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Active Fabric Manager Overview

Dell’s Active Fabric Manager is a key software application to automate tasks associated with designing, building and monitoring data center fabrics, reducing fabric deployment time by up to 86% compared to manual configurations. Users can now design and deploy Layer 2 & Layer 3 fabrics within a matter of minutes. Unlike traditional Network Management tools that primarily focus on performance monitoring of various network elements, AFM has been built ground-up as an automation and orchestration tool for the entire fabric.


AFM includes many innovations that can save time and eliminate manual tasks associated with fabric design and deployment. For example, AFM includes a design wizard which simplifies the entire process of designing a network fabric, end-to-end. The wizard prompts the user to provide inputs required for the fabric design in an intuitive fashion. In the background, AFM carries out all necessary calculations to present the most appropriate fabric topology, eliminating guesswork and errors that are common in network design and implementation. The designs are derived from a set of predefined templates that have been validated for deployment as Layer 2 or Layer 3 fabrics, including spine-leaf Active Fabric topologies and underlying technologies such as Dell Virtual Link Trunking (VLT) and stacking.


Features & Benefits 

 New Features in AFM 2.5:

-          New platform support:

  • PowerEdge M I/O Aggregator (IOA)
  • S5000  

-          Auto-Discovery of existing Dell fabrics:

  • Customers can now use AFM to help build and manage fabric topologies that include existing Dell switches

Key AFM Features:

Feature: Benefit:

Design Templates for Layer-2 and Layer-3 fabric topologies

  • Accelerate the deployment of Active Fabric offerings
  • Provide a single tool to design, document, deploy and manage complex fabric topologies 

Automated Provisioning, Validation and Configuration

  • Task and time compression associated with deployment of complex fabrics
  • Near instant validation and rapid troubleshooting

Visualization and Usability Enhancements

  • Provide a rich user experience
  • Establish a simple way to design and deploy complex fabrics 

Package and distribute AFM as a holistic virtual appliance

  • Reduce the number of pre-requisites to install and use AFM
  • Easier end user experience

HIgh Availablility for AFM Server

  • No manual intervention to recover from AFM server failure

Northbound API's for Ecosystem Integration

  • Network abstraction for end users of higher level orchestration engines 

Expanded Platform Support

  • Expanded support matrix - Z9000, S4810, S4820-T, MXL, S5000, S6000, PE M I/O Aggregator, S60, S55 


 AFM provides a user-friendly solution for deploying complex fabrics, putting within reach for a great number of data centers the type of advanced network architectures needed for innovation in today’s highly virtualized environments.

AFM can be downloaded only by users who purchase the license. For internal usage, demo or training, you can contact the Dell Solutions Centers



Dell Active Fabric Manager Spec Sheet

Active Fabric Manager – Installation Guide 

Active Fabric Manager – Deployment  Guide 


Active Fabric 1.5 Features and Technical Overview - Whitepaper

Data Center Design Considerations with 40GbE and 100GbE 


Installing the AFM 1.5 Virtual Appliance