Feast Core is the central management service of a Feast deployment. It's role is to:
Acts as a source of truth and central registry of feature sets.
Before a user ingests data into Feast, they should register one or more feature sets. These feature sets tell Feast where to find their data, how to ingest it, and also describe the characteristics of the data for validation purposes. Once a feature set is registered, Feast will start an Apache Beam job in order to populate a store with data from a source.
In order for stores to be populated with data, users must publish the data to a source. Currently Feast only supports Apache Kafka as a source. Feast users (or pipelines) ingest batch data through the Feast SDK using its
ingest() method. The SDK publishes the data straight to Kafka.
Streaming systems can also ingest data into Feast. This is done by publishing to the correct Kafka topic in the expected format. Feast expects data to be in FeatureRow.proto format. The topic and brokers can be found on the feature set schema using the Python SDK.
Stores are nothing more than databases used to store feature data. Feast loads data into stores through an ingestion process, after which the data can be served through the Feast Serving API. Stores are documented in the following section.
Feast Serving is the data access layer through which end users and production systems retrieve feature data. Each
Serving instance is backed by a store.
Since Feast supports multiple store types (online, historical) it is common to have two instances of Feast Serving deployed, one for online serving and one for historical serving. However, Feast allows for any number of
Feast Serving deployments, meaning it is possible to deploy a
Feast Serving deployment per production system, with its own stores and population jobs.
Serving deployments can subscribe to a subset of feature data. Meaning they do not have to consume all features known to a
Feast Core deployment.
Feature retrieval (and feature references) are documented in more detail in subsequent sections