16 min read

Azure Diagrams Online

September 15, 2021

When you are working with Microsoft Azure, there are many advantages when you create and maintain accurate Microsoft azure diagrams online.

With accurate up to date diagrams on hand, you can effectively communicate your Azure network design to both technical engineering staff and also management where necessary.  If you are onboarding new engineers, or engaging external consultants, you can bring them up to speed very quickly with a well laid out Azure network topology diagram.

The problem with diagrams is the time it takes to create them. If you are using manual drag and drop diagram software or drawing packages like visio the process can take forever which is why up to date Azure diagrams are rarely on hand. Nobody has the time or motivation to sit down and create diagrams. You usually have far more important or pressing issues to sort out.

This is where creating Azure Diagrams Online using Hava comes into play.

If you are taking on a new client or development project, having access to infrastructure documentation is a massive advantage when trying to understand exactly what is running on your network.

Back in the dim dark past of our cloud consulting days, diagramming a new client's infrastructure was always the first job in the process. It was always time consuming, laborious but necessary in establishing exactly what was going on prior to starting work on improving or redesigning infrastructure.

If you have spent way too many hours manually creating Azure network diagrams to keep control of your production and development environments, then you can also appreciate how much time is saved and how many errors are eliminated when you fully automate the diagramming process.

Automated Microsoft Azure Diagrams Online

Azure is one of many cloud platforms that are compatible with hava.io which will safely connect to your cloud console configuration via read only credentials to automate the production and updating of azure infrastructure diagrams like this:

Azure Architecture Diagram

Connecting Hava to your Microsoft Azure account so that your network topology diagrams can be automatically generated is a relatively simple process using the SaaS interface.

To import your environment resources from Microsoft Azure, you will need to access your Azure Portal at https://portal.azure.com

You then create a new Service Principle and retrieve a set of credentials to connect to Hava.

To do this, open the Azure Portal and launch PowerShell from the top menu bar :

Azure Power Shell

 

From the command line create a new Service Principal.

In this example we use "HavaServicePrincipal"

$sp = New-AzADServicePrincipal -DisplayName HavaServicePrincipal

Getting Started Microsoft Azure Diagrams

Then assign "read only" permissions to it via a "Reader" role assignment.

New-AzRoleAssignment -ApplicationId $sp.ApplicationId -RoleDefinitionName "Reader"

Microsoft Azure Diagrams Azure Connection

Then decrypt the Secret Key ($password)

Decrypt the Password

$Ptr = [System.Runtime.InteropServices.Marshal]::SecureStringToCoTaskMemUnicode($sp.Secret) $password = [System.Runtime.InteropServices.Marshal]::PtrToStringUni($Ptr)

You will now be able to retrieve the following credentials to plug into Hava to connect your data source.

You now have the credentials to login!

  • Subscription ID: (Get-AzContext).Subscription.Id

  • Tenant ID: (Get-AzContext).Tenant.Id

  • Client ID: $sp.ApplicationId

  • Secret: $password

Getting Started Azure Secret
 

Once you have the required credentials, you can log in to Hava which will open up the environments screen.  You then select "Add Environments"

Azure Hava Add Environment
 

Click on the "Azure" Tab and enter the credentials you have just gathered from your Azure PowerShell.

Azure Environment Import

 

You may at this point optionally name the connection. Hava will import your Microsoft Azure environment, layout the diagram and add the environment tile to the Hava dashboard.

From this point Hava will continuously sync with your Azure configuration console and detect any discovered changes. When changes are detected a new Azure diagram is created and the superseded diagram is placed into a fully interactive version history, so you always have an accurate visual representation of your Azure Environment from any point in time, whenever required.

Azure Network Topology Diagram

The Microsoft Azure diagrams produced are laid out by resource group which typically contain subnets running in virtual networks.  All of the resource metadata isn't placed on the diagram, but is displayed in a contextual attribute pane to the right hand side of the diagram.

Resource names and connection lines can be toggled on or off depending on your preference. The resource names appear under the diagram icons when enabled.

This keeps your Azure network topology diagram clean. The diagram allows you to select the interactive elements of the diagram, like a virtual network, subnet or individual resources like  load balancers, gateways, virtual machines, peering connections and storage accounts. When you select an item on the diagram, all the metadata and settings are displayed to the right hand side of  the diagram in the attribute pane.  The metadata and settings are contextual to the currently selected element, as you select different resources, the attribute pane data changes.

With nothing selected on the diagram, the attribute pane displays information about the entire Azure environment including a usage cost estimate.

