Cloud platforms provide a dynamic environment where companies can adjust their resource allocation in real-time, eliminating the traditional need for extensive capacity planning. Executives appreciate the flexibility offered by these platforms, which can dynamically scale to meet varying demands without the upfront costs associated with physical infrastructure.

Managing operational costs becomes more and more difficult as organizations scale their use of cloud resources. Cloud services typically operate on a pay-as-you-go model, charging based on the amount of compute resources consumed. As the use of GPUs for processing large language models (LLMs) increases, so does the power consumption, leading to higher expenses. Leaders must stay aware of these costs as they expand their AI capabilities.

Companies should implement cost management strategies to keep cloud expenses under control. Tools and practices such as auto-scaling, selecting the most cost-effective instance types, employing preemptible instances, and monitoring actual usage versus forecasted load are essential. These strategies prevent overprovisioning and unnecessary expenditures, providing a balance between performance and cost.

Data privacy in multitenant cloud environments

Handling large volumes of sensitive data

Deploying LLMs involves processing extensive datasets that may contain sensitive information. In cloud environments, where resources are often shared among multiple tenants, the integrity and privacy of this data are of concern. Companies must adopt measures to protect this data from potential breaches that could occur in shared infrastructure settings.

Risks associated with shared physical hardware

Even though cloud providers often guarantee the security of their environments, the underlying risk of data leakage exists in multitenant architectures. Instances operating on shared physical hardware might inadvertently allow data access between tenants, despite providers’ best efforts to secure environments. Executives must consider these risks when choosing deployment environments.

Choosing secure cloud providers

Selecting a cloud provider involves verifying their compliance with rigorous security standards, including data encryption at rest and in transit, comprehensive identity and access management (IAM) practices, and strong isolation policies between tenants. Beyond relying on cloud providers’ security measures, companies should implement their own security strategies to mitigate risks associated with multitenant deployments.

Handling stateful model deployment

LLMs are inherently stateful, maintaining contextual information from one interaction to the next, which improves their ability to learn continuously. Managing the statefulness of these models in cloud environments poses unique challenges, particularly when dealing with cloud instances that are ephemeral or designed to be stateless.

Cloud environments often also default to stateless configurations, where each session or instance starts without knowledge of previous interactions. Deploying stateful models like LLMs requires careful planning to make sure that they perform efficiently and consistently across sessions.

Using orchestration tools

Orchestration tools such as Kubernetes are invaluable for managing stateful deployments. These tools allow for persistent storage solutions and configuration management to maintain the state across sessions, all but guaranteeing the performance and reliability of LLM deployments. Executives must make sure that their IT teams are equipped with the tools and knowledge to manage these complexities effectively.

Deploying LLMs on cloud platforms offers tremendous benefits in terms of scalability, cost efficiency, and innovation acceleration.

Yet, without careful management, the same deployments can expose organizations to increased costs and security vulnerabilities. When focusing on strategic resource management, comprehensive data security measures, and effective state management, leaders can maximize the benefits while minimizing the risks associated with cloud deployments of LLMs.

General observations and concerns

Cloud platforms continue to gain traction as the preferred environment for deploying large language models (LLMs) due to their comprehensive infrastructure and convenience. Enterprises value the ability of these platforms to provide extensive computational resources on demand, which facilitates rapid deployment and scalability of AI projects. The integration of advanced technologies like auto-scaling and on-demand GPUs makes these platforms particularly appealing for handling the intensive computational needs of LLMs.

Many organizations are eager to integrate AI technologies into their operations, driven by the competitive advantages these innovations promise. Yet, a rushed deployment process without a comprehensive risk assessment and strategy alignment can lead to substantial financial losses and operational inefficiencies. Enterprises frequently encounter unexpected costs and technical challenges that could have been avoided with a more deliberate approach to deployment planning and execution.

Despite the high salaries typical for AI engineers, there is often a gap in specific expertise needed to optimize these deployments.

AI engineers must possess skills in AI and machine learning while also understanding the nuances of cloud resource management, cost optimization, and security implementation. Executives must invest in continuous training and development programs to equip their teams with the necessary skills and knowledge to manage these complex deployments successfully.

With the inherent difficulties of deploying LLMs on cloud platforms, executives must prioritize strategic planning, thorough risk management, and ongoing education for their technical teams. These steps are invaluable when making use of the full potential of AI technologies while avoiding the pitfalls of unmanaged growth and operational oversights.

Alexander Procter

April 29, 2024

4 Min