Deployment Diagram

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In the context of the Unified Modeling Language (UML), a deployment diagram falls under the structural diagramming family and describes an aspect of the system itself. In this case, the deployment diagram describes the physical deployment of information generated by the software program on hardware components. The information that is generated by the software is called an artifact. This shouldn't be confused with the use of the term in other modeling approaches like BPMN. In UML, the hardware where the software is deployed is called a node.

Deployment Diagram Example

deployment diagram example

This example shows a basic deployment diagram for Lucidchart. There is a web server, a database server, and the user's machine where they view the website. You can get a lot more complicated than this by showing the different parts of the web server and how Javascript works on the UserClient, but this example just gives you an idea of how a deployment looks when using the UML notation.

Deployment Diagram Notation


deployment diagram node

There are two types of nodes in a deployment diagram. The first are device nodes--computing resources that have processing capabilities and the ability to execute programs. Some examples of device nodes are a PC, laptop, or mobile phone. The second type of node is called an execution environment node, or EEN. An EEN is any computer system that resides within a device node. It could be an operating system, a JVM, or another servlet container.


Represents any data stored by the deployed system. In the example, the database is represented as just another node, but sometimes you will see this shape as a database.

Other Shapes

  • Communication path A straight line that represents communication between two device nodes.
  • Artifacts A box with the header "<<artifact>>" and then the name of the file.
  • Package A package is a file shaped box that groups together all the device nodes to encapsulate the entire deployment.
  • Component UML component notation is going to be the same here as in the component diagram section.

Deployment Diagram Tutorial

We are developing video tutorials that teach users how to use Lucidchart to construct deployment diagrams. In the meantime, you can give yourself some general guidelines for constructing a deployment diagram by asking the following questions:

  1. Have you identified the scope of your system? - You should know whether you are diagramming a single application or the deployment to a whole network of computers, for example.
  2. Make sure you have considered the limitations of your physical hardware. - What legacy systems will you need to interact with? Be sure that you know the operating software and protocols you will be working with and what monitoring you will be putting into place.
  3. Which distribution architecture are you using? You should be able to answer these questions:
    • How many tiers will your application have?
    • What is the application you will be deploying to?
  4. Do you have all the nodes you need? Do you know how they are all connected?
  5. Do you know which components are going to be on which nodes?

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