The Easy Guide to UML Deployment Diagrams

Updated on: 24 November 2022 | 4 min read

Deployment diagrams are used to visualize the hardware processors/ nodes/ devices of a system, the links of communication between them and the placement of software files on that hardware.

In this UML deployment diagram tutorial, we will cover what is a deployment diagram, deployment diagram notations and how to draw one. You can use one of the editable deployment diagram examples to start right away.

If you are deploying to the cloud, you may skip UML altogether and use something like our AWS architecture templates to achieve the same purpose.

What is Deployment Diagram

A deployment diagram is a UML diagram type that shows the execution architecture of a system, including nodes such as hardware or software execution environments, and the middleware connecting them.

Deployment diagrams are typically used to visualize the physical hardware and software of a system. Using it you can understand how the system will be physically deployed on the hardware.

Deployment diagrams help model the hardware topology of a system compared to other UML diagram types which mostly outline the logical components of a system.

Deployment Diagram Notations

In order to draw a deployment diagram, you need to first become familiar with the following deployment diagram notations and deployment diagram elements.


Deployment Diagram Notations - Node
Deployment Diagram Node

A node, represented as a cube, is a physical entity that executes one or more components, subsystems or executables. A node could be a hardware or software element.


Deployment Diagram Notations - Artifact
Deployment Diagram Artifact

Artifacts are concrete elements that are caused by a development process. Examples of artifacts are libraries, archives, configuration files, executable files etc.

Communication Association

Deployment Diagram Notations - Communication Path
Deployment Diagram Communication Path

This is represented by a solid line between two nodes. It shows the path of communication between nodes.


Deployment Diagram Notations - Devices
Deployment Diagram Devices

A device is a node that is used to represent a physical computational resource in a system. An example of a device is an application server.

Deployment Specifications

Deployment Diagram Notations - Specifications
Deployment Diagram Specifications

Deployment specifications is a configuration file, such as a text file or an XML document. It describes how an artifact is deployed on a node.

How to Draw a Deployment Diagram

Follow the simple steps below to draw a deployment diagram. You can either use the deployment diagram examples below to get a head start or use our UML diagram tool to start from the beginning.

Step 1: Identify the purpose of your deployment diagram. And to do so, you need to identify the nodes and devices within the system you’ll be visualizing with the diagram.

Step 2: Figure out the relationships between the nodes and devices. Once you know how they are connected, proceed to add the communication associations to the diagram.

Step 3: Identify what other elements like components, active objects you need to add to complete the diagram.

Step 4: Add dependencies between components and objects as required.

Deployment Diagram Examples

Deployment Diagram for Online Shopping System

create deployment diagrams with Creately's deployment diagram software
Online Shopping Deployment Diagram (Click on the template to edit it online)

Deployment Diagram for Library Management System

Use Creately's deployment diagram software to visualize complex systems.
Library Management Deployment Diagram (Click on the template to edit it online)

Deployment Diagram for Hospital Management System

Hospital Management System deployment diagrams to help visualize systems
Hospital management system deployment diagram (Click on the template to edit it online)

Deployment Diagram for Hotel Management System

Create deployment digrams with Creately's deployment diagram software
Hotel Management Deployment Diagram (Click on the template to edit it online)

Share the Deployment Diagram Tutorial

In this deployment diagram tutorial, we have covered everything you need to know – from what is a deployment diagram to deployment diagram elements – to draw a deployment diagram yourself. Use our UML diagram tool for powerful features that’ll make drawing UML diagrams easier.

Last week we published a comprehensive tutorial on component diagrams and if you missed it, do check it out below with our other UML diagram tutorials.

The Easy Guide to Component Diagrams The Easy Guide to Activity Diagrams The Easy Guide to Class Diagrams The Ultimate Guide to Sequence Diagram Tutorials

And don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Amanda Athuraliya

Amanda Athuraliya is the communication specialist/content writer at Creately, online diagramming and collaboration tool. She is an avid reader, a budding writer and a passionate researcher who loves to write about all kinds of topics.

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