Bogdan Buduroiu

Deploying HuggingFace models on NVIDIA-enabled EKS nodes

13min read engineering devops

Installing NVIDIA drivers is pain. Pure pain. Then throw in Auto-Scaling Groups, MIME-type multipart uploads for bootstrap scripts and NVIDIA specific containerd configuration and you might as well call it a day and sign up for Replicate or HuggingFace’s Inference endpoints and pay a hefty premium.

But first, why?

Setting aside cost savings on on-demand instances (AWS A10G instances are 30% cheaper than the same instance on HuggingFace), even bigger cost savings leveraging Spot instances in your K8s node pools, even bigger savings on S3 egress costs (if you roll your own LLMs).

Integrating your inference endpoints into your existing, mature, infrastructure is a no brainer. You already have your secret store, your complex RBAC policies, telemetry, CI/CD, and, in the case of compliance, sometimes the need for fully-private network traffic.

While a pre-warmed endpoint to hammer with prompts seems lovely, you can roll your own with a bit of elbow grease.

The architecture of our build

Private EKS cluster with VPC endpoints for communication with AWS managed services

We’re going to create an EKS cluster with two node pools: 1) the default node pool for scheduling non-GPU workloads, and the 2nd with GPU-instances (I chose the Telsa T4-enabled g4dn.xlarge for this example) solely for GPU workloads (more on this later).

Opting for a fully private cluster takes away the headache of security groups for everything besides Ingress into your cluster, and I like that.

And instead of VPC-peering, where we soon end up with CIDR conflicts, we open direct connections to services we need (RDS, …).

I use Terraform to lay out all the dependencies logically as code, but I will skip this code here as there’s countless “Terraform EKS Cluster” tutorials out there.

The GPU Nodes

There are two requirements we need to satisfy to have a successful GPU-enabled node that can run container workloads:

  1. Have the CUDA drivers, together with NVIDIA’s nvidia-container-toolkit and nvidia-container-runtime
  2. Run a bootstrap script which registers our EC2 Node in the ASG with the EKS cluster.

Luckily for us, step 1 is solved by AWS, with their custom GPU-optimised AMI image. I’ve tried to install CUDA drivers on Amazon Linux 2 OS and it’s not fun, so this is very welcome.

For step 2, we’ll have to write a custom bootstrap script:


/etc/eks/bootstrap.sh ${cluster_name} \
	--use-max-pods false --cni-prefix-delegation-enabled \
	--kubelet-extra-args '--max-pods=110' \
	--container-runtime containerd

Which, in Terraform, we can attach to the custom launch template as so:

const EKS_OPTIMIZED_GPU_AMI = "ami-0dafd3a1dc43781f7";

const bootstrapEksScript = new TerraformAsset(
    path: path.join(process.cwd(), "customized_bootstrap.sh"),
    type: AssetType.FILE,

const launchTemplate = new LaunchTemplate(scope, "launch-template", {
  userData: Fn.base64encode(
    Fn.templatefile(bootstrapEksScript.path, { cluster_name: clusterName })


new EksNodeGroup(scope, "NodeGroup", {
  launchTemplate: launchTemplate,
  taint: [
      key: "nvidia.com/gpu",
      effect: "NO_SCHEDULE"

After you’ve configured and tainted and deployed your GPU nodes, they should join your cluster.

Before you can schedule GPU workloads on your cluster, you will have to add an NVIDIA DaemonSet plugin which allows you to do so:

kubectl create -f https://raw.githubusercontent.com/NVIDIA/k8s-device-plugin/v0.14.1/nvidia-device-plugin.yml

You should then be able to test you can schedule GPU workloads.

apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
  name: gpu-pod
  restartPolicy: Never
    - name: cuda-container
      image: nvcr.io/nvidia/k8s/cuda-sample:vectoradd-cuda10.2
          nvidia.com/gpu: 1 # requesting 1 GPU
  - key: nvidia.com/gpu
    operator: Exists
    effect: NoSchedule
kubectl apply -f <file_above>.yaml

Note: because nvidia.com/gpu resources map directly to GPU cards, therefore, sometimes we can only allocate 1 workload per GPU-instance. This is the reason we’ve split our Node Groups into GPU and non-GPU, and tainted the GPU node to prevent non-GPU workloads from scheduling there

And you should see this result:

[Vector addition of 50000 elements]
Copy input data from the host memory to the CUDA device
CUDA kernel launch with 196 blocks of 256 threads
Copy output data from the CUDA device to the host memory
Stream closed OF for default/test-gpu-fd9d97f47-h9t2m (cuda-container)

HuggingFace’s Text Generation Inference

The legends at HuggingFace open sourced (though bearing a controversial license) the webservers that power their Inference endpoints, namely huggingface/text-generation-inference, and we’ll be making heavy use of those for a bunch of reasons:

  • Out-of-the box Prometheus metrics (/metrics endpoint)
  • Pull any model you have access to from HuggingFace
  • Flash Attention, Paged Attention, model-sharding between GPUs, and more ways to squeeze performance out of your expensive cards
  • Quantisation via bitsandbytes and GPT-Q
  • Maintained Docker image
  • … and way way more features

At the moment, this webserver works with newer NVIDIA cards like the A100, H100, T4-series, but it’s capabilities are expanding.

