Tools for AWS

The demand to learn AWS is quite high and the number of people getting certified in AWS is going up steadily. Slowly having an AWS certification will become mandatory if you want to work in AWS or if you are searching for an AWS job.

Those who are working in AWS projects know that knowing AWS is just one part of the job. There are lot more things involved in their jobs. They have to more than AWS in order to execute their role to perfection. They need deep understanding of the Data Center, understanding of the network, understanding of the application, awareness of the compliance and security requirements and much more. The job of a data center architect is not easy and the lack of tools in AWS for certain things makes it more difficult.

Take for example, billing. I recently did a architect course for a MNC and lot of senior architects attended it. One of them asked me, “How do we makes sense out of AWS bill? The bill runs into hundreds of pages. Yes, there is total transparency but to understand what has been spent and why is a nightmare”. I had heard similar comments from architects of the now non-existing CSC. They were also talking about the huge bills they to contend with. One of their customers had more than 700 EC2 instances running. Not to mention storage and databases. So the bill was humongous. How do you read such a bill and make sense? It definitely needs some tool. What are the tools available?

Here is a post by AWS on how to analyze cost using Looker and Amazon Athena.

Here is a post which talks about various free and paid tools for the purpose of cost analysis

If you love to develop a solution of your own, here is a post on how you can do it using Google Big Query

When I teach the participants about VPC, there is question that is almost always asked, ‘Can we get a network diagram of the VPC we created’? It is not possible in the console and to be honest if you have more than one VPC with subnets in each VPC, it is a bit of pain to see things on the console even if you have named the VPC and subnets in a very logical fashion. What would be helpful is a diagram of each VPC detailing the subnets within the VPC, the route tables and the NACL.

There are multiple tools which help in both generating a design diagram as well as generating a diagram from the existing infrastructure. What would be cool is the feature which can generate a CloudFormation template from our existing infrastructure in a few clicks. I browsed through a few tools which I am listing here. Please note that I have NOT analyzed any of them and I have no idea how effective they are. I will do some testing the coming days to find out how useful these could be. For the time being here are some tools that you can explore.

Hava is a tool which can import your existing infrastructure as a diagram. They also claim that you can get a CloudFormation template from the infrastructure in a matter of a few steps.

CloudCraft allows you to do drawings of the infrastructure. You can also import your existing infrastructure into this tool.

LucidChart AWS Architecture ImportĀ As the name indicates, this tool too allows you to import your AWS Infrastructure and visualize the infrastructure

I am sure many of you may be using various tools. Which is your preferred tool and why? Do let me know in the comment section