GemFire Image Search

An example using the GemFire Vector Database extension to perform an image search.

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GemFire Image Search

An image search webapp that uses VMware GemFire and the VMware GemFire Vector Database extension. Download the extension from the Tanzu Network: GemFire Vector Database extension

Using the Application

  1. Click “Create Index”

  2. Click “Load Embeddings” the application will then

    • Determine if the /static/images directory exists in the backend directory and if there are any files in that directory.
      • If the directory DOES NOT exist, the application will create the directory, download the images dataset (~1.9 GB), unzip the file, and extract the images to the directory (~25,000 images)
      • If the directory DOES exist, then it will skip the above step.
    • Determine if the precomputed embeddings file exists. If it does not, then it will download the file.
    • The precomputed embeddings are then loaded into GemFire.
  3. Now that the index has been created, images are available, and the embeddings have been loaded into GemFire, you can search for images.

The full image set can also be downloaded here if needed: Image Data Set

If you would like to use your own images data set:

  • The images must be placed in the backend/static/images directory.
  • The images must be .jpg files.
  • You must set use_precomputed_embeddings (~line 20) in the to False.
    • The application will randomly select and encode 100 images from this folder. This is only because the encoding takes time and memory. You can adjust this number if needed in the file, in the load_embeddings method (~line 33).
  • With 1500 images on a local machine it can take about ~20 minutes to encode them. This number will vary for each user.

When searching images

  • The application filters out results that have a score less than .60. This is set in the file, in the /searchImages endpoint.
  • The search query sets top-k:100 - this means it will return the top 100 results from the query. This can be changed in the -> def create_query_embedding(search_query):

Running the Application

Host and Port

The application currently expects to find the GemFire --http-service-port at 8081 and running at localhost. If you change this port, you will need to update the baseUrl in the file with the new host and port.


There are a few python packages you may need to install such as:

  • Sentence Transformer (pip install -U sentence-transformers)
  • pytorch (pip3 install torch torchvision)
  • PIL
  • There may be others. You’ll have to build and see what you have or don’t have on your own system.

Starting GemFire

  • Download the VMware GemFire Vector Database extension from the Tanzu Network and put the .gfm file into the GemFire extensions directory.

  • Start a GemFire Shell (gfsh)

  • In the GemFire Shell, start a GemFire locator

    start locator

  • In the GemFire Shell, start a GemFire server, turning on the rest API and setting the HTTP Port
    start server --start-rest-api --http-service-port=8081 --name=gemfire-image-search

Starting The Web Application

  • Open a terminal.
  • Navigate to the frontend directory
  • Run npm install (You may end up with an output after the installation of - “8 vulnerabilities (2 moderate, 6 high)” )
  • Run npm run build
  • Navigate to the backend directory
  • Run python
  • The application should be running now. See the top of this ReadMe for instructions on how to use the application.