AWS Diagrams: Cloudockit’s Guide to Understanding Cloud Architecture


Pascal Bonheur


7 min

Why monitor Your Cloud Architecture

It is no surprise; cloud services are now present in every industry. From small private corporations to large conglomerates and even governments around the word. Cloud services are dominated by a small handful of large tech companies, like Amazon Web Services. In 2018, AWS accounted for nearly 43% of Amazon overall sales (Statistica). Just a few years ago, we mostly knew Amazon as an e-commerce giant.

As companies add more and more data to AWS, monitoring cloud architecture should be the primary goal of any IT department. Proper documentation is crucial if many employees have access to the company’s cloud environment. You need to keep control at all times.

Docs. can also come in handy when you need to share certain information with other employees or executive. This important knowledge cannot be kept in the heads of only a few key people. Lastly, companies with ISO certifications need to keep legitimate documentation. Let’s face it, no one really likes to create docs. by hand!

Understanding your AWS cloud architecture is simple with Cloudockit’s architecture diagram tool.

AWS Architecture Components

There are two main types of components in any Cloud Architecture:

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Platform as a Sercive (PaaS) is a category of cloud computing services that provides a platform allowing customers to develop, run, and manage applications. It allows you to manage applications without the complexity of building and maintaining the infrastructure associated with developing and launching an app.

In AWS, typical PaaS components are called Lambda Functions. AWS Lambda is a serverless compute service that runs your code in response to events and automatically manages the underlying compute resources for you. The Lambda Functions call each other or leverage other components like DynamoDB or Polly. It is easy to lose track of all these functions. This is why it is important to properly monitor Lambda Functions in documentation and diagrams.

Here is an example of diagrams you should always monitor. This will help you understand the big picture in your AWS architecture.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) are online services that provide high-level APIs. It is used to dereference various low-level details of underlying network infrastructure like physical computing resources, location, data partitioning, scaling, security, backup, etc.

Most typical AWS IaaS components are EC2 Instances and VPC. It is important to keep track of those components in diagrams that will list all your virtual machines. It will also allow you to easily associate the EC2 instances to the VPC and the subnet they are in.

For example, here is the type of diagram every Infrastructure Architect should always have:

Start creating your AWS diagrams today!

Architecture Diagrams

Cloudockit’s AWS Diagram Tool

How can Cloudockit help you with your AWS diagram documentation?

Basically, Cloudockit’s AWS Diagram tool automatically creates your diagrams. You will no longer need to worry about diagrams that are not up to date or diagrams that contain wrong information. Understand that diagrams with wrong information can be an important issue as Architects rely on them to take key decisions. For example, if the diagram does not properly show the connection between the EC2 instance and a load balancer, the Architect could potentially delete the load balancer and all the data associated with it.

Cloudockit does not only automatically generate your AWS diagrams. It also offers many important features to help you monitor your AWS architecture diagrams.

Data Embedded in the Diagram

Click on any shape in your Visio diagram and you will get a multitude of information.

As an example, take a look at “Auto Scaling Group.” Here is all the information Cloudockit gives you:

By clicking on the icon, you can see the number of instances, the Min Size, Max Size, it is EBS optimized, and more. All these values are useful when you need to take architectural decisions.

Multiple Supported Diagram Tools

Let’s face it, you do not want to have to learn another diagraming tool. You want to be able to use a tool that contains advanced features and that you know well. Cloudockit has chosen to leverage the top leading diagraming tools on the market; Visio, Draw.io and now Lucidchart. We are also committed to adding new diagram tools to our list like Gliffy, Omnigraffle and Creately.

How to Read Your AWS Architecture Diagram

Our customers often ask us what is the best layout for the diagrams they generate. We devised many tests with hundreds of customers and found that there is no “one-size fits all” approach. The best approach is to generate many diagrams that are grouped in different manners. This way you will be able to evaluate which are best for you and your company. Here are the diagrams that are automatically generated by Cloudockit.

We also give you the ability to define the notions of Application to generate the “ByApplication” diagram.

Knowing your architecture is a crucial step in maintaining a healthy cloud. The more users who are making operations within the cloud and upload data, the harder it is to monitor everything effectively. Cloudockit is a great tool to maintain a healthy and secure cloud architecture. It will also make the work of your cloud architects easier.

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