BLOOM 176B — how to run a real LARGE language model in your own cloud?

Maximilian Vogel
5 min readDec 27, 2022


Many of us use GPT-3 or other LLMs in a SaaS way, hosted by their vendors. But how is it like to run a model of the size of GPT-3 in your own cloud?

It’s not trivial to set up, but super exciting to run your own model. Let me tell you how to start out and what outcome you can expect.

BLOOM — BigScience Large Open-science Open-access Multilingual Language Model is a transformer-based language model created by 1000+ researchers (more on the BigScience project). It was trained on about 1,6 TB pre-processed multilingual text. It is free — everybody who wants to, can try it out. The size of the biggest BLOOM model in parameters is 176B, approximately the size of the most successful language model ever, the GPT-3 model of openAI. There are some smaller models available as well, with 7b, 3b, 1b7, etc.

Why would you want to set up your own model when you can use the commercial models as SaaS like water from the tap? Among many reasons the main argument is complete data sovereignty — the data for pre-training and the data entered by the users remain completely under your control — and not under that of an AI company. And there is no real hosted SaaS solution for BLOOM yet.

OK, so how do you do that?

Model size

Our Bloom model needs about 360 GB of RAM to run — a requirement that you can’t get with just one double-click on a button with classic cloud hosting and also this is quite expensive.

Fortunately, Microsoft has provided a downsampled variant with INT8 weights (from original FLOAT16 weights) that runs on the DeepSpeed Inference engine and uses tensor paralellism. DeepSpeed-Inference introduces several features to efficiently serve transformer-based PyTorch models. It supports model parallelism (MP) to fit large models that would otherwise not fit in GPU memory.

Here is more info on minimizing and accelerating the model with DeepSpeed and Accelerate.

In the Microsoft Repo the tensors are split into 8 shards. So on the one hand, the absolute model size is reduced and on the other hand, the smaller model is split and parallelized and can thus be distributed over 8 GPUs.

Hosting Setup

Our hoster of choice for the model is AWS because it provides a SageMaker setup for a Deep Learning container that is capable of initializing the model. Instructions for doing so can be found here:
Deploy BLOOM-176B and OPT-30B on Amazon SageMaker with large model inference Deep Learning Containers and DeepSpeed.

Please consider just the Bloom 176b part, the OPT part is irrelevant for our purposes.

On AWS you have to find the right datacenter to set up the model. The required capacity is not available anywhere. We went to the east coast, to Virginia, on You have to get the instances you need through support, you can’t do it by self configuring. You need 8 Nvidia A100 with 40 GB RAM each.

Thomas, our devops engineer, found out how to create the environment and he finally set it up, and I’d like to take a deep bow to him here for succeeding.

Robot in a rain of flowers.

Boot the model

The hosted model can be loaded from the Microsoft repository on Huggingface into an S3 in the same data center — that is what we did, in order to have the model close to the runtime environment — or you can use the model provided by AWS in a public S3 environment. The model size is 180 GB.

In the instructions and in the jupyter notebook available on Github you will find the individual steps for creating the model and setting up an endpoint on Sagemaker that are necessary to get a model with low latency running.

Done. The BLOOM 176B model is running now.

In our setup it costs about $32 per hour when running. So it can make sense to boot the model for test rounds and shut it down again to free up resources — if the model doesn’t need to be up all time in a production system. With the script you can start it in about 18 min, shutting down and freeing the ressources takes seconds.

A brain made out of flowers.

Use the model

We have put a custom API gateway and lambda function in the interface on top of the Sagemaker endpoint that allows users to connect externally with an API key — this makes it easier to use and call. Look here for an intro.

The call to the Bloom model is in principle exactly the same as for other completion models: you throw a text and arguments like temperature, max_new_tokens, etc. against the interface and get back a text response.

"input": "The BLOOM large language model is a",
"gen_kwargs": {
"min_length": 5,
"max_new_tokens": 100,
"temperature": 0.8,
"num_beams": 5,
"no_repeat_ngram_size": 2,

We first tested the model interface with a smaller BLOOM model, the 1B7 (with SageMaker JumpStart), and then, after everything worked, with the large 176B model.

Well, and what is the result?

We let the model do two hello-worlds and one goodbye-world:

It works!

With the model’s nice, but not very specific Goodbye-World, I’d like to close for this year. I will share the results of some capability test with the BLOOM-model in a follow-up story.

Many thanks, ganz, ganz lieben Dank to
Thomas Bergmann
Leo Sokolov
Nikhil Menon
Kirsten Küppers

for help with the setup and the article.

All bloomy images generated with OpenAI’s DALL-E 2.

Please feel free to ask me questions regarding the BLOOM setup.



Maximilian Vogel

Machine learning, generative AI aficionado and speaker. Co-founder BIG PICTURE.