A Comparison Between vLLM and OpenLLM: Choosing the Right Platform for LLM

August 31, 2023


Large Language Models (LLMs) have emerged as transformative tools in the field of artificial intelligence, reshaping the way we interact with technology and unlocking new possibilities across diverse industries. These models, powered by massive neural networks, exhibit an impressive ability to understand and generate human-like text, making them invaluable for tasks such as language translation, content creation, customer support, and more.

As LLMs become more prevalent and integral to various applications, the need for efficient LLM inference and deployment has gained prominence. The speed and scalability of deploying these models play a pivotal role in ensuring their practical viability in real-world scenarios. This has led to the development of specialized platforms that aim to optimize LLM inference and streamline the deployment process.

This article discusses a comparison between two prominent platforms in the LLM deployment landscape: vLLM and OpenLLM. These platforms are dedicated to enhancing LLM serving efficiency, empowering organizations to harness the full potential of these models in their operations. Let's explore the features, performance, deployment options, and integrations offered by both vLLM and OpenLLM to help you make an informed decision when choosing the right platform for your LLM-powered application.

An Overview of vLLM

vLLM is a cutting-edge open-source library designed to streamline the process of Large Language Model (LLM) inference and serving. With a focus on speed, efficiency, and versatility, vLLM aims to address the challenges associated with deploying LLMs in real-world applications1. This platform has been developed at UC Berkeley and has been put to the test in production environments, including Chatbot Arena and Vicuna Demo 2,3.


At its core, vLLM is built to provide a solution for efficient LLM inference and serving. It offers several key features that set it apart:

  • Fast LLM Inference and Serving: vLLM is optimized for high throughput serving, enabling organizations to handle a large number of requests efficiently. It ensures rapid response times, making it suitable for applications that require real-time interactions.
  • Flexibility and Ease of Use: vLLM offers an easy-to-use interface that seamlessly integrates with popular Hugging Face models. This integration simplifies the deployment process and allows users to use their preferred LLM architectures without the need for extensive modifications.
  • Seamless Integration: One of vLLM's strengths is its compatibility with various HuggingFace models, including architectures like GPT-2, GPT-NeoX, Falcon, and more.
  • Performance Enhancement: vLLM sets out to redefine the benchmark for LLM serving throughput. It aims to deliver significantly higher throughput compared to existing libraries, making it an appealing choice for organizations seeking optimal performance.

vLLM's innovative approach to attention management, known as PagedAttention, stands out as a key factor in its performance enhancement. PagedAttention reduces memory overhead and improves overall efficiency, particularly when using complex sampling algorithms. vLLM offers a powerful toolkit for organizations looking to harness the potential of LLMs in their applications. Its emphasis on speed, versatility, and ease of integration makes it a compelling choice for those seeking to achieve optimal LLM serving performance.

An Overview of OpenLLM

OpenLLM is a versatile platform designed to simplify the deployment and utilization of LLMs in production environments 4. With a focus on openness and flexibility, OpenLLM offers a range of features that cater to organizations looking to harness the power of LLMs effectively.

  • Open Platform for LLM Deployment: OpenLLM positions itself as an open platform that facilitates various aspects of LLM deployment. From running inference on existing open-source LLMs to fine-tuning them for specific tasks, OpenLLM offers a comprehensive toolkit for organizations seeking to integrate LLMs into their applications.
  • Features: One of OpenLLM's standout features is its ability to serve as a one-stop solution for various LLM-related tasks. It supports running inference on open-source LLMs, allowing users to generate text outputs based on given prompts. Additionally, OpenLLM provides the capability to fine-tune LLMs, tailoring their behavior to suit specific requirements. The platform also simplifies the deployment of LLMs and encourages the development of AI applications that leverage LLM capabilities.
  • Wide Range of Supported LLMs: OpenLLM comes equipped with built-in support for a variety of state-of-the-art LLMs. This includes models like StableLM, Dolly, ChatGLM, and StarCoder, each designed to cater to specific use cases. This extensive support ensures that users have access to a range of LLM architectures suitable for their application needs.
  • AI Applications: OpenLLM's primary value proposition lies in its ability to provide organizations with the tools they need to seamlessly integrate LLMs into their AI applications. Whether it's using existing LLMs for inference, fine-tuning models for specific tasks, or deploying AI apps that use LLM capabilities, OpenLLM aims to simplify and accelerate the entire process.