Azure_Environment_Diagram_Cost_Estimates

 

Azure 3D Diagrams

Your Azure network diagram can also be rendered into 3D with flexible rotate controls, skew, zoom and overhead controls. The elements on the diagram remain selectable so that the attribute pane displays information related to the currently selected resource or network segment highlighted on the 3d visualization. 

Azure_3D_Diagram

While the 3D view provides no additional information in addition to the traditional 2D view, it does provide an interesting aesthetic, especially for management and boardroom presentations.

Microsoft Azure Diagram Versioning

Versioning is one of the most powerful aspects of using Hava as part of your build pipeline or cloud toolkit. Hava keeps track of the changes detected in your Microsoft Azure infrastructure via continuous automated polling of your Azure configuration.

Once a change is detected in your Azure configuration, a new diagram is created and the superseded diagram is placed in the Hava version history.  At any time, you can select an older version to view and inspect what the network looked like at that point in time. The versions remain fully interactive, not just a static diagram. You can click into resources, inspect attributes and settings and view in extended infrastructure and 3D just as you can on the live diagrams.

Hava_Versions

If you need to diagnose a network error or change that has caused your applications to fail or has degraded your application's performance, by selecting an older diagram set, you can pull up the older version in a separate browser and compare current diagrams side-by-side so you can visually compare the differences.

If your environments are large or complex, you can also export current and superseded diagrams in JSON format and Diff the files to surface all the changed resources and settings .

All the interactive Hava diagrams are exportable in a number of formats.

Export_Microsoft_Azure_Diagram

Can you edit Hava Azure Diagrams Online?

There is no way within Hava to draw diagrams from scratch or to add or remove elements.  This is because native Hava diagrams are designed to always reflect the source of truth at any point in time.  You can alway be confident that what you are looking at on the Hava diagrams accurately reflects reality. This is because there is no way to add or remove diagram elements, resources and metadata that could lead to confusion or mis-represent the state of the network during a security or compliance audit for instance.

We do however appreciate that sometimes you would like to use your Hava Azure network diagrams as a starting point for some redesign work, or you would like to annotate a diagram to explain elements of the diagram in management or sales presentations.

To facilitate that scenario, Hava provides:

Azure Diagram VDSX Export

The VSDX export option is the solution that enables you to export your Microsoft Azure infrastructure diagrams in Visio format.  You can then use Visio or a compatible application like draw.io (diagrams.net) to import the diagram for manipulation.

Edit_Azure_Diagram_With_Drawio 

This provides exported editable diagrams while also maintaining the integrity of the diagrams and data held within the Hava ecosystem, so you have an unquestionable source of truth reference retained within your Hava account for use during a PCI compliance, Insurance, security or other type of audit.

Additional Azure Network Diagrams

On top of the standard infrastructure and 3D diagrams discussed above, there are two more diagrams for Azure that are automatically produced by simply connecting your Azure account to Hava.

The extended infrastructure view is in the same format as the infrastructure view, however it adds some additional information to the diagram like full resource names, IP addresses and resource sizes.

The final Azure diagram is the "List View" . This diagram is more like a report and as the name suggests, provides a list which contains of all the resources discovered in your environment.

This includes elements discovered in your data source that are not visualised on the diagrams.  Some environments may have dozens of unimportant instances like network interfaces or virtual machine extensions, which add very little to the understanding of how the network is constructed and which if visualised could make the diagrams messy and difficult to read.

The list view is where you can find these resources.  The list can be filtered, sorted by name, type or price and exported to CSV for easy import into a spreadsheet that can be used for cost analysis. 

Azure_Azure_Resources_List 

The visualised Microsoft Azure Diagram resources are detailed below. 

Visualised

Not Visualised

Application Gateway

Availability Set

Express Route

Load Balancer

Local Network Gateway

Network Interface

Network Security Group

Public IP

Redis Cache

Resource Group

Route Table

SQL Server

Storage Account

Subnet

Virtual Machine

Virtual Machine Extension

Virtual Machine Scale Set

Virtual Network

Virtual Network Gateway

Virtual Network Peering

 
 
Hava.io provides a fast, efficient and accurate method of generating and maintaining your Microsoft Azure cloud network topology diagrams automatically, providing you better internal communications, the ability to surface resources you may not have known were running and to be able to respond to events and outages using a safe repository of network configuration history.
Hava.io also polls your settings continuously and automatically updates your diagrams when changes are detected, providing always up to date hands-free Azure Infrastructure diagrams.
 
If you are not using Hava yet to document your Azure cloud environments, you are welcome to try a 14 day free trial, absolutely no obligation or pressure and no credit card required to sign up.
 
Try Hava For Free Today!

 

Team Hava

Written by Team Hava

The Hava content team

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