Navigating the Complex Terrain of Machine Learning Operations: A Dive into MLOps

Read Time 6 mins | Written by: Yuan Zhao | Ryo Hang

Building on our previous discussion in Blog 1:  'Cost Factors and Challenges in Machine Learning Projects', this blog delves into the practical applications and general approaches of Machine Learning, especially focusing on MLOps, to overcome these challenges. As we dive deeper into the realm of Machine Learning Operations (MLOps), the need to bridge the divide between theoretical hurdles and real-world solutions becomes increasingly pronounced.


ASCENDING's Case Study: Challenges in E-commerce

The journey of one of our clients from disjointed operations to a well-orchestrated MLOps system perfectly illustrates this transition.

Take, for example, a renowned player in the global e-commerce industry, wrestling with the burdens associated with managing hundreds of TBs of data and the efficient deployment of ML models. Their burgeoning data growth sparked scaling challenges and culminated in underperforming models due to a suboptimal infrastructure.

At ASCENDING, we devised an effective strategy to handle these challenges head-on. By automating the data lifecycle and integrating all-encompassing processes, including data cleaning, validation, and versioning, we streamlined their approach, skyrocketing the overall quality and consistency of their data. ASCENDING went a step further by applying MLOps methodologies to put into action a comprehensive Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipeline for the company’s ML models - a move that automated model training, evaluation, and deployment.

Through the clever use of containerization tools, ASCENDING assured seamless integration of the models into the company's IT infrastructure. This not only elevated the deployment stage but also paved the way for efficient A/B testing. As an added layer of reassurance, robust monitoring solutions deployed by ASCENDING provided granular insights into the in-operation model performance metrics - a feature that equipped the client to rapidly spot and tackle issues.


Impact and Importance of MLOps

The beneficial upshot from these interventions was the notable enhancement in the efficiency, scalability, and profitability of the client's ML processes. This shift attests to the immensely potent influence of MLOps on businesses striving to wield ML at scale.

Zooming out, from our previous discussions on machine learning, we understand that the upswing of AI and ML in concert with data explosion underscores the significance of adept MLOps. As we steer conversation from theoretical challenges inherent in ML projects to their practical execution, the broader picture of MLOps comes into focus. MLOps shoulders the responsibility of the full machine-learning lifecycle and presents a streamlined mechanism for administering a gamut of complexities, ranging from data collection, model development, orchestration to diagnostics.


                 Figure-1: 2023 MAD (ML, AI & Data) Landscape (source:



Common Pain Points in ML Operations

In a field teeming with intricate acronyms, evolving technologies, a multitude of products, and myriad companies, navigating and mastering the landscape can be tricky. However, in our interaction with previous clients, we've noticed some recurring pain points that often include cloud transition, efficient setup and management of ML pipelines, data-scaling, and handling sensitive data.

In light of such challenges, the need for efficacious models to manage tasks like data cleaning, experiment tracking, model training, and scaling ML operations is paramount.


The Parallel with DevOps and MLOps

Drawing parallels from DevOps, we are led into the intricate arena of MLOps. Albeit similar, MLOps is a more complicated concept owing to the experimental nature of ML systems.From a broader perspective, MLOps is shaping up to be a standalone method for managing the ML lifecycle. From data collection, model development, orchestration and deployment, MLOps addresses each stage of the lifecycle, right down to key metrics of health, diagnostics and overall governance.


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                                              Figure-2: The key phases of MLOps (source:


The challenges confronted and overcome in our work with this global e-commerce mammoth have underscored the role and value of ASCENDING's consulting expertise in the ML industry. Implementation of MLOps not only significantly enhanced the client's ML model deployment and data management, but the transition also brought scalability, efficiency, and skyrocketed profitability. An added perk from automation was the liberation of the client's data scientists, freeing up crucial bandwidth to engage in tasks of a more value-generating nature, thereby upskilling the team.

Most importantly, the efficient delivery of these strategies resulted in tangible savings in terms of costs and time. This transformation we brought about for this global leader, signifies the potential improvements we can bring to your business as well.


At ASCENDING, we stand ready to bring our expertise to bear, guiding your company through the complexities of ML operations and propelling you towards an optimized, profitable future. We look forward to fostering a connection and further discussions on the intricate world of ML operations. To further explore the evolving landscape of Machine Learning Operations, particularly focusing on the automation of CI/CD pipelines, continue reading our next piece in the series, 'Evolving Machine Learning Operations: Mastering CI/CD Pipeline Automation'. Reach out to us, and let’s collaborate to amplify the efficacy of your Machine Learning projects and meet your business goals.

Yuan Zhao

Data Solution Architect

Ryo Hang

Solution Architect @ASCENDING