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500-173 Exam Facts

The Cisco 500-173 exam evaluates the knowledge and skills of those individuals who are interested in FlexPod solutions. The test measures their expertise in the standards and tools that are used for evaluating the computing solution performance requirements and attributes. Additionally, it assesses your knowledge of different hardware components that are related to FlexPod solutions as well as the process of choosing the appropriate hardware or specific requirements set. This qualification exam leads to the attainment of the Cisco and NetApp FlexPod Design Specialist certification. This is the only test of the path, which you need to deal with to become a certified specialist.


The certification test does not have any official requirements. However, usually, the potential candidates have at least two years of practical experience in the domain related to FlexPod solutions. This level of expertise helps them better understand the exam content and answer more questions in the test. Additionally, you must gain competence in the topics of the exam before attempting it. This is to optimize your performance and ensure that you pass it at the first attempt. The target audience for Cisco 500-173 is system engineers, channel partners, field engineers, and professional services consultants.

Exam Overview

The Cisco 500-173 exam is 90 minutes long and can contain about 90 questions. The candidates interested in the test can take it in the English language. Before they are allowed to register and schedule the exam, they must pay $300. This fee applies to a single sitting of the test. Any individual who does not achieve the passing score, which is about 810-825 points, will need to pay a new fee to retake it. Those students who do not clear the exam must wait for at least five calendar days from the testing day to retake it.

The registration process for the Cisco 500-173 test is done through Pearson VUE and the applicants can schedule it up to 24 hours before the exam date and time. However, it is recommended that you schedule the test ahead of time to ensure adequate preparation. Depending on your preferences, you can sit for the exam in person and choose one of the highly secure, convenient locations near you. Alternatively, you can go for the online version and have the freedom to test anywhere and anytime.

The knowledge areas that the Cisco 500-173 exam will measure are covered in the topics. The highlights of these areas are enumerated below:

  • FlexPod Design: This topic makes up 25% of the exam content that will be measured in the test. To deal with its questions, you need to have the skills in explaining the components of FlexPod based on the customers’ workloads. These components include scale, performance requirements, connectivity requirements, FlexPod rules, business continuity, best practices, and desired business outcomes. Also, you need to be able to explain the process of sizing a solution based on the requirements of clients according to FlexPod best practices. These include scale, performance requirements, connectivity requirements, FlexPod rules, business continuity, best practices, and desired business outcomes. Besides that, you should know about the support alternatives for FlexPod. These cover cooperative support, solution support, and partner support;
  • Computer: This knowledge area makes up 20% of the exam content. The candidates are required to develop their competence in certain areas before attempting the test. Thus, it is important to know about the components of Cisco UCS utilized in FlexPod designs, including VICs, B-Series, IOMs, C-Series, and Fabric Interconnects. An individual needs to demonstrate knowledge of the process of configuring the logical components utilized within a UCS server. The areas of focus include Databases, HyperVisor, VSANS, Profiles, and Templates;
  • Storage: As for this domain, it covers 18%. You need to be able to explain the components of NetApp storage utilized in FlexPod designs. These include AFF, FAS, E-Series, and Clustering. Moreover, an interested individual should have the skills in explaining the considerations for the storage protocol within FlexPod designs. These include VSANs, FC hardware, and SAN & NAS protocols. Being able to demonstrate the knowledge of the attributes needed for data backup or protection for FlexPod design is also important. These cover data protection, data security, data backup, and data restoration;
  • Networking: About 18% of the exam questions will be from this module. The students are required to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in explaining the components of Cisco networking used in FlexPod design, including MDS, Nexus, and ACI. They should demonstrate their understanding of FlexPod networking configuration, including VPCs and VLANs;
  • Security: This part covers 9% of the whole content. The areas that the specialists will be required to demonstrate their competence in include the access control techniques for FlexPod solutions, including AD, RADIUS, and DAP, as well as contemplation for building secure multi-tenancy designs (SVMs VSANs, VLANs, and IP Spaces);
  • Tools: The last section focuses on 10% of the entire content. Your skills in explaining the fundamental maintenance responsibilities for the IX5000 end-point and fundamental maintenance responsibilities for infrastructures that support IX5000 will be measured. You have to know about the specific upgrade considerations for IX5000 Series.

Preparation Options

To enhance your current level of expertise and be ready for the qualification exam, the vendor recommends a single training course, which is known as Designing the FlexPod Solution v2.0. The interested candidates can find the details of the registration process on the official webpage. To improve performance in the test, it is also recommended that you explore different reputable IT training platforms. The Internet has many sources that offer effective study tools for the Cisco 500-173 exam. You will find training courses, simulated practice tests, training labs, and many other helpful materials that will help you gain competence in the topics and increase your chance of success in the test.

Career Opportunities

The individuals who pass the Cisco 500-173 exam will obtain the specialist-level certification, which can enhance their career. This is the first jointly-developed, multi-vendor global technical certificate that delivers extensive knowledge of the standards and tools to evaluate the performance requirements and characteristics of the FlexPod integrated solution. Those professionals who hold this certification can explore various career opportunities in the field of IT. Some of the job roles that are available to the certified specialists include System Engineers, Data Management Managers, Services Consultants, Field Engineers, and Channel Partners. The average salary that they can earn is $87,000 per annum.

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