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Show HN: CloudSkew – Draw AWS, Azure, GCP, K8s architecture diagrams (cloudskew.com)
131 points by mithunshanbhag 9 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 51 comments

Hello everyone, I'm Mithun, creator of cloudskew.com: a free app for sketching cloud architecture diagrams.

Check out some diagram samples here - https://www.cloudskew.com/docs/samples.html

Icons for AWS, Azure, GCP, Kubernetes, CNCF, Alibaba Cloud, Oracle Cloud and more are already preloaded in the app.

Documentation for all AWS, Azure, GCP resources can be accessed from within the app itself.

Hope the community finds it useful.

PS: Follow me on twitter for regular updates on this app: https://twitter.com/mithunshanbhag

Hihi, hope its okay to ask, but why is it free? It's a great tool, but you have an associated Professional Services and your privacy policy is currently empty [1]. Will we get contacted about contracting opportunities if we sign-up?

1. https://www.cloudskew.com/about/privacy-policy.html)

LOL. Good questions.

1. Haven't found the time to fill in the privacy-policy, terms-of-usage pages. Been swamped with feature work.

2. No, you'll never get ANY emails from us.

3. Product is free for individual users. However, there are plans to release a paid enterprise version later in the year (with SSO, customer-managed-encryption-keys, customer-managed-storage, team collaboration features etc).

Github login is broken

I just tried it, worked fine for me. Can you please try refreshing the page? If you're observing any browser console error, would you mind filing an issue here: https://github.com/cloudskew/cloudskew/issues

Was due to the Firefox container extension not preserving cookies.

maybe i am holding it wrong but i only see Azure icons in the app? where is the AWS stuff?

Click on 'add/remove icons' link at the bottom left on the page. Then choose 'AWS'. The aws icons should appear in the icon palette.

This looks great!

Just a couple quick feedback items. I had a little trouble finding that Add/Remove Icons' link and after i selected AWS in the preferences i couldn't figure out how to make it go away and get back to the palette. Moving that to the navbar on the left with a gallery type icon might work.

One other suggestion would be to lock the aspect ratio of any kind of stencil that has a product logo in it.

Again these are just minor nitpicks, fantastic work!


Clicking on the 'user preferences & settings' icon (on the left-hand bar) will take you to the same location. But yes, I agree that the UX could definitely be improved here.

Regarding the aspect ratio, I already have a github issue open: https://github.com/cloudskew/cloudskew/issues/74

No way to try it without signing in/signing up?

The initial experience to get AWS icons loaded was a little strange. I saw all the Azure icons loaded by default, and when I searched for something like "S3" I got a message that said "No records found. Did you try adjusting your icon preferences from the 'user preferences and settings' menu?", but I couldn't find that menu.

I eventually saw the "Add/remove icons" option at the bottom of the screen, and figured out how to turn on the AWS icons, but then I got stuck in that menu. I had to refresh the page to get out of it.

Thanks for reporting. Did you notice any browser console errors? If so, would you mind filing an issue here: https://github.com/cloudskew/cloudskew/issues

This is super nice, congratulations on building and releasing it. It's great that you've got so many decent icons but I find having to go into my profile to choose icon sets a bit unintuitive, I only found that option by blind luck. Also please implement a collapse all for the icon groups.

Feedback noted!

Looks pretty interesting!

I've been using Cloudcraft [0] for a while now for AWS diagrams, and I'm quite happy with it - it even can do some cost estimation stuff based on resources you have in your diagrams!

[0]: https://cloudcraft.co/

Cool! Did you know about https://arcentry.com/ when you started this? Sorry on mobile so I won't look at your commit history to see if you started before.

I know the guy behind arcentry so just curious.

Unfortunately, from what I've heard, that product is being discontinued for business reasons: https://arcentry.com/discontinuation-letter/

Which is a shame because the product screenshots look pretty impressive! I'm not too sure what the ultimate experience with 3D/isometric drawings is like, but the diagrams sure look cool!

Have you looked at Lucidchart - https://www.lucidchart.com/? They also have cloud infra icons.

Yes, true. However, here's a bit more context on the need for CloudSkew: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23613510

This looks pretty neat! A visio for the cloud.

I thought it might autogenerate visuals based on Terraform or Cloudformation specs. That would be neat!

Anyway, I'm keeping an eye on this. Thanks.

Thanks. Good point.

Some time back, I've received a similar feature request for deployment scripts to diagram conversion (and vice versa).


- A very, very small fraction of CloudSkew users have actually requested this feature (i.e. not a whole lot of user demand).

- This is a "high-effort-required" yet "hard-to-get-right" feature (extremely error prone).

So currently, there are no plans to work on this feature.

That said, if enough users demand it AND there is a compelling business case for this, I can definitely add this to the product roadmap.

Looks great! What libraries have you guys used in the frontend, if you don't mind sharing?

I worked on an internal tool at a company with a slightly similar UI so I'm curious about it

I wondered this too - it’s Syncfusion Diagrams with Angular.

