model Deployment Tools into Your MLOps Workflow

Integrating the right tools into your MLOps workflow requires a strategic approach to ensure seamless operation and efficiency. Here's how to do it effectively:

  1. Evaluate Your Needs: Clearly define your project requirements, including scalability, performance, and framework compatibility.
  2. Consider Your Infrastructure: Align tool selection with your existing infrastructure to minimize integration challenges.
  3. Test and Iterate: Start with a pilot project to test the integration of the tool into your workflow. Use the insights gained to iterate and improve.

Conclusion

Selecting and integrating the right model deployment tools are crucial steps in leveraging the full potential of machine learning. By carefully evaluating your needs and considering the pros and cons of open-source versus commercial options, you can establish an MLOps workflow that is efficient, scalable, and aligned with your project goals. Encourage exploration and experimentation within your team to stay adaptive and innovative in the fast-evolving field of machine learning.

Build, Train, and Deploy LLM/ML Faster
Start Your Free 7-Day Trial Now!

Discover More

May 8, 2024

Exploring Alternatives to AZURE ML

LLM Tools
May 8, 2024

Exploring Alternatives to VertexAI

LLM Tools
May 3, 2024

Exploring Alternatives to AWS Sagemaker

LLM Tools
April 3, 2024

Top Prompt Engineering Tools in 2024 : All you need to know

LLM Tools

Related Blogs

No items found.

Blazingly fast way to build, track and deploy your models!

pipeline