Lucidchart AWS Import 2.0 | Lucidchart Blog
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Torgy (aka David Torgerson, staff engineer at Lucid) had just about had it with PCI compliance. He cringed whenever the time came to construct yet another network diagram demonstrating Lucid’s compliance. He was tired of spending 12+ hours digging through AWS and building a complicated diagram from scratch. And he was tired of that diagram becoming out of date almost immediately.

Recognizing that many likely shared this frustration, the Lucid engineers set out to make life easier for Torgys everywhere. They asked Torgy what type of tool would simplify this process, and then they built Lucidchart’s AWS architecture import. Torgy gained at least 11 hours and 58 minutes back in his life. By importing Lucid’s AWS architecture directly, he can craft a diagram in minutes, and Lucid saves $120,000 per year in assessments and compliance.

But the Lucid engineers didn’t stop there. They knew the import could be further developed to take more work out of diagramming. Engineers built the auto layout feature, which automatically turns AWS infrastructure into clean, professional diagrams for each Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) and its contents.

AWS Auto-layout gif

So when Torgy needed to create a diagram for the AWS Partnership Program, he put auto layout to the test. Amazon’s response to his diagram: “This is one of the most detailed diagrams we have ever received.” And that diagram took Torgy mere minutes.

We know many of you have probably gone at least a little crazy while trying to map out your network and systems infrastructure, whether to demonstrate PCI compliance or to plan network usage for your growing company. No matter your use case, Lucidchart’s updated AWS import offers auto layout and conditional formatting to simplify the complex (and preserve your sanity).

What is auto layout?

Lucidchart’s AWS import with auto layout helps you get to a useful network topology diagram without any manual effort. Based on consistent feedback about our first version, we learned that many customers start with a high-level view of their infrastructure before diving down into connections between specific components. This view focuses on network elements that group a network into specific areas, like Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs), Availability Zones, and Subnets. With our new auto layout tool, Lucidchart will draw each of your VPCs on a separate page and show the hierarchy of Availability Zones, Subnets, and elements within each Subnet—all automatically.

Beyond the topology view provided by auto layout, customers can either drag out additional imported components that don’t fit into that basic structure (like S3 storage) or add network connections. Lucidchart looks at various different kinds of networking relationships and rules, such as security group rules or load balancing relationships, to understand where connections could exist. Each type of connection can be turned on or off to make sure Lucidchart only draws the lines you’re interested in seeing, and it’s easy to add specific relationships between specific components to suit your use case. Each line has data attached to it that defines exactly what rule(s) caused it to be drawn, simplifying auditing and troubleshooting.

What is conditional formatting?

In addition to auto layout, Lucid engineers added conditional formatting and icon sets to AWS import. This feature allows users to add rule-driven formatting and visualizations to better understand their AWS infrastructure. These rules can be based on text in the shapes or attached shape data. Because  Lucidchart includes all relevant metadata when you import components from AWS, you can easily separate out your production infrastructure by highlighting anything with a tag of “Environment : Production.” Or you can add a Warning icon to any of your expensive instances by looking for an “InstanceType” containing “xlarge.” Conditional formatting makes it even easier to understand and visualize your AWS infrastructure.

conditional formatting

What can I do with the new and improved AWS import?

We’re glad you asked. Really, the possibilities are endless. But here are a few ideas to get you started:

Network Design and Troubleshooting

You can get a physical view of your network from AWS, but that isn’t going to explain how all those devices interact—it might leave you with more questions than answers. Lucidchart provides the logical view so you can see how everything works together and ensure it does so seamlessly. Build a new network, troubleshoot your existing one, or help your network keep pace with your growing company. Keep things running smoothly so you provide the optimal experience for users.

AWS network diagram

Training

New employees are drinking from a fire hose. Let them catch a breath by making it easy to understand your organization’s network architecture. Use Lucidchart to create a polished visual of all your network devices and connections—looking at a professional visual will make 100x more sense than a verbal explanation or rough sketch. You can easily share these diagrams with team members to ensure everyone stays on the same page.

Compliance

Most security standards require companies to provide up-to-date diagrams of their networks to prevent data breaches and protect user information. Creating those diagrams is necessary but far from enjoyable. When you use the AWS import, you can get this visual in minutes. Map out all network components within the scope of PCI and their corresponding connections. Any time it changes, update the existing diagram rather than starting from scratch.

They’re all things you have to do—so you might as well make them easier. Try our AWS import today.