An architecture diagram is the representation of all or part of the infrastructure you and your company work on a daily basis. Therefore, it is important that the representation of the diagram is organized for the optimization of its reading. Your AWS architecture diagram essentially illustrates the different technical elements in your infrastructure and the interactions between them.
In order to create your diagram, several prerequisites are necessary.
Have a good view of your architecture from two different points of view. The first will be general; draw or describe verbatim your infrastructure in a broad outline without going into detail. This will allow you to identify groups of items as well as potential links between them. Afterward, you can fill these large parts with the precise resources that compose the diagram and all of the different interactions that may exist between them.
Keep in mind that other people may have to consult or even work from your architecture diagram. Therefore it is important that during its realization you put yourself in the shoes of a person outside your organization, team member, or client.
Write a glossary to append to your diagram. Each company has its own definitions and a dictionary of technical terms. Another person will have difficulty reading the diagram without understanding the language of the company.
Architecture documentation is a major asset in the development of your architecture diagram. With technical documentation, you can define the context of your infrastructure and the functionalities fulfilled by applications or resources. The development of your documentation will facilitate the integration of an outside person brought in to resume your activities. Furthermore, documenting all of your ideas will allow you to revise them and provide a clearer vision of your architecture as a whole.
Now that these prerequisites are in place, you have everything in hand to draw your diagram. For optimal reading and understanding, here are 5 tips you can follow.
Whenever possible, the connections between the elements of your AWS diagram should be isolated from each other and should not intersect. Intersecting segments could confuse the reader. Try to bring together the elements that interconnect in order to limit their length. Doing so will limit the risk of crossing or overlapping with other connections or elements of your diagram.
The vocabulary of your diagram should be clear. It is advisable to also label the connections. For example, using continuous, or broken lines, different thicknesses, or even different colors. Likewise, use distinct and contrasting colors for different types of resources.
Be careful not to use too many colors to not distort the reading and to quickly identify the different groups of elements.
Use multiple AWS diagrams. Feel free to cut out your diagram if the infrastructure you want to draw is too large. For example, you can define in a second diagram in more detail an important and isolated block of your infrastructure.
Use documentation generation software. Diagram and documentation generation software will allow you to omit or greatly simplify all of the previous steps. Cloudockit will allow you to generate your documentation and your architecture diagrams with their own icons and colors. The software can document not only AWS, but also Azure, GCP, Hyper-V, and VMware. In addition, our Tailored Diagrams feature will allow you to customize your diagram according to the criteria described in this article.