Google I/O is a wrap! Catch up on TensorFlow sessions View sessions

TensorFlow Decision Forests and TensorFlow Serving


To run TF Decision Forests models in TF-Serving, use the precompiled TF-Sering+TF-Decision Forests package (recommended), or compile it from source (instructions, automated building).

Run the TF-Serving+TF-DF example for a demonstration of TF-Serving + TF-DF.


TensorFlow Serving is a system to run TensorFlow models in production environments. More precisely, TensorFlow Serving is a binary that expose model predictions through gRPC and HTTP. The TF-Serving team publishes a pre-compiled release compatible with models only containing canonical TensorFlow ops.

The TensorFlow Decision Forests (TF-DF) library uses custom TensorFlow Ops for inference. Therefore, TF-DF models are not compatible with the pre-compiled releases of TF-Serving. If you try, the following error will be raised:

NOT_FOUND: Op type not registered 'SimpleMLCreateModelResource' in binary running on Make sure the Op and Kernel are registered in the binary running in this process. Note that if you are loading a saved graph which used ops from tf.contrib, accessing (e.g.) tf.contrib.resampler should be done before importing the graph, as contrib ops are lazily registered when the module is first accessed.

Two options are available to run TF-DF in TF Serving:

  1. Use the pre-compiled version of TF Serving managed by the TF-DF team and compatible with TF-DF. TF Serving binaries are related on the TF-DF GitHub release page . For example, search for the latest
  2. Compile TF Serving from source with support for TF-DF using the instructions below.


  • TF-DF TF-Serving compile script is an experimental solution to compile TF-Serving in TF-DF automatically. It is equivalent to the instruction below.

  • "TF-Serving + TF-Decision Forests" runs independently the Python installation of TF-Decision Forests.

  • TF-Decision Forests models are backward compatible: For example, a model trained with TF-DF v0.3 can be run with TF-DF v0.4.

  • In the vast majority of cases, TF-DF models are foward compatible: For example, a model trained with TF-DF v0.4 can be run with the TF-DF v0.1.

Compile TF-Sering+TF-Decision Forests from source manually


For errors specific to TF Serving, refer to the TF-Serving compilation guide .

Install Docker

General installation instructions are on the Docker site.

Clone the build script

Download the source code of TF-Serving.

git clone
cd serving

Compile TF-Serving

First, make sure that TF-Serving compiles.

tools/ bazel build -c opt tensorflow_serving/...

This command compiles TensorFlow locally. This operation takes a long time (e.g. ~6h on a good machine without distributed compilation). As of today (Nov. 2021), the compilation of TF-Serving has ~30'000 bazel steps (see the compilation logs) .

Make sure to enable the available instruction sets compatible with your serving environment. TF-DF inference benefit from SIMD instructions.

Import TF-DF in the TF-Serving project.

Add the following lines in the WORKSPACE file located in the root directory of TF-Serving. The content should be placed near the top below workspace(name = "tf_serving"):

# Import Yggdrasil Decision Forests.
load("@bazel_tools//tools/build_defs/repo:http.bzl", "http_archive")

# Load the YDF dependencies. However, skip the ones already injected by
# TensorFlow.

# Import TensorFlow Decision Forests.
load("//tensorflow_serving:repo.bzl", "tensorflow_http_archive")

At the time of writing this guide, the current version of TensorFlow Decision Forests and Yggdrasil Decision Forests are both 0.2.0. Visit the respective github repositories to check for new stable releases. You might also have to select version compatible with the current version of TensorFlow (see TF-DF compatibility table) .

Register the TF-DF custom op.

Add the TF-DF inference ops to the SUPPORTED_TENSORFLOW_OPS variable defined in the file tensorflow_serving/model_servers/BUILD.

SUPPORTED_TENSORFLOW_OPS = if_v2([]) + if_not_v2([
]) + [
   # ... other ops
   # TF-DF inference op.

Recompile TF-Serving

Recompile TF-Serving (similarly as in the "Compile TF-Serving" section above) with the following flags:

--define use_tensorflow_io=1 # Use TensorFlow for IO operations.
--define no_absl_statusor=1 # Do not use absl for status (tf uses an old version of absl).

The full command might look as follows:

tools/ -d tensorflow/serving:latest-devel bazel \
    build -c opt tensorflow_serving/... \
    --define use_tensorflow_io=1 \
    --define no_absl_statusor=1

Testing the TF-Serving + TF-DF build

Run the TF-Serving+TF-DF example to test to test your binary.