The following sections will discuss in detail the performance, deployment options, integrations, and other features offered by both vLLM and OpenLLM, enabling users to make informed decisions based on their specific requirements and goals.

Performance Comparison

Efficient performance is a crucial factor when evaluating platforms for Large Language Model (LLM) deployment. Both vLLM and OpenLLM strive to enhance LLM inference and serving capabilities, but they achieve this through different approaches. While they have been compared with their benchmarks and predecessors, their capabilities have not been compared with each other experimentally. In this article, we take a theoretical approach based on their features. 

Flexibility and Use Cases

One of vLLM's strong suits is its seamless integration with popular HuggingFace models. This integration allows users to harness the power of established LLM architectures easily. It emphasizes fast and efficient inference, making it well-suited for scenarios requiring rapid response times, such as chatbots and real-time applications.

OpenLLM positions itself as an open platform for LLM deployment, with an emphasis on running inference on a variety of open-source LLMs, fine-tuning models, and building AI applications. Its broader approach makes it suitable for a wide range of use cases, including custom model deployment, experimentation, and production-grade applications.

Performance Optimization

The introduction of PagedAttention by vLLM is a standout feature that directly addresses memory bottlenecks and enhances serving throughput. Its focus on memory efficiency and optimized CUDA kernels makes it particularly valuable for scenarios where memory optimization is critical.

While explicit benchmarks between the two platforms might not be available, OpenLLM's support for different LLMs and runtime implementations offers flexibility in performance optimization. Developers can choose specific LLMs and runtime frameworks based on their performance requirements.

Memory Utilization

vLLM's PagedAttention algorithm plays a significant role in optimizing memory utilization. The attention key and value tensors, known as KV cache, are efficiently managed by PagedAttention. This algorithm allows for non-contiguous memory storage of continuous keys and values, leading to reduced memory fragmentation and over-reservation. The result is a memory-efficient solution that contributes to enhanced throughput.

Operational Cost

Both vLLM and OpenLLM have demonstrated their ability to significantly reduce operational costs. vLLM's deployment has led to a 50% reduction in GPU usage for serving traffic, while OpenLLM's flexible deployment options offer efficient resource utilization. These cost savings highlight the real-world impact of using optimized LLM deployment platforms.

Deployment Options

Efficient deployment is a critical aspect of utilizing LLMs in real-world applications, and understanding the deployment strategies of each platform is essential for making informed decisions.

Docker Container Deployment

Both vLLM and OpenLLM offer the option to deploy LLMs using Docker containers. OpenLLM supports building a Bento package, which encompasses the program's source code, models, dependencies, and other artifacts. This Bento package can then be containerized using Docker for deployment. Bentos can be used as runners in BentoML services. On the other hand, vLLM is deployed on the SkyPilot cloud. 

Integrations and Use Cases 

vLLM introduces integration with Transformers Agents, allowing users to leverage HuggingFace's agent framework for LLM interaction. While this integration is mentioned to be at an experimental stage, it showcases the platform's adaptability and openness to collaborations.

OpenLLM offers robust integration with various tools and frameworks, including LangChain, and Transformers Agents. This integration enables users to incorporate LLMs into their existing AI ecosystems, enhancing flexibility and extensibility.

OpenLLM's integration with LangChain showcases its adaptability for diverse use cases. LangChain users can easily use OpenLLM's models for their language processing needs. Similar to vLLM, OpenLLM integrates with Transformers Agents for easier interactions with LLMs using the HuggingFace agent framework.

