Kubeflow – Machine Learning Toolkit for Kubernetes

12-08 04:16


The Kubeflow project is dedicated to making Machine Learning on Kubernetes easy, portable and scalable. Our goal is not to recreate other services, but to provide a straightforward way for spinning up best of breed OSS solutions. Contained in this repository are manifests for creating:

  • A JupyterHub to create & manage interactive Jupyter notebooks
  • A Tensorflow Training Controller that can be configured to use CPUs or GPUs, and adjusted to the size of a cluster with a single setting
  • A TF Serving container

This document details the steps needed to run the kubeflow project in any environment in which Kubernetes runs.

The Kubeflow Mission

Our goal is to help folks use ML more easily, by letting Kubernetes to do what it's great at:

  • Easy, repeatable, portable deployments on a diverse infrastructure (laptop <-> ML rig <-> training cluster <-> production cluster)
  • Deploying and managing loosely-coupled microservices
  • Scaling based on demand

Because ML practitioners use so many different types of tools, it is a key goal that you can customize the stack to whatever your requirements (within reason), and let the system take care of the "boring stuff." While we have started with a narrow set of technologies, we are working with many different projects to include additional tooling.

Ultimately, we want to have a set of simple manifests that give you an easy to use ML stack anywhere Kubernetes is already running and can self configure based on the cluster it deploys into.


This documentation assumes you have a Kubernetes cluster already available. For specific Kubernetes installations, additional configuration may be necessary.


Minikube is a tool that makes it easy to run Kubernetes locally. Minikube runs a single-node Kubernetes cluster inside a VM on your laptop for users looking to try out Kubernetes or develop with it day-to-day. The below steps apply to a minikube cluster - the latest version as of writing this documentation is 0.23.0. You must also have kubectl configured to access minikube.

Google Kubernetes Engine

Google Kubernetes Engine is a managed environment for deploying Kubernetes applications powered by Google Cloud. If you're using Google Kubernetes Engine, prior to creating the manifests, you must grant your own user the requisite RBAC role to create/edit other RBAC roles.

kubectl create clusterrolebinding default-admin --clusterrole=cluster-admin --user=user@gmail.com

Quick Start

In order to quickly set up all components of the stack, run:

kubectl apply -f components/ -R

The above command sets up JupyterHub, an API for training using Tensorflow, and a set of deployment files for serving. Used together, these serve as configuration that can help a user go from training to serving using Tensorflow with minimal effort in a portable fashion between different environments. You can refer to the instructions for using each of these components below.

Get involved


This section describes the different components and the steps required to get started.

Bringing up a Notebook

Once you create all the manifests needed for JupyterHub, a load balancer service is created. You can check its existence using the kubectl commandline.

kubectl get svc

NAME         TYPE           CLUSTER-IP     EXTERNAL-IP    PORT(S)        AGE
kubernetes   ClusterIP    <none>         443/TCP        1h
tf-hub-0     ClusterIP      None           <none>         8000/TCP       1m
tf-hub-lb    LoadBalancer   xx.yy.zz.ww    80:32481/TCP   1m

If you're using minikube, you can run the following to get the URL for the notebook.

minikube service tf-hub-lb --url


For some cloud deployments, the LoadBalancer service may take up to five minutes display an external IP address. Re-executing kubectl get svc repeatedly will eventually show the external IP field populated.

Once you have an external IP, you can proceed to visit that in your browser. The hub by default is configured to take any username/password combination. After entering the username and password, you can start a single-notebook server, request any resources (memory/CPU/GPU), and then proceed to perform single node training.

We also ship standard docker images that you can use for training Tensorflow models with Jupyter.

  • gcr.io/kubeflow/tensorflow-notebook-cpu
  • gcr.io/kubeflow/tensorflow-notebook-gpu

In the spawn window, when starting a new Jupyter instance, you can supply one of the above images to get started, depending on whether you want to run on CPUs or GPUs. The images include all the requisite plugins, including Tensorboard that you can use for rich visualizations and insights into your models. Note that GPU-based image is several gigabytes in size and may take a few minutes to localize.

Also, when running on Google Kubernetes Engine, the public IP address will be exposed to the internet and is an unsecured endpoint by default. For a production deployment with SSL and authentication, refer to the documentation .


The TFJob controller takes a YAML specification for a master, parameter servers, and workers to help run distributed tensorflow . The quick start deploys a TFJob controller and installs a new tensorflow.org/v1alpha1 API type. You can create new Tensorflow Training deployments by submitting a specification to the aforementioned API.

An example specification looks like the following:

apiVersion: "tensorflow.org/v1alpha1"
kind: "TfJob"
  name: "example-job"
    - replicas: 1
      tfReplicaType: MASTER
            - image: gcr.io/tf-on-k8s-dogfood/tf_sample:dc944ff
              name: tensorflow
          restartPolicy: OnFailure
    - replicas: 1
      tfReplicaType: WORKER
            - image: gcr.io/tf-on-k8s-dogfood/tf_sample:dc944ff
              name: tensorflow
          restartPolicy: OnFailure
    - replicas: 2
      tfReplicaType: PS

For runnable examples, look under the tf-controller-examples/ directory. Detailed documentation can be found in the tensorflow/k8s repository for more information on using the TfJob controller to run TensorFlow jobs on Kubernetes.

Serve Model

Refer to the instructions in components/k8s-model-server to set up model serving with the included Tensorflow serving deployment.

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