Cloud ML compute vendors

August 23, 2016 — March 29, 2022

computers are awful
concurrency hell
number crunching
premature optimization
Figure 1: how it works

Cloud, n.

  • A place of terror and dismay, a mysterious digital onslaught, into which we all quietly moved.

  • A fictitious place where dreams are stored. Once believed to be free and nebulous, now colonized and managed by monsters. See ‘Castle in the Air’. […]

  • […] other peoples’ computers

via Bryan Alexander’s Devil’s Dictionary of educational computing

See also Julia Carrie Wong and Matthew Cantor’s devil’s dictionary of Silicon Valley:

cloud, the (n) — Servers. A way to keep more of your data off your computer and in the hands of big tech, where it can be monetized in ways you don’t understand but may have agreed to when you clicked on the Terms of Service. Usually located in a city or town whose elected officials exchanged tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks for seven full-time security guard jobs.

If I want a GPU this all becomes incredibly tedious. Anyway…

General considerations: Is a billion-dollar worth of server lying on the ground? tl;dr Amazon is weirdly expensive. Why not go, e.g. OVH? Is it strictly because they have fewer HOWTOs?

Figure 2: Amazon cloud compute billing sucking research funding up into the cloud

1 ML services in particular

2 RONIN cloud

RONIN (ALLCAPS apparently obligatory) is

an incredibly simplistic web application that allows researchers and scientists to launch complex compute resources within minutes, without the nerding.

It seems to handle provisioning virtual machines in an especially friendly way for ML. It also seems to be frighteningly sparsely documented, especially with regard to certain key features for me: How do I design my own machine with my desired data and code to actually do a specific thing? Answer: read RONIN BLOG (allcaps obligatory).

Pricing is mysterious and looks enterprisey, so you and I probably will not benefit from it; my current employers have a subscription though.