Both vLLM and OpenLLM exhibit versatility in their integration capabilities, making them suitable for various AI applications:

  • Natural Language Processing (NLP): The integration of both platforms with HuggingFace Transformers Agents underscores their effectiveness in NLP tasks. Developers can leverage these integrations for sentiment analysis, text generation, and other language-related applications.
  • Conversational AI: The ability of both platforms to integrate with Transformers Agents is particularly advantageous for building conversational AI agents. These agents can understand user queries and provide contextually relevant responses using LLMs.
  • Custom AI Workflows: The integration of OpenLLM with BentoML, LangChain, and other tools empowers developers to craft custom AI workflows that combine LLMs with other models and services. This flexibility is ideal for creating tailored solutions.

Having Integrations expands the potential usage of LLM platforms by enabling them to be incorporated into various AI contexts. Whether it's using Transformers Agents for NLP tasks or integrating with BentoML and LangChain for custom workflows, both vLLM and OpenLLM offer tools to enhance the versatility and applicability of LLMs.

Quantization and Fine-Tuning

Quantization and fine-tuning are crucial techniques that contribute to optimizing the performance of LLMs.


For now, vLLM doesn't support quantized models, but it will be available in the future7. On the other hand, OpenLLM places emphasis on quantization by providing support for two quantization methods: bitsandbytes and GPTQ. Bitsandbytes quantization reduces the model's memory footprint, while GPTQ introduces quantization specifically tailored for LLMs. This approach not only speeds up inference but also reduces memory requirements.


Fine-tuning allows users to fine-tune models to suit their specific use cases, enhancing model performance for specific tasks. For now, vLLM doesn't support fine-tuning, while OpenLLM does provide support for fine-tuning, but it is currently experimental.

Quantization and fine-tuning are integral tools for enhancing LLM performance and tailoring models to specific requirements. OpenLLM's explicit support for quantization, as well as its experimental fine-tuning feature, make it a strong contender for scenarios where optimization and customization are necessary.


It is important to weigh the key differences and consider various factors to determine which platform aligns best with your requirements. Let's recap the key aspects discussed and provide guidance on making an informed decision.

Key Differences and Considerations in a Nutshell

  • Performance and Throughput: vLLM focuses on achieving high throughput and low latency inference, especially with its PagedAttention algorithm. On the other hand, OpenLLM emphasizes an open platform for LLM deployment, with a focus on supporting various LLMs and providing quantization options.
  • Quantization and Fine-Tuning: While OpenLLM offers quantization techniques such as bitsandbytes and GPTQ, along with experimental fine-tuning support, vLLM does not currently support these features. Consider whether these capabilities are critical for your application.
  • Integration and Deployment: vLLM offers integration with Transformers Agents, while OpenLLM integrates with BentoML, LangChain, and Transformers Agents. The deployment options differ as well, with both platforms supporting Docker containers and cloud deployment.

Choosing the Right Platform:

  • Performance-Driven Applications: If the application demands lightning-fast inference and low latency, vLLM's emphasis on serving efficiency might align well with the goals.
  • Quantization and Fine-Tuning Needs: If memory-efficient models are the requirement, then through quantization or plan to fine-tune LLMs for task-specific performance, OpenLLM's support for these features could be advantageous.
  • Versatility and Integration: For a flexible platform that integrates with various tools and supports multiple LLMs, OpenLLM's open-source approach and integration options might be the better fit, since it has a higher number of options for integrations.
  • Deployment Flexibility: Both platforms offer similar deployment through Docker containers. vLLM uses SkyPilo, while OpenLLM uses BentoCloud. 

The choice between vLLM and OpenLLM depends on the specific use case, performance requirements, integration preferences, and deployment strategies of the user. As LLMs continue to revolutionize AI applications across industries, each platform offers its unique strengths. By considering the factors outlined in this comparison, the user can make a well-informed decision that aligns with their goals and leads to successful LLM deployment.

In the ever-evolving landscape of AI and language models, both vLLM and OpenLLM play valuable roles in meeting the diverse demands of AI developers, researchers, and businesses. Both these platforms are relatively new, and would have lots of improvement and amendments in the future. 

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