Host Aim on Kubernetes (K8S)

Since Aim can run as a local server through FastAPI, it can be deployed to a K8S cluster! Hosting Aim on K8S comes with several advantages:

  • multiple users of your organization can access Aim in a single spot, which removes the need for ML practitioners to run Aim themselves

  • Aim runs can be centralized on a remote volume, which provides additional support and encouragement for remote model training and monitoring

  • a deployment to K8S abstracts away the Aim CLI, which empowers users to focus on the value provided by Aim ( visualizations/applications vs. CLI up and repo understanding)

The following sections illustrate how to deploy and serve Aim on K8S. The sections assume:

  • access to a cloud provider, such as GCP, AWS, or Azure

  • a repository that can host Dockerfiles, such as Google Artifact Registry or Dockerhub

  • ability/permissions to provision a ReadWriteMany volume, or bind an existing one to a K8S deployment


The following Dockerfile image should suffice for getting Aim running in a container:

# python3.7 should be sufficient to run Aim
FROM python:3.7

# install the `aim` package on the latest version
RUN pip install --upgrade aim

# make a directory where the Aim repo will be initialized, `/aim`
RUN mkdir /aim

ENTRYPOINT ["/bin/sh", "-c"]

# have to run `aim init` in the directory that stores aim data for
# otherwise `aim up` will prompt for confirmation to create the directory itself.
# We run aim listening on to expose all ports. Also, we run
# using `--dev` to print verbose logs. Port 43800 is the default port of
# `aim up` but explicit is better than implicit.
CMD ["echo \"N\" | aim init --repo /aim && aim up --host --port 43800 --workers 2 --repo /aim"]

Assuming you store the above in your current directory, the container can be built using docker build . -t my-aim-container:1 and pushed to your repository with docker push


The core advantage of using a K8S volume to store Aim runs is that other K8S deployments can mount the same volume and store their runs on it! This way, the core Aim K8S deployment can read the new runs and display them to users who want to visualize their results. For example, one can have a deployment that performs model training and records Aim runs on the same volume that is mounted to the Aim deployment! This model is illustrated by the following diagram:

Generally, volumes that support have the ReadWriteMany property are manually provisioned, such as Filestore instances on Google Cloud or, generally, GlusterFS volumes. Once a disk is provisioned, it can be bound to a persistent volume via an IP. Assuming you can provision a disk like this on your cloud provider and obtain an IP, we can create a volume representation, along with a claim for it. The persistent volume (aim-pv.yaml) can be formulated as:

apiVersion: v1
kind: PersistentVolume
  name: aim-runs
    storage: 1Ti # or whatever size disk you provisioned
    - ReadWriteMany
    path: /aim
    server:  # add your own IP here

The persistent volume claim (aim-pvc.yaml) is:

apiVersion: v1
kind: PersistentVolumeClaim
  name: aim-runs-claim
    - ReadWriteMany
  storageClassName: "" # if you have a custom storage class, use it! Otherwise, it's `default`
  volumeName: aim-runs
      storage: 1Ti

These can be provisioned via:

> kubectl apply -f aim-pv.yaml
> kubectl apply -f aim-pvc.yaml

Once the volume is provisioned, we can mount it to our deployments!


The main Aim deployment will have a single container that runs Aim. This deployment will mount the volume that was provisioned previously, and the main Aim repository will be initialized at the path the volume is mounted to. For example, if the volume is mounted to /aim, then the deployment will initialize and read Aim runs from that path. The K8S deployment is:

apiVersion: apps/v1
kind: Deployment
    app: my-aim-deployment
  name: my-aim-deployment
  namespace: default
      app: my-aim-deployment
      maxSurge: 25%
      maxUnavailable: 25%
    type: RollingUpdate
        app: my-aim-deployment
        name: my-aim-deployment
          - containerPort: 43800
            protocol: TCP
            cpu: "1"
            memory: 2Gi
            cpu: 100m
            memory: 1Gi
          - mountPath: /aim
            name: aim-runs
        - name: aim-runs
            claimName: aim-runs-claim

This K8S deployment:

  • defines a pod with a single replica that runs the Aim server defined by the Dockerfile

  • mounts the persistent volume aim-run through the aim-run-claim persistent volume claim

  • the Dockerfile initializes the /aim directory as the Aim repo. Note that the Dockerfile already passes N to the confirmation prompt in case the repo is already initialized (this will be the case after the initial deployment creation, since the repo has to be initialized only once, but it’s nice to avoid manual work)

  • starts up the Aim server on port 43800, which reads all the runs stored at /aim


Now that a deployment is deployed, the Aim server can be exposed through a K8S service! Depending on your cluster setup, you have several options for exposing the deployment. One option is to run:

> kubectl expose deployment my-aim-deployment --type=LoadBalancer --name=my-aim-service

Another alternative is to create the service definition yourself, and apply it. The definition (aim-svc.yaml) can be:

apiVersion: v1
kind: Service
  name: my-aim-service
    app: my-aim-deployment
    - protocol: TCP
      port: 80
      targetPort: 43800

The service definition can be applied via:

> kubectl apply -f aim-svc.yaml


That’s it! Now you have the following structure serving your users’ Aim runs:

Assuming your users can submit a model training run to some pod/deployment that runs model training and has the right aim code to record a run at path /aim, your Aim deployment will be able to display the run the next time it performs a live update!