AWS Diagram

A few months from now, we released AWS support in Cloudockit. That was quite a big step for us and we received many feedback from AWS customers and also from Azure customers that embraced multi-cloud provider philosophy and that have also deployed some workloads in AWS.

We made many adjustments according to the feedback we received and we though it was a good timing to post more information about what you can do with AWS Diagraming feature of Cloudockit.

Let’s have a look at the most important features of Cloudockit when it comes to creating AWS Architecture diagrams…

Visio Diagrams are organized in multiple ways

This is a really difficult task to properly organize architecture diagrams automatically. Indeed, when we started Cloudockit (back in the days when it was Azure DocKit), we thought about the ideal way to represent everything and after many attempts, we concluded that there was not single best way to visualize your AWS architecture in a diagram. Indeed, depending on the scenario that you want to achieve, you may want to see one big single diagram or a diagram with one tab per resource group or many other combination…

The way we addressed that was to create multiple diagrams in a .zip file so that you get all the views that you need:

  • AWS Diagram per Resource Group:
    • This Visio file has a tab per resource group so that you can easily see what is inside a resource group.
    • One of the drawbacks of this visualization is that it is harder to see dependencies across resource groups
  • AWS Diagram per Workload Type:
    • This Visio file has one tab per workload type (ex: EC2, S3, Elastic Beanstalk, VPC…) that provides a good visualization depending on who you are: typically, an IT Ops guy will be more interested in the EC2 tab whereas a DevOps guy will be more interested in the Web Apps tab
EC2 AWS Diagram
EC2 AWS Diagram
  • AWS Global Diagram:
    • This architecture diagram contains absolutely everything. While this is very good to see everything and the relationship in one shot, it is tough to read when you have a big AWS account
AWS Global Visio Diagram
AWS Global Visio Diagram
  • AWS Diagram per application:
    • This is one of the most requested features from our users. AWS architects make a pretty intensive use of Tags to organize their resources and they ask us to allow to specify a tag to use to group resources in Visio Diagrams
    • With the AWS Diagram per application feature, you can select a Tag that correspond to your application grouping (or whatever grouping that you like) and Cloudockit will automatically generate one diagram per application

AWS Diagrams native support of Visio & Draw.io

All architecture diagrams automatically generated by Cloudockit are .vsdx files which are native Visio files. That has plenty of advantages as it will allow you to modify the file as you want. One of the most common scenarios of using Cloudockit Diagramming feature is to visualize the existing environment so that you can present to a review board the changes that you are planning to do. That’s where this is really important to be able to modify the file that Cloudockit has generated.

In addition to that, you can modify the texts, the shapes, the layers and everything that you usually do in Visio:

Native Visio Format
Native Visio Format

To create those diagrams automatically, we have developed a stencil that contains the most used workloads for Azure, AWS and GCP and we are planning to make these stencils available for free so stay tuned for that!

Regarding the Draw.io, we have successfully tested the import of the .vsdx in draw.io and it is a pretty good result. While this is true for 2D diagrams, we are still working on 3D diagrams support in Draw.io as they are not properly rendered yet.

3D and 2D Diagrams support

Cloudockit generates both 2D and 3D Diagrams (you can select if you want both or just one of this format).

This was a pretty hard work to make it work as Visio has no native support of Isometric diagram rendering so we pretty much developed everything manually!

Here is the result:

3D Visio Diagrams support for AWS
3D Visio Diagrams support for AWS

We are still working on this feature as we feel it is a good visualization but it is tough to modify the generated 3D Diagrams…

Plenty other useful features of diagrams

Here is a list of other features that you may be interested in:

  • Diagrams can be generated automatically
    • This feature is provided by the Automation feature of Cloudockit that allows you to schedule the document generation (including the diagrams)
  • Diagrams are embedded in the Word Document
    • Cloudockit generates a full Word Document in addition to the Visio Diagrams and those diagrams are included in the Word:
Visio Diagrams embedded in Word
Visio Diagrams embedded in Word
  • Embedded Visio in the word document: by default, diagrams are embedded as picture in the word document but you can also embed them as Editable Visio object so that when you click on it, you can directly edit it in the word document. Be careful with the size of the word document that it generates, it can become pretty big.

Upcoming features

We still have many features to implement in AWS Diagrams so that it matches the Azure Diagrams that we have. Here are a few of them:

  • Support Layered Diagrams
    • In Azure diagrams, Cloudockit provide diagrams that have multi layers like the Virtual Machine Diagrams where you can choose if you want to see UDR or NSG in the diagram by selecting the layers to display
  • Add Data to the Shapes
    • We want to give you more power in the way you use the Visio diagrams so we will add Data to the shape in the upcoming month. For instance, you will see Data that will tell you if an EC2 Instance is up or down, the number of CPU…

If you have any feature suggestion, please send it to support@cloudockit.com, this is always greatly appreciated.

If you want to have an overall picture of Cloudockit, please see our website at https://www.cloudockit.com

 

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