Models - Concepts and Terminology


Model is a high level abstract term that is used to describe several possible incarnations of objects created during the model deployment process. For the purpose of this discussion you should note that 'model' does not always refer to a specific artifact. More precise terms (as defined later in this section) should be used whenever possible.

Stages of the Model Deployment Process

The rest of this section contains supplemental information that describes the model deployment process in detail.
  • File - The R or Python file containing the function to be invoked when the model is started.
  • Function - The function to be invoked inside the file. This function should take a single JSON-encoded object (for example, a python dictionary) as input and return a JSON-encodable object as output to ensure compatibility with any application accessing the model using the API. JSON decoding and encoding for model input/output is built into Cloudera Machine Learning.
    The function will likely include the following components:
    • Model Implementation

      The code for implementing the model (e.g. decision trees, k-means). This might originate with the data scientist or might be provided by the engineering team. This code implements the model's predict function, along with any setup and teardown that may be required.

    • Model Parameters

      A set of parameters obtained as a result of model training/fitting (using experiments). For example, a specific decision tree or the specific centroids of a k-means clustering, to be used to make a prediction.


This stage takes as input the file that calls the function and returns an artifact that implements a single concrete model, referred to as a model build.

  • Built Model

    A built model is a static, immutable artifact that includes the model implementation, its parameters, any runtime dependencies, and its metadata. If any of these components need to be changed, for example, code changes to the implementation or its parameters need to be retrained, a new build must be created for the model. Model builds are versioned using build numbers.

    To create the model build, Cloudera Machine Learning creates a Docker image based on the engine designated as the project's default engine. This image provides an isolated environment where the model implementation code will run.

    To configure the image environment, you can specify a list of dependencies to be installed in a build script called

    For details about the build process and examples on how to install dependencies, see Engines for Experiments and Models.
  • Build Number:

    Build numbers are used to track different versions of builds within the scope of a single model. They start at 1 and are incremented with each new build created for the model.


This stage takes as input the memory/CPU resources required to power the model, the number of replicas needed, and deploys the model build created in the previous stage to a REST API.

  • Deployed Model

    A deployed model is a model build in execution. A built model is deployed in a model serving environment, likely with multiple replicas.

  • Environmental Variable

    You can set environmental variables each time you deploy a model. Note that models also inherit any environment variables set at the project and global level. (For more information see Engine Environment Variables.) However, in case of any conflicts, variables set per-model will take precedence.

  • Model Replicas

    The engines that serve incoming requests to the model. Note that each replica can only process one request at a time. Multiple replicas are essential for load-balancing, fault tolerance, and serving concurrent requests. Cloudera Machine Learning allows you to deploy a maximum of 9 replicas per model.

  • Deployment ID

    Deployment IDs are numeric IDs used to track models deployed across Cloudera Machine Learning. They are not bound to a model or project.