Reduce ML inference costs on Amazon SageMaker with hardware and software acceleration

 Reduce ML inference costs on Amazon SageMaker with hardware and software acceleration

Amazon SageMaker is a fully-managed service that enables data scientists and developers to build, train, and deploy machine learning (ML) models at 50% lower TCO than self-managed deployments on Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). Elastic Inference is a capability of SageMaker that delivers 20% better performance for model inference than AWS Deep Learning Containers on EC2 by accelerating inference through model compilation, model server tuning, and underlying hardware and software acceleration technologies.

Inference is the process of making predictions using a trained ML model. For production ML applications, inference accounts for up to 90% of total compute costs. Hence, when deploying an ML model for inference, accelerating inference performance on low-cost instance types is an effective way to reduce overall compute costs while meeting performance requirements such as latency and throughput. For example, running ML models on GPU-based instances provides good inference performance; however, selecting the right instance size and optimizing GPU utilization is challenging because different ML models require different amounts of compute and memory resources.

Elastic Inference Accelerators (EIA) solve this problem by enabling you to attach the right amount of GPU-powered inference acceleration to any Amazon SageMaker ML instance. You can choose any CPU instance type that best suits your application’s overall compute and memory needs, and separately attach the right amount of GPU-powered inference acceleration needed to satisfy your performance requirements. This allows you to reduce inference costs by using compute resources more efficiently. Along with hardware acceleration, Elastic Inference offers software acceleration through SageMaker Neo, a capability of SageMaker that automatically compiles ML models for any ML framework and to any target hardware. With SageMaker Neo, you don’t need to set up third-party or framework-specific compiler software or tune the model manually for optimizing inference performance. With Elastic Inference, you can combine software and hardware acceleration to get the best inference performance on SageMaker.

This post demonstrates how you can use hardware and software-based inference acceleration to reduce costs and improve latency for pre-trained TensorFlow models on Amazon SageMaker. We show you how to compile a pre-trained TensorFlow ResNet-50 model using SageMaker Neo and how to deploy this model to a SageMaker Endpoint with Elastic Inference.


First, we need to ensure we have SageMaker Python SDK  >=2.32.1 and import necessary Python packages. If you are using SageMaker Notebook Instances, select conda_tensorflow_p36 as your kernel. Note that you may have to restart your kernel after upgrading packages.


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