Create your first live AWS diagram

Cloudcraft allows you to import your AWS cloud environment as live diagrams. By reverse-engineering the architecture in your AWS account, Cloudcraft can autogenerate new diagrams or enhance existing ones, saving you hours or even days of work.

If you are using Cloudcraft's New Live Experience, see this documentation: Crafting Better Diagrams: Cloudcraft's Live Diagramming and Filtering.


Before you begin, you must connect your AWS account to Cloudcraft. For more information, see Connect your AWS account with Cloudcraft.

Your first live diagram

To import your cloud architecture, you must first create a new blueprint. A blueprint contains your diagram, a budget, and all the documentation you attach to individual components and the diagram itself.

In Cloudcraft, navigate to the Live tab. This is where you choose your AWS account, scan AWS regions, generate automatic layouts, and view all resources in your AWS account.

A live AWS infrastructure diagram in Cloudcraft with the Live tab highlighted.

If you only added one AWS account to Cloudcraft, it’s automatically selected for you, otherwise, select the account you want from the dropdown.

Screenshot showing the selection of an AWS account in Cloudcraft interface with an arrow pointing to a dropdown menu.

Now, select the region you want to scan. You can scan and add multiple regions into a single diagram, but for now, just pick one.

Arrow pointing to the AWS region selection dropdown menu set to us-east-1 with a 'Scan now' button.

Below the Scan Now button is a toggle that says Live or Snapshot. This tells the application which kind of diagram you want to create. If you select Live, the diagram continuously updates with information from your AWS account. If you select Snapshot, a point-in-time image is created, which means the diagram will never update automatically.

This example uses the Live option. Enable the toggle for Live. The cog icon to the right of the option allows you to further customize how your diagram is updated, but you can ignore it for now.

Interactive Cloudcraft interface with toggle set to Live for live AWS resource diagramming.

Click Scan Now to scan your account for supported AWS components in your account. A Scan complete message appears when the scan is completed.

With the scan complete, the Auto Layout button and all the supported components from your AWS account should appear. While you can start adding them manually right away, it’s better to let the application lay them out for you automatically.

Cloudcraft's component inventory highlighting the Auto Layout button and all components

There are two ways to do this:

  • Using the Auto Layout feature.
  • Using the Filtered Layout feature.

The Auto Layout feature is the simplest one. It adds all the AWS components you want to the diagram, and then displays their connections and relationships. You can use Auto Layout to include only EC2 instances and exclude everything else.

The diagram type for this example is Live. If you remove one of the EC2 instances from your AWS account, the change will be reflected in your diagram.

The Filtered Layout feature is a more advanced and powerful way to diagram your AWS architecture, as it allows you to create diagrams that match a pattern. For example, if you have many resources tagged with environment=production and environment=staging, but only want components in production to be added to the diagram, you can search for environment=production and only components tagged with this exact combination of value and key would be included.

You can use the power of filters even if you do not tag your components. For example, to create a diagram with only EC2 instances that are powered down, you could use the ec2 !running filter.

To understand the power of Filtered Layout, let’s use VPN server as an example. In AWS, you tag anything related to the VPN with the key service and the value wirecraft. To view everything related to the VPN and how each component is connected, you could use the filter service=wirecraft in the search bar just below the Live tab.

The EC2 instance that is tagged with service=wirecraft is shown inside the VPC and security group it is connected to. The same is true for the EBS volume and internet gateway.

Even though it has the same tags, the S3 bucket is outside of the VPC because the AWS API does not show any connection between the bucket and the other components.

How components connect to each other is very service dependent. Cloudcraft tries to use all available AWS APIs to discover relationships wherever possible.

Next, under the Live/Snapshot toggle, click Auto Layout.

Cloudcraft's component inventory highlighting the Auto Layout button.

A new modal appears which allows you to decide which AWS components to include in your diagram.

AWS components selection in Cloudcraft with options for EC2, Lambda, and auto scaling

The modal also includes an Options dropdown menu where you can choose one of three possible options.

  • Replace existing components
  • Include existing components
  • Leave existing components

These options tell the application what to do if you are using the Auto Layout on a diagram that already has components on it.

  • If you select Replace existing components, everything already in the diagram will be replaced with new components.
  • If you select Include existing components, the application will perform an automatic layout on all the components in your inventory as well as all the components on the diagram.
  • If you select Leave existing components, the components in the diagram will not be altered, but the application will perform an automatic layout for the new components.

Since we’re creating a new diagram, choose Replace existing components from the dropdown menu, and then click Layout to automatically add all of the components in your inventory to the diagram along with their connections.

Interactive AWS infrastructure diagram created with Cloudcraft featuring auto layout of components with visible connections on a grid background.

The diagram is completely editable, so you can use items from the Design tab to improve how your diagram looks while also viewing real-time information about each component.

If you click a component, for example, an EC2 instance, the Live Feed modal appears in the lower-left corner of your screen and displays information about the instance.

Interactive cloud infrastructure diagram with highlighted EC2 instance and live feed information modal displaying instance details and status.