Use Cloudockit to Easily Create Azure Architecture Diagrams


Pascal Bonheur


5 min

What are Cloud Diagrams

Cloud diagrams are essential for your IT department because they allow you to visualize all the dependencies between your components and identify bottleneck issues. Cloud diagrams will help you understand everything you have in your environment and therefore see what needs to be redesigned.

A good cloud diagram is a blueprint that can be used by your architectural team. With the help of the diagrams, they can easily take decisions when they implement changes in the existing infrastructure. Cloud diagrams will also help the architects when they want to deploy a completely new system.

Components of the Azure Architecture Diagrams

A good cloud diagram should include infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS)  components in an environment. The most important components are the virtual networks, the network security groups and the network interface cards. In addition, a favorable architecture diagram should also have the list of all the Azure app services, Azure app service plans and storage that are deployed in your subscription.

As an example, the image below displays a list of typical components you should find in your Azure diagrams.

Elements of a PaaS Cloud Diagram

Below you can see an example of a proper Azure cloud diagram to showcase your past components. These diagrams typically include components like app service plans, web jobs, app services and it also gives you the links between the components. If you have a function that is connected to an Azure SQL database, your diagram should include the dependencies listed above. It is also important to have all the component’s meta data directly available from the diagram. You do not want to lose time browsing the Azure portal to see if the configuration of an existing function in Azure is compatible with what you are trying to implement.

Below is another example of a good cloud architecture diagram that is focused on storage. In this diagram you can clearly see that the storage accounts are the main topic followed by the dependencies between those storage accounts and the components that are using them. For instance, if you have an Azure virtual machine, an Azure function or any other component that is using the account, they will be identified in the links.

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Elements of a IaaS Cloud Diagram

IaaS diagrams typically include networking component firewalls, network security groups, route tables, IP configurations and of course Virtual Machines. Most the time, these diagrams are used by cloud computing architects. They should include every detail of those components. Typically, you want to know if the size of a specific virtual machine is Standard_A1 and quickly see the total cost of a virtual machine. You will need to properly identify the connectivity between all the components. For instance, you want to be aware that 2 virtual machines are in the same availability set and belong to a virtual network that has multiple subnets. You also need to identify the IP range of those subnets.

Another example of a diagram you should use to document your infrastructure is a container diagram. This diagram should include your Kubernetes Clusters and detailed information of agent pools, the pod, the images, the services and all the networking components:

Step by Step Guide on How to Create the Diagrams

There are two ways you can create your diagrams. The first one is, of course, manually. After spending a lot of time creating your diagrams manually, you will soon realize it is outdated. The second option is to use Cloudockit’s Azure architecture diagram tool. The tool will automatically generate your diagrams as often as you need them. The steps required to create diagrams are quite simple:

    1. Connect to your Azure environment; you can use any account you have with read only
    2. Select the type of diagram you want to generate. It can choose between be Visio diagrams, LucidChart or even Draw.io.
    3. Once you have selected the type of diagram you want to generate you can specify the advanced options want to use:
      • Do you want a 2 dimensional or a 3 dimensional diagram?
      • Is there a tag in my Azure subscription that represents a business application? If so, specify these tags so that Lambda kit automatically generates diagrams grouped by business applications.
      • In the Word document that Cloudockit generates you can choose to embed Visio diagrams.
      • You can choose to include warnings in the diagrams that Cloudockit automatically generates. If you chose this option, you will be able to see a flag by the components that have issues and obtain a descriptions in the shape data. Hypothetically, if you have a storage that is not encrypted, you would get a flag near the storage account with a description explaining that the storage account is not compliant because it is not encrypted. As always, it is up to you to select the compliance rules you want to monitor.
    4. Click the “Generate” button and it will automatically do the job for you. Cloudockit will generate all the diagrams you require to do your job.

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