How can data-driven companies leverage system architecture diagrams?
Enterprise IT architecture, or system architecture, is a hybrid environment of applications and systems distributed across on-premise data centers, cloud infrastructure, edge computing, IoT networks, and other platforms. It spans different physical locations of the machines and various service providers, whether a company uses IaaS, PaaS or SaaS solutions, or a hybrid environment. Let’s see how system architecture diagrams may provide a visible change for data-driven companies.
While this distributed setup offers many advantages, such as flexibility, security, rapid time-to-market, and customization, a complex infrastructure and software architecture is a challenge for data governance and system administration. It’s not as simple as server-to-server data flow mapping that was common several years ago – and that wasn’t exactly easy in the first place! Today, the picture is complex, and system architecture mapping diagrams are indispensable for security, process management, service design, and data governance.
What is an IT system architecture diagram?
When designing and monitoring enterprise IT architecture, the most helpful approach is to display visually – on a real-time interactive diagram – elements of the system and how they interact in processing data, handling workloads, and managing access.
Technically, everything can be drawn in a diagram, but some types of diagrams widely used in managing the information pipelines in enterprise systems are:
- Data flow diagrams
A data flow diagram (DFD) aims to map out the flow of information to analyze a new or already existing process or system. It uses predefined symbols representing data inputs, outputs, storage points, and routes between each destination. DFDs range from simple to in-depth and multi-level digital maps depending on the data complexity.
- Service mapping diagrams
Service mapping diagram displays underlying IT apps and their components to create a map of how these make up business services. It provides several benefits, such as improved visibility, business continuity, and compliance.
- Application architecture diagrams
The application architecture diagram is used to abstract the overall outline of a software system and the relationships, constraints, and boundaries between components. Such a diagram provides a comprehensive view of the physical deployment of the software system and its evolution roadmap
- Process maps
A process map is a visual representation of the series of tasks, activities, applications, people, data, and other elements of a process within a project or a company’s operations. A process map, also called a process model, flowchart, or business flow diagram, can be used for onboarding and training and identify elements of a process that could be optimized.
- Network infrastructure diagrams
A network infrastructure diagram (also called network infrastructure topology or map) depicts network infrastructure. It includes everything from routers and wireless access points to devices, firewalls, and more.
- Cloud architecture diagrams
Cloud architecture diagrams visually document the location and dependencies of an organization’s cloud computing infrastructure and services. They display elements such as web servers, app servers, load balancers, data storage, monitoring, and other features that ensure complete visibility of applications and services provided by an enterprise cloud system.
How custom-built interactive diagrams support software architecture and data management
While the enterprise software market offers a tool for every type of system management need, custom-built interactive diagrams bring unprecedented value to system administrators, software architects, and pretty much every manager in a data-driven company. Here are some of the many examples of tools we have built for data-driven companies.
Network infrastructure map
By seeing every device, gateway, connection and service mapped out visually and updated in real-time, backend engineers, cybersecurity specialists, and system administrators can see potential problem areas and room for optimization. Real-time monitoring and alerts let them react instantly to threats and abnormalities, while mapping out dependencies and incidents helps design a more secure and reliable infrastructure.
Having the whole IT infrastructure mapped out this way can be especially important when planning a cloud migration and managing a hybrid or multi-cloud environment.
Data infrastructure diagrams
Modern enterprise architecture combines data across different sources, platforms, services, and applications. Mapping the whole data ecosystem empowers managers working with data to optimize capacity planning, infrastructure costs, and service integration. It can also show vulnerabilities and bottlenecks that can be used to redesign data pipelines and improve stability.
We addressed those needs for a client in the Big Data strategy field by providing interactive data flow diagrams showing database correlations, dependencies, and data processing pipelines. All this offers necessary visibility and real-time monitoring to manage the entire infrastructure that delivers high-quality business services.
Data visualizations for better insights
With multiple data sources, mainly when scattered across different departments and platforms, retrieving complete and up-to-date information in one interface can be challenging. Another challenge is managing the data infrastructure to avoid accidentally destroying a critical data source.
These challenges can be conquered using visual data aggregators and data enrichment platforms.
Managers responsible for Big Data, data governance, and infrastructure can use them to view application dependencies and data flow. At the same time, everyone else can gain business intelligence or CRM insight by accessing database records in a user-friendly interface. All this supports better collaboration and understanding of customers and processes.
Enterprise IT system architecture diagrams are a powerful tool in designing and monitoring the flow of information across the organization. Depending on the type of diagram, they can
- Help managers improve security,
- Optimize infrastructure costs,
- Plan storage capacity,
- Redesign applications,
- Manage HR better,
- Optimize processes,
- Ensure business continuity,
- Plan migration to cloud,
- provide many other benefits.
On top of those gains, our real-time system architecture diagram tools allow staff and managers to react to problems immediately. At Synergy Codes, we provide intuitive interfaces and dashboards to empower every employee to see all the information they need in their role at a data-driven organization.
As veterans in data visualization and low-code solutions, we specialize in building real-time interactive diagrams that seamlessly integrate into a client’s system to manage complex structures in an accessible and deceptively simple way. Although the software market offers a visual tool for every type of diagram, we believe that building one customizable interface empowers you to manage your organization’s business needs.