What is a Cloud Architecture Diagram?

Cloud Architecture Diagrams are used to visually document an organization’s cloud computing services. The infrastructure of these services can be complex, so creating a cloud architecture diagram is a good way to describe the cloud environment for your organization’s documentation, make plans for updates, or troubleshoot issues. 
 
Learn more about cloud architecture diagramming by reading on or jumping ahead to one of the following sections: 

Benefits of Creating Cloud Architecture Diagrams

The primary benefit of using a cloud architecture diagram is that it makes your architecture visual. Visual communication can often unlock complex ideas or help non-technical stakeholders grasp an unfamiliar concept. But, there are specific use cases for cloud architecture diagramming worth considering, too.

Document Current-State Infrastructure

With updated documentation, you can easily onboard new employees or other leaders in your organization to help them understand the infrastructure that supports their day-to-day work.

Troubleshoot an Issue

Having a clear diagram can help you pinpoint which components could be creating problems. Without a diagram, it can be hard to identify what components to investigate first.

Demonstrate Compliance

If your organization needs to maintain certain certifications, creating a diagram can help structure your documentation and demonstrate that your organization meets their required standards.

Plan for Future States

When it comes to expanding or building upon your organization’s cloud computing resources, being able to illustrate where you need to add components or relationships can help you make the business case to your leadership team.

AWS Architecture Diagrams

What is AWS?

Amazon’s AWS services are the most popular cloud computing platform. AWS offers over 200 services across categories like compute, networking, and storage resources. AWS Architecture Diagrams describe the deployment, topology, and design of Amazon Web Service products and resources built on their cloud platform.

AWS

AWS Architecture Diagramming Resources

Blog: How to Create an AWS Architecture Diagram
Video Tutorial: How to Make an AWS Architecture Diagram
Blog: AWS Architecture Diagram Examples
Blog: Guide to AWS Simple Icons

GCP Architecture Diagrams

What is GCP?

GCP stands for Google Cloud Platform. Google originally built these cloud computing services to support its own products, like Google Search, Gmail, and Youtube. It’s the third-largest Infrastructure-as-a-Service provider (IaaS) and ranked by Gartner as an important leader in the space.

GCP

GCP Architecture Diagramming Resources

Learn more about the basics of GCP and how to use Gliffy to document your GCP architecture in our blog, How to Make a GCP Architecture Diagram.

Microsoft Azure Architecture Diagrams

What is Microsoft Azure?

Microsoft’s IaaS product is the Microsoft Azure platform. It’s the second-most popular cloud computing solution and is great for organizations running other Microsoft products. For this reason, it’s the leading choice for enterprises on the market.

Azure

Azure Architecture Diagramming Resources

Learn more about Microsoft Azure and how to use Gliffy for Azure architecture diagramming in our blog, How to Draw Microsoft Azure Architecture Diagrams.

Other Types of Cloud Architecture Diagrams

Additional Services

Gartner recognized several other competitors in the cloud infrastructure and platform space. While these competitors aren’t as widely used as AWS, GCP, or Azure, the same benefits of diagramming your architecture still apply. These additional services are:

  • Alibaba Cloud
  • IBM
  • Oracle
  • Tencent Cloud

Hybrid Cloud Architectures

Hybrid cloud architectures include multiple environments in order to create a single IT solution. They include a combination of private (traditionally on-premises) and public cloud resources. Hybrid cloud architecture diagrams can help clarify how resources and services are allocated across these different environments.

Multi-Cloud Architectures

Multi-cloud architectures use two or more computing platforms. They may be hybridized (including both public and private cloud environments), but by definition they span multiple IaaS or SaaS providers. For example, an enterprise could use Azure for storage or database management while also using AWS for computing services. It’s important to clarify what each platform does for your organization, and a multi-cloud architecture diagram can help.

Microservice Architectures

Microservices are a set of independent, smaller services that are loosely coupled to create a single application. This type of architecture makes applications easier to develop and scale. Each of the cloud platforms we’ve covered can support a microservice approach, but in order to maximize the efficiency of your microservice architecture, it’s important to ensure it’s well-documented for your team.

Choosing a Cloud Architecture Diagram Tool

Gliffy’s apps for Confluence and Jira or its standalone online diagramming tool are great ways to document the IT infrastructure that supports your work. 

Gliffy’s drag-and-drop interface and pre-loaded shapes save your team time, while features like automatic versioning and revision history help you track changes and keep your documentation updated. Get started with a free trial to try making a cloud architecture diagram of your own.
 
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