Looks like Vue.js to me.

Are there tools that can build a diagram automatically by looking at your AWS account (or some sort of export) for the truly lazy? Asking for a friend...

Lookup LucidCharts. I haven't tested it myself.

Edit: They have another service for this.

cloudcraft, lucidchart, hava, cloudockit, hyperglance, cloudviz, cloudmapper

disclaimer: I haven't personally tried out any of these

Export/import/sync PlantUML would be awesome.

Does anyone know a visual diagramming tool with diagrams as code support?

I’ve seen some with basic PlantUML importing.

Try mingrammer (not entirely sure if that supports plantUML conversion though).

This is quite impressive and I like the transparency provided on the about page regarding your architecture, toolchain, and workflow.

Looking at the source, the frontend is built on top of Syncfusion Diagrams https://www.syncfusion.com/javascript-ui-controls/js-diagram

Thank you! I'll be writing more about the app as it evolves in the coming days.

Link for others: https://www.cloudskew.com/about/cloudskew-architecture.html

Looks really nice, similar to draw.io but a bit cleaner designs. I would recommend making the default sign up flow friendlier to AWS and GCP users. Right now figuring out how to add those libraries is hard.

Also I would highly recommend more top level groups (AWS, Azure etc...) instead of having each type of service for each cloud on a new side tab. Basically make it more hierarchical.

Finally, make everything collapsed by default. Having dozens of tabs expanded on start is annoying to say the least.

Good points. Will add this to my backlog.

PS: The search box (on top of the icon palette) should make things a bit easier. For some icons, it can even search with synonyms (e.g. search for 'nosql' will show 'mongodb'). However this is not consistent across all cloud provider icons currently.

Looks nice, what does it do that something like draw.io doesn't?

Good question.

While there are many tools for sketching flowcharts, mind-maps, UML diagrams etc, cloudskew has cloud architecture diagrams as its sole focus.

Also planning your cloud architecture requires several round-trips between your drawing tool, document editor (for architecture documentation), looking up reference architectures, googling for AWS documentation (for resource docs, pricing details etc).

CloudSkew can reduce some of these pains today:

1. It already has a built-in document editor (so architecture documentation + diagrams can reside side-by-side).

2. Links to official docs (including pricing details, SLA) for all AWS, Azure and GCP resources are available within the app itself.

3. Bigger icon set (as far as cloud diagrams are concerned).

Later in the year, some cloudskew features will be coming to make cloud architecture planning easier.

These are all pretty killer. For non-generalist stuff this is great - I work for AWS myself and arch diagrams are generally draw.io for me, and considering this is a web service I'd be unlikely to use it but in another life, absolutely.

I feel like non-generalist tools like this are useful for exactly what they're good at, especially along with doc links etc.

Any plans to do this cool things like Cloudcraft with describes to pre-populate diagrams? I'd imagine this would be quite an undertaking for a cloud-agnostic service.



1. Does your team/org maintain a central diagram repository? Or do team members use their diagram tool of choice and then export diagram into a central doc library (e.g. github markdown)?

2. The short-term plan is to add more diagram templates (e.g. VPCs, K8s clusters) to help folks author complex architectures quickly.

3. There are plans to release a paid enterprise version later in the year with features like SSO, customer-managed-encryption-keys, customer-managed-storage, team collaboration etc.

Overall, CloudSkew will remain focused on cloud diagram only.

1. Yes/no - my own team is more the latter as I'm more customer-facing and lone-ranger-y, but other teams do a lot more collab and keep things central. As far as I'm aware though, it's a bit of a mixed bag, so getting to the point where we're all on the same page would be fantastic.

2. This sounds great. I like the k8s angle particularly as well - I have yet to find much useful in that area, so having a service that's good at it would be wonderful.

3. This I'd imagine would be end-game at AWS. Specifically ability to handle own storage and keys would be an immediate sell here. We've just taken on Slack Enterprise Grid for basically this (granted this was a 2-way deal: https://www.theverge.com/2020/6/4/21280829/slack-amazon-aws-...) so clearly we're up for it :D

I get the focus though. Seems like a good opportunity to set yourself up as best-in-class for this type of thing. I'll certainly be using CloudSkew for anything I need privately. :)

Thank you for the pointers! This is great info.

Also, please feel free to file feature requests or bugs/issues over on github: https://github.com/cloudskew/cloudskew/issues

Been using cloudskew for sometime. Happy with it. Great support.

Thank you!

Export to ASCII would be awesome

Cool, yes.

Adds business value, no :-)

The value is in the marketing, capturing the developer crowds attention

What was wrong with draw.io?

Nothing wrong with it. Answered here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23613510

Looks great.

Feature req: snapping to grid

Aha, good observation. I actually disabled snap-to-grid a couple of weeks ago (was making the mouse drag sluggish for some reason). Probably a bug on my end, need to investigate further and fix.

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