What is MLOps? And Why Do We Need It?

April 19th, 2024
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Machine learning (ML) is a fairly known concept but very few have an answer to ‘what is MLOps'. The concept of MLOps rose due to the increasing difficulty in productionizing machine learning. The machine learning lifecycle is complex and requires collaboration between data science, ML engineering and data engineering.

Since the entire process of ML was becoming increasingly complex for organizations, MLOps came to the rescue. Here is what it is and why we need it.

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What is MLOps

What Is MLOps?

MLOps or machine learning operations is a core ML engineering function. It focuses on streamlining the process of directing ML models to production, and even maintaining and monitoring them. This collaborative function usually involves DevOps engineers, IT professionals and data scientists.

Why Do We Need MLOps?

An imperative question to answer here revolves around the problems solved by MLOps in organizations. Some issues solved by this practice are-

Why Do We Need MLOps
  1. Bottlenecks

Bottlenecks are common with non-intuitive, complicated algorithms. With MLOps, collaboration between data and operations teams becomes more feasible, which helps in reducing the severity and frequency of such issues.

  1. Inefficient Workflows

MLOps employs a framework to manage the ML lifecycle in a more efficient and effective manner. A more iterative and structured workflow is constructed to match technical prowess with business expertise.

  1. Complying with Regulations

Machine learning is still in its blooming phase. There are still plenty of requirement changes and updates being released by the regulatory body. MLOps stays updated and takes ownership with all these aspects.

You May Also Read- MLOps Interview Questions and Answers in 2024

Stages in the MLOps Life Cycle

The lifecycle of MLOps is composed of nine major stages. These are -

1. Defining the Problem

The first step in this lifecycle is to clearly define the problem that needs to be solved. This problem should be one that can be fixed through this philosophy.

2. Data Collection

The data collection phase is where the data is employed to train models. It should be based on appropriate sources such as user behavior.

3. Data Processing & Storage

Gigantic amounts of data is needed to effectively train the models. Data lakes/ warehouses are generally used for storage. The data is then clear as a stream or in batches, as per the requirements.

4. Metrics Definition

Metrics must be clearly defined to ensure that the model quality is appropriate. These metrics aid in determining whether the problem ruled in the first step is successfully solved or not.

5. Data Exploration

Hypotheses are developed about the techniques to be used.

6. Feature Engineering & Extraction

This is where it is determined what features need to be used as inputs for the models.

7. Model Training

The best fit approach is chosen to move ahead with and implemented in this phase.

8. Model Integration & Deployment

Models are now integrated into the product and then deployed within a cloud system such as AWS. New hooks or services might also be built in this step.

9. Model Release & Monitoring

After being deployed, the models must be monitored closely to rule out issues like model bias or data drift.

Wrap-Up

MLOps is becoming increasingly important for organizations as more of these enterprises begin using AI capabilities. There are plenty of reasons why it has become the next important skill to learn.

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