Feeds

Watch out! KILLER HP firmware update bricks ProLiant server mobos

If you're using a Broadcom NIC, you need to read this

The essential guide to IT transformation

HP has warned customers that one of its firmware updates can accidentally brick the network hardware in 100 ProLiant Server models.

The Service Pack for ProLiant 2014.02.0 can potentially murder HP Broadcom-based network adapters in G2 to G7-series machines. A server relying on a dead NIC is not much use at all – and may well require a motherboard swap to fix if the slain silicon is a built-in component. The affected adapters range from PCIe cards to integrated controllers.

The online support centre admitted that applying the firmware upgrade on some unlucky systems could have a disastrous effect.

"On certain HP ProLiant servers, certain HP Broadcom-Based Network adapters listed in the scope may become non-functional when they are updated with the Comprehensive Configuration Management firmware Version 7.8.21 using firmware smart component, HP Smart Update Manager or the HP Service Pack for ProLiant 2014.2.0," the firm stated.

It added that a knackered network adapter may require a "hardware replacement to recover".

Sysadmins who download and install the patch on a vulnerable system will shortly discover that the server cannot detect its network adapter, which will be a pain to fix – especially when trying to subsequently load in replacement firmware.

For some, the warning HP tacked onto the service pack's web page came too late in the day: the firmware was released on 18 April, giving unsuspecting IT departments plenty of time to brick their electronics.

Richard J Brain, technical director at security biz ProCheckup, told El Chan, that he was advised by HP to swap out a bug-hit motherboard – the bricked network adapter is embedded on it – but this was not a cheap nor a quick solution.

"To replace a server motherboard takes the best part of half a day," he said, pointing out the fan, the fan tray, the drive and drive bay, power controller, PCIe cards, processors, and memory, and so on must be removed.

An HP spokeswoman told us that upon becoming aware of the issue, "HP removed the components causing the failure", but didn't give any technical details of the cock-up.

She said customers that completed the firmware update on the at-risk systems should contact the tech titan for "remediation" as "in this case the components causing the failure many need to be removed".

"HP expects that due to the nature of the issue, some customers could experience this problem," she said, adding that it is "confident" the "response team handles problems quickly and efficiently".

The firm said it is still trying to work out how many customers are at risk. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Pay to play: The hidden cost of software defined everything
Enter credit card details if you want that system you bought to actually be useful
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
HP busts out new ProLiant Gen9 servers
Think those are cool? Wait till you get a load of our racks
Silicon Valley jolted by magnitude 6.1 quake – its biggest in 25 years
Did the earth move for you at VMworld – oh, OK. It just did. A lot
VMware's high-wire balancing act: EVO might drag us ALL down
Get it right, EMC, or there'll be STORAGE CIVIL WAR. Mark my words
Forrester says it's time to give up on physical storage arrays
The physical/virtual storage tipping point may just have arrived
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.