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HP Server Killer Firmware Update On the Loose 100

Posted by timothy
from the just-this-one-little-problem dept.
OffTheLip (636691) writes "According to a Customer Advisory released by HP and reported on by the Channel Register website, a recently released firmware update for the ubiquitous HP Proliant server line could disable the network capability of affected systems. Broadcom NICs in G2-G7 servers are identified as potentially vulnerable. The release date for the firmware was April 18 so expect the number of systems affected to go up. HP has not released the number of systems vulnerable to the update."
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HP Server Killer Firmware Update On the Loose

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  • by MrNemesis (587188) on Friday April 25, 2014 @08:22AM (#46840209) Homepage Journal

    TBH, I suspect this is just getting publicity since it's the first super-dodgy HP firmware patch since they adopted their "no updates for YOU!" mentality - the explanation for which from HP was that they'd sunk a lot of money into their patching process and people shouldn't get to use it for free I guess. This won't be the last time this happens either.

    As a sysadmin that's dealt with dozens of these "killer firmwares", there's often an indentified need. We make extensive use of the HP SPP's at work and they come with a list of fixes and known issues as long as your arm; it's part of my job to go through the advisories to see if we're at risk and if we are to analyse the risk of updating/not updating. Many of them aren't security vulns or emergency fixes and are often extremely obscure, but once in a while you'll encounter something like a NIC locking up on receiving a certain type of packet or the BIOS repeatedly saying a DIMM has failed when it hasn't, or if you mix hard drives with firmware X and firmware Y on RAID controller Z running firmware... er.. A it might drop the whole array... lots of little issues than can severely impact running systems if left unchecked. And then when you upgrade one component you'll frequently have to upgrade others to stay within the compatibility support matrix, until eventually you just run the damned SPP to make sure everything in that server is at a "known good compatible" level.

    Sure, we don't just flash as if it were patch tuesday and no-one ever should - we wait for at least 2 months of testing on non-production boxes before we patch any prod kit with firmware unless it's an emergency fix - but lots of people use the HP SPP to automatically download the latest updates; we've had enough problems with them that we'd never do this (and in any case 97% of our servers have no net access). But the whole point of the SPP is meant to be that HP should have already done most of the regression testing for you.

    That said, we've had nothing but trouble with Broadcom NICs for ages and I'm sure there's many admins here who have fond memories of the G6 blades, broadcom NICs, ESX and virtual connect from a few years back. Think HP switched much of their kit to Emulex after that debacle. Also, the latest web-based HP SPP (as opposed to the last one where you just ran a binary) is a complete train wreck on windows for ad-hoc updates, largely due to the interface being handed over to people who seemed to want to make it a User eXperience rather than a tool.

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