I’ve seen a lot of architecture diagrams as I helped customers make the most out of the cloud. Some were pretty awesome, but the vast majority used inappropriate icons or were adaptations of diagrams that people were making in the 90s to the cloud era.
Architecture diagrams are very important in projects. Why, you ask? For starters, they make sure you document everything, so that when the team currently working on a projects is no longer there, others can pick up. Also, in projects where you involve an external consultant like me, correct diagrams make sure we speak the same language and that I don’t waste my time trying to understand a drawing and can get straight to what you’re paying me to do. Nice architecture diagrams are great is what I’m trying to say.
All cloud vendors will use a specific set of icons (you know, they all want you to believe they’re different), so you should too. Don’t use AWS icons when talking about Azure services. Here are some links:
Now, you could use PowerPoint or Visio to draw your diagrams and if that’s the case go ahead and download the icons. There are also plenty online tools that do this and the community is pretty good at maintaining the icons and samples there (in fact, this is how I draw my diagrams). Lucidchart and Cacooare the best ones I found out there. Here are the Cacoo icons for AWSAzureand Google.
Finally, a little more AWS specific is Cloudcraft, which lets you design 3D diagrams similar to the ones AWS uses for the reference architectures - they’re pretty sweet and awesome to use if you need to present them. Just to push it a bit, you can also take a look at VisualOps which lets you create diagrams but also creates the resources for you (obviously, this is a DevOps tool not a diagraming tool, but thought I’d mention it).
So there’s no excuse for crappy architecture diagrams, the tools are out there waiting to be used!