When you are working with Microsoft Azure and need to present your network infrastructure to key stakeholders, the impact of a 3d diagram can be a lot greater than that of standard diagram.
The impact escalates to a whole other level if that 3d diagram is interactive.
If you are not familiar with Hava, it is an application that is available as a web based or self hosted application that automates the generation of network topology diagrams.
By simply connecting your Azure account to Hava, a set of diagrams for each resource group discovered will be generated. This is also true when connecting a Google cloud or AWS account.
The diagrams will visualize all the resources, virtual networks and subnets found within a resource group and will optionally include the resource names and connection lines between resources.
Now there are a LOT of data points associated with a resource. Take for instance a typical virtual machine, you have things like:
- Image Version
- Operating System
- VM Size
- Disk Caching
- Data Disk details
- VM Extensions
- Availability Set
- Connected network interfaces
- Network Security Groups
- Application Security Groups
So you could imagine how unreadable the diagram would be if we tried to include all this information on the visualization. However, you don't want to be swapping between the Azure portal and the diagram every time you want to investigate the properties of a visualized resource like a VM, DMZ, Load Balancer or storage account.
The solution to the problem was to make the diagrams interactive, so that when you select a resource, subnet or virtual network on the diagram, all the known metadata related to the selected item is displayed in the attributes pane to the right hand side of the diagram.
Once connected and your diagrams have been automatically generated Hava will then continuously monitor your Azure portal and when changes are detected, a new diagram is generated. However, you will not lose the previous diagram. It is placed into version history which can be opened and viewed exactly the same as the current 'live' diagram, which is extremely useful when you are trying to diagnose unexpected network behaviour.
So what has this got to do with Azure 3D Diagrams?
The infrastructure view as shown above has a number of controls that allow you to zoom in & out, skew the canvas and so forth. One of these controls is to render the view in 3D
Once you change to 3D the diagram is rendered in true 3D and the controls change to allow you to adjust the camera angle, rotate the canvas or return to the standard 2d view and you can use your mouse controls to zoom in and out.
The 3D diagram remains fully interactive. The above image shows us zoomed in to a specific subnet and having selected a virtual machine, the details related to that VM are displayed in the attribute side bar.
You can easily zoom out and rotate the canvas:
While there is no additional information on the 3D render, it does make for quite an impressive presentation tool when you are showing off your network topology to board or management.
If you are building on Azure but not yet using hava to do the heavy lifting generating and keeping your Azure network documentation up to date, then we invite you to hit the button below and take a 2 week free trial. Who knows what you'll discover.