Let’s deploy a simple codellama/CodeLlama-7b-hf model to see how we go:

apiVersion: apps/v1
kind: Deployment
  name: codellama 
  namespace: tgi
  replicas: 1
      app: codellama
      tier: codellama
        app: codellama
        tier: codellama
        eks/node-type: gpu
      - key: nvidia.com/gpu
        operator: Exists
        effect: NoSchedule
      - name: shm
        emptyDir: {}
      - name: data
        emptyDir: {}
      - name: text-generation-inference
        image: ghcr.io/huggingface/text-generation-inference 
        args: ["--model-id", "codellama/CodeLlama-7b-hf", "--num-shard", "1", "--quantize", "bitsandbytes"]
        - containerPort: 80
        - name: shm
          mountPath: /dev/shm
        - name: data
          mountPath: /data
            nvidia.com/gpu: 1
            memory: 10Gi
            cpu: 1000m 
            memory: 1Gi
            cpu: 10m 
apiVersion: v1
kind: Service
    prometheus.io/scrape: "true"
  name: codellama-service
  namespace: tgi
    app: codellama
  type: ClusterIP
    - name: http
      port: 80
      targetPort: 80
    app: codellama

Finally, we’re all set in for some inference:

printf (curl -XPOST http://codellama-service.tgi/generate \
  -d '{"inputs": "Fibonacci numbers in Python", "parameters": {"max new tokens":200}}' \
  -H 'Content-Type: application/json' | jq ".generated_text")

### Fibonacci numbers
The Fibonacci numbers are the numbers in the following integer sequence, called the Fibonacci seq uence, and characterized by the fact that every number after the first two is the sum of the two preceding ones:
1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610, 987, 1597, 2584, 4181,
### Fibonacci numbers in Python
The Fibonacci numbers are the numbers in the following integer sequence, called the Fibonacci seq uence, and characterized by the fact that every number after the first two is the sum of the two preceding"a

And pretty soon enough with larger models, we’ll get our first:

torch.cuda.OutOfMemoryError: CUDA out of memory.


Alright, so we blew right through our GPU memory budget, but why? How can we check the memory and utilization of the GPUs we’ve just deployed?

Well, NVIDIA comes to the rescue once again, with a Prometheus-enabled metrics exporter, packaged as a Helm chart:

helm repo add nvidia https://helm.ngc.nvidia.com/nvidia
helm install nvidia-gpu-operator nvidia/gpu-operator -n dcgm-exporter --create-namespace --set driver.enabled=false --set toolkit.enabled=false

Now in your Prometheus config (here, the Prometheus community Helm chart), you should add a custom job for the NVIDIA DCGM metrics

helm repo add prometheus-community https://prometheus-community.github.io/helm-charts/
helm inspect values prometheus-community/kube-prometheus-stack > values.yaml
--- values.yaml ---
    - job_name: gpu-metrics
      scrape_interval: 1s
      metrics_path: /metrics
      scheme: http
      - role: endpoints
          - dcgm-exporter  # this has to be the same namespace as
                           # your nvidia/gpu-operator deployment
      - source_labels: [__meta_kubernetes_pod_node_name]
        action: replace
        target_label: kubernetes_node

And voila, we’ve got all of our GPU metrics in Grafana now, and it seems that a Tesla T4 with 16GB of RAM can’t handle the GPTQ-quantised Llama2-7B weights.

Grafana dashboard showing our GPUs really struggling to fit Llama2 in their GPU MEM

Closing Thoughts

Compared to the public offering from services such as Replicate, HuggingFace, MosaicML, setting up your own infra, adhering to your own SLAs is definitely not easy, but it’s not insurmountable.

We’re standing on the shoulders of giants, being able to share Terraform snippets, Helm charts, etc. to quickly provision the infrastructure we need.

The biggest benefit to rolling your own Inference infrastructure is definitely the flexibility, and being able to swap hardware in and out to your requirements. Which brings me to…

AWS Inferentia

As you saw above, a 16GB card is barely able to trundle along with a quantised version of a 7B parameter LLM, so what do we do now? Do we just throw our credit cards out the window for some A100 cards? Well, yes, and no…

AWS came out with these instances that were purpose built for Inference, sporting really large GPU memories (the smallest inf2.xlarge instance has 1 Inferentia2 Accelerator with 32GB of Accelerator memory).

It is clear that today’s LLM tasks are bound by Accelerator memory, and these Inferentia instances offer a significant cost reduction to using NVIDIA-based instances.

For comparison:

Instance TypeAccelerator TypeAccelerator MemoryOn-demand Pricing / hr
inf2.xlargeAWS Inferentia232GB$0.76
g5.xlargeNVIDIA A10G24GB$1.006
inf2.48xlargeAWS Inferentia2384GB$12.98
p4d.24xlargeNVIDIA A100320GB$32.77

At the moment TGI does not support AWS Inferentia (inf1, inf2) type instances. You should keep an eye on this, as these inference-specific instance types will be a huge cost saver in terms of GPU-MEM / $.

Thank you

If you’ve made it this far, thank you so much! This was a long and arduous blog post. Wishing you the best in your LLM Inference journeys.