Updated: Dec 5, 2021
What is Machine Learning Model Deployment?
Deployment is the process of integrating a Machine Learning (ML) model into an existing production environment in order to make practical data-driven business decisions. It is one of the final stages of the ML lifecycle, and can be one of the most time-consuming. Deployment is vital because it is how an organization can start generating a Return of Investment (ROI).
Because ML models are typically developed offline or locally, they must be deployed before they can be used with live data. A data scientist may develop a variety of models, some of which will never be deployed. Creating these models can be time-consuming and expensive.
However, transitioning from a local environment to a real-world application can be difficult. Models may require specialized infrastructure and must be closely monitored to ensure long-term effectiveness. As a result, ML deployment must be properly managed in order to be efficient and streamlined.
How are Machine Learning Models Deployed?
As mentioned earlier, ML deployment can be a difficult task that varies depending on the system environment and the type of ML model that are ought to be deployed. Below are the most prominent stages in the deployment of ML models.
Model Development and Training
Data scientists will frequently obtain suitable data, clean and preprocess the data accordingly if needed. Then they will create and develop several ML models, in which only a few will make it up to the deployment stage. Models are typically built in a local or an offline environment using training data. There are various types of ML processes for developing various models. These will differ depending on the task for which the algorithm is being trained for. Examples include supervised ML, which trains a model on labelled datasets that is suitable for categorizing and regression, and unsupervised ML, which identifies patterns and trends in data that is suitable for clustering or detecting anomalies and abnormalities in data.
ML models may be used by organizations for a variety of reasons. Among these reasons are streamlining monotonous administrative tasks, fine-tuning marketing campaigns, increasing system efficiency, and completing the preliminary stages of research and development. A common application is the categorization and segmentation of raw data into defined groups. Once the model has been trained and is performing to an expected accuracy on training data, it is ready for deployment.
Testing and Code Cleaning
The next step is to determine whether the code is of high enough quality to be deployed. High quality refers to aspects like neatly formatted and commented codes. This is done to ensure that the model works properly in a new live environment, but it is also done so that other members of the organization can understand the model's creation process. A data scientist is likely to have created the model in an offline environment. As a result, prior to deployment in a live environment, the code will need to be reviewed and streamlined where possible.
Monitoring and Maintenance Plan Post-Deployment
A successful ML deployment entails more than simply ensuring that the model initially works in a live setting. Continuous governance is required to keep the model on track and operating effectively and efficiently. Aside from developing ML models, establishing processes to monitor and deploy the model can be difficult. It is, however, a critical component of the ongoing success of ML deployment, and models can be kept optimized to prevent data drift or outliers.
Once the processes for monitoring and maintaining the ML model are planned and sorted out, data drift and emerging inefficiencies can be detected and resolved easily. Some models can also be retrained with new data on a regular basis to keep the model from deviating too far from the live data and to ensure the model is updated to be suitable for current situations and needs. Monitoring and maintaining a ML model is vital to ensure it fulfills its purpose and functionality.
Why is deploying a ML model important? A model must be successfully deployed into production before it can be used for practical decision-making. If you can't get practical insights from your model on a consistent basis, the model's impact is severely limited.
Model deployment is one of the most difficult aspects of reaping the benefits of ML. To guarantee that the model functions reliably in the organization's production environment, data scientists, IT teams, software developers, and business professionals must collaborate. This is a significant hurdle since there is frequently a mismatch between the programming language in which a ML model is built and the languages that your production system understands, and recoding the model can add weeks or months to the project timeframe. To get the most out of ML models, it is critical to seamlessly deploy them into production so that businesses can begin using them to make practical choices and make the most out of it.
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