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HPE server firmware update permanently bricks network adapters

Do not install July Service Pack for ProLiant on ESXi unless you want free replacements

By Simon Sharwood

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Here's a fantastic fail: HPE's July ServicePack for ProLiant servers bricked some network adapters so badly they “must be replaced.”

An advisory issued late last week explained that the mess is triggered “when a driver upgrade is performed with … HPE QLogic NX2 1/10/20 GbE Multifunction Drivers for VMware vSphere 5.5, 6.0, and 6.5”.

The relevant drivers glory in the names “net-bnx2x_2.713.30.v55.7-1OEM.550.0.0.1331820” and “net-bnx2x_2.713.30.v60.7-1OEM.600.0.0.2494585” and were supposed to update HPE's Flex-10 530-series network adapters and FlexFabric 630-series kit.

The good news is that not all ProLiants with those adapters will be impacted. To cop this hit you need to also apply HPE's July Custom Images of ESXi.

The bad news is that “As a result of the installation and running of the affected driver, the firmware image on the network adapter can become inoperable and the network adapter must be replaced in order to resolve this issue,” HPE's advisory says.

If you're unlucky enough to have those drivers and any ProLiant server running ESXi 5.5, 6.0 or 6.5, the problem means your VMs may report “Disconnected network status” or that they cannot find a network adapter. “Absence of the network adapter in the ROM-Based Setup Utility” is another symptom.

There's one escape route, but only for those who have updated the drivers but not yet rebooted the hosts. If you're in that situation, HPE says its online firmware updater can save the day. For the rest of you, HPE or your reseller are ready to ship new adapters.

And presumably someone in HPE's testing team is ready to join Equifax's alleged lone wolf patch-news-ignorer at wherever one shops for a new identity. ®

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