Deployment Diagram: Everything that you need to know

Helping streamline hardware and software interaction

If you are a software engineer who has been using UML for your projects, knowing about Deployment Diagram isn’t going to be something new for you.

Under the UML, which is a standard language used by the business professionals for getting a broader view at the complex systems, the deployment diagram further eases the process of understanding the interaction between the software and the hardware systems and the way that they interact solely.

In here, we are going to share some of the basic and most important assessments surrounding deployment diagrams, if you don’t know what that is.

what is deployment diagram

What is a Deployment Diagram?

A deployment diagram is part of the UML standard language which helps highlight the physical deployment and processing involved for a software program that later impacts the hardware.

This generally is categorized under the structural diagramming aspect under the UML, the main reason behind that it is responsible for describing a specific aspect involved.

Deployment diagrams aren’t considered the most important and integral part of an UML but for the most part, it does help streamline a lot of the process for the business professionals.

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What do you need to keep in mind?

If you are a professional using UML and want to venture into using and implementing deployment diagrams, it is very important that you keep certain factors in mind prior to anything. More than anything, knowing these guidelines helps execute the plan as you take it.

Some of the most important factors include:

i. Identifying the scope

The first and the most important guideline are to know the extent of your scope. It is very important that know whether you are diagramming a whole system, single application or a thread of computers involved. This is the first step to designing a successful deployment diagram.

ii. Limitations of the physical hardware

Since the deployment diagram helps correlate the connection between the impacts of the software on the hardware, knowing some of the limitations of the physical hardware can further be a boon for you. It is necessary for one to know of the operating systems and even the protocols involved around in the same. You need to know of every single prospect involved with the software that you are likely going to monitor.

iii. Distribution architecture

The last and possibly one of the most crucial prospects involved with a deployment program is to know of the kind of application that you will be using and the number of tiers that each one of them will come with. This helps you build a better foresight of things.

What are the elements involved?

With any kind of diagram in an application, it is necessary that one has a thorough knowledge of all the elements involved, so it is easier for them to point things out and draw them as per the standard protocol.

Some of the important elements involved in the same include:

1. Artifact

The artifact is the main element in a deployment diagram and signifies the product developed by any software. It is also often referred to as the information that software generates. It is symbolized with the help of a rectangle.

2. Association

This helps signify the correlation and message between two different nodes in the diagram.

3. Component

This helps signify the presence of a software element in the diagram and is represented with a rectangle with two tabs.

4. Dependency

This signifies the dependency and correlation of one node or component with that of the other in a deployment diagram. It is represented with dashed lines with arrows.

5. Interface

This signifies the presence of a contractual relationship in a diagram, especially when there are obligations involved that needs to be completed in a total system. It is represented with a circle.

6. Node

This signifies the main element of any kind of hardware or even software object in a deployment diagram that is further shown with a three dimensional box.

7. Stereotype

This signifies the element that is trapped inside a node which comes with its representation with the name bracketed by double arrows.

Explaining the symbols further

With the main elements of the diagram out of the way, the next factor that is worth focusing on are the symbols involved in the deployment diagram. They further help specify the elements for a streamlined understanding of the final result.

Some of the most important elements include:

a. Nodes

When it comes to nodes, you will come across two different variants in the deployment diagram, considerably known as the device nodes and the execution environment nodes.

The device nodes are the ones which define the computing resources that further help streamline the execution of the programs.

The execution environment nodes, on the other hand, are the computer systems that are inbuilt within a device node like that of an operating system.

b. Database

The next important symbol involved in a deployment diagram is the database which helps highlight all the stored data in the diagram.

How to draw a Deployment diagram?

deployment diagram example
Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deployment_diagram

Now that one knows about the involved elements and symbols, drawing a deployment program isn’t going to be a hard job. There are a number of available deployment diagram tools and templates that you can use or any other UML diagram tool to further help get the job done.

From the start till the end, some of the steps involved in it include:

  • Start by identifying the scope of the process and then jotting them down in a rough draft for the final diagram. For this, knowing about the nodes and the devices in a system is important because those are the ones that you will end up visualizing.
  • Establish a stable and clear relationship between the nodes and the devices for better understanding and better execution with the diagram as well.
  • Identify the relatable objects and other elements that are involved in the diagram to further get a better understanding of things around.
  • Establish clear dependency between the involved elements for further accuracy in the diagram

Why use Deployment diagrams?

Nobody likes to indulge in things if they don’t find a positive outcome from the same. Deployment diagrams are not just amazing in terms of the clarity they provide but also in terms of the overall visualization of the process involving the hardware and the software elements.

Some of the reasons why they are worthy using include:

  • Helps in creating better visualization of the elements involved
  • Helps in better description of all the hardware elements that are deployed for the software components
  • Helps in describing the involved runtime processing nodes for better clarity

Aside from the basic benefits, the deployment diagram can be used for a number of activities. Some of the most important ones include:

  • Helps model the hardware topology of a system
  • Helps in modelling an embedded system
  • Helps provide with better details of the hardware system
  • Helps model the hardware details for a specified distributed application
  • Helps with reverse engineering as well

If you have been meaning to use deployment diagrams for your projects, we hope this provides you with a better idea of things that can be done and dusted with this in an UML.

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