Feeds

Cisco recalls suicidal UCS blade servers

Goodness gracious, great MOSFETs afire

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Cisco Systems warns that its high-end B440 blades for its "California" Unified Computing System have a potentially disastrous defect that could result in one or more board failures, and emit a flash of light that could perhaps give system administrators heart attacks.

Last week, Cisco put out a field notice to customers using its UCS B440 server blades, saying that the failure of a MOSFET power transistor on the blade can "cause the component to overheat and emit a short flash which could lead to complete board failure." The company went on to say that "in extreme circumstances it could affect the other blades in the chassis by disrupting power flow."

Cisco actually warned customers that something was afoot with the MOSFETs back on July 12, 2011, and said at that time that there was "no indication of a systemic issue with the MOSFET components, and the observed failure in the field is considered to be a random component failure." To that end, Cisco's system engineers could whip up a firmware fix for the blade to keep the MOSFET from overheating and flashing, obviously causing the system board to fail. This is a no-no in the enterprise server racket.

Then on January 26, the company notified customers using the B440 servers that the firmware patch did detect MOSFET failures and prevent a "potential thermal event," but that since the firmware had been distributed, another B440 in the field has gone poof!. And so Cisco has made hardware modifications to the B440 system board and is now replacing all of the machines currently used by customers.

Cisco said in the field notice that no other UCS B Series blade servers or C Series rack servers are affected by this MOSFET failure issue.

If you have one of these B440s in production, Cisco recommends upgrading to the most recent UCS blade management controller software, which has the patch for monitoring the B440 MOSFETs, and arranging to get replacement blades as soon as possible.

The UCS B440-M1 blade server was launched back in April 2010, and is a double-wide blade that slides horizontally into the UCS chassis. It is a four-socket server that is based on Intel's eight-core "Nehalem-EX" Xeon 7500. The four-socket C460-M1 rack server has a slightly different design and is not affected by the MOSFET issue. Back in March 2011, Cisco updated its chubby UCS blade with the B440-M2, which is also a four-socket blade, but one supporting the ten-core "Westmere-EX" Xeon E7 processors from Intel. They shipped in last April.

There's no reason to believe that Cisco's distribution of servers is much different from the rest of the x86 world, so the MOSFET issue probably only affects somewhere between 5 and 10 per cent of its installed base. Cisco will very likely have more to say about the issue – and any costs it incurs for the recall – on Wednesday, when it goes over its financials for the second quarter of its fiscal 2012. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
729 teraflops, 71,000-core Super cost just US$5,500 to build
Cloud doubters, this isn't going to be your best day
Want to STUFF Facebook with blatant ADVERTISING? Fine! But you must PAY
Pony up or push off, Zuck tells social marketeers
Oi, Europe! Tell US feds to GTFO of our servers, say Microsoft and pals
By writing a really angry letter about how it's harming our cloud business, ta
SAVE ME, NASA system builder, from my DEAD WORKSTATION
Anal-retentive hardware nerd in paws-on workstation crisis
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.