How to Visualize Your Cloud deployments - CloudMapper

As you are aware, I am a big fan of visualizations.  In fact one of my most popular set of posts centers on using RVTools to collect and visualize a VMware environment.  As much of my focus is now centered on cloud deployments I wanted to highlight some of the tools I have found particularly useful for visualizing AWS and Azure.  These are:

  1. CloudMapper

  2. CloudCraft

  3. Hava.io

CloudMapper

CloudMapper is a tool from Duo Security for visualizing Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud environments.  It was build out of a need to help people perform their jobs easier by providing simple and interactive visualizations of their AWS account.  CloudMapper runs a collection process against your AWS account to prepare and build an interactive visualization for each component along with their connections. Some have called it Google Maps for your AWS account, and to put it simply CloudMapper shows how your AWS environment actually looks.

To see the level of interaction check out their online demo of a deployed application in the us-east-1 region. Below is the CloudMapper visualization of the web applicatoin deployment highlighted in several of my Terraform posts.

cloudmapper.png

CloudMapper was built by Scott Piper in conjunction with Duo Security and luckily for us, they have open sourced their work and continue to  maintain it.  Of the three tools mentioned, it definetly provides the most robust view in terms of connectivity and security for visualinzing an AWS environment.  To get started using CloudMapper check out the product page as well as the installation and setup details on GitHub.

Benefits:

  • Especially good for seeing how resources are connected, and visualizing your AWS environment.

  • Interactive web diagram is extremely handy for understanding and validating your deployment.

  • I have found CloudMapper to be the most thorough tool of the three highlighted

  • Free / Open Source

Nice to Haves:

  • Setup is several steps and more involved compared to the other tools. I did run into a number of compatibility issues with some of the backend Python packages - which reminded me that yes, it is open source.

  • Collection phase can take some time, as it is truly pulling all the metadata information for your entire AWS account across all components and regions.

  • Would be nice to have this exported in different formats - currently supports PNG and JSON only. Visio and PDF are some of other formats similar tools support.

  • Support only for AWS, it would nice to be able to see support for other clouds (Azure, GCP, etc.)