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Critical System ROM Upgrades announced.

Advisory: ProLiant Servers with Certain Intel Xeon Processors – CRITICAL SYSTEM ROM UPGRADE REQUIRED to Prevent a Rare Possibility of System Crashes or Unpredictable System Behavior in Virtualized Environments that Utilize Intel VT FlexPriority..

..IMPORTANT: The System ROM revision (or later) mentioned in this advisory is considered a critical fix and is required to avoid unpredictable system behavior, including the potential for data miscompares. HP strongly recommends immediate application of this critical fix. Neglecting to perform this required action could leave the server in an unstable condition, which could potentially result in system lockups or failures, or data corruption or loss. By disregarding this notification and not performing the recommended resolution, the customer accepts the risk of incurring the related errors.

Intel has identified a processor issue where under very rare circumstances with a complex sequence of internal processor microarchitecture events and specific operating environments, a server utilizing affected processors may experience a crash due to unexpected page faults, general protection faults, machine check exceptions, or other unpredictable system behavior. This issue affects Intel Xeon Processor 3400/5500/5600/7500 Series and Intel Xeon Processor E3/E5/E7 Families.

The following operating environment is required to expose the server to this issue and HP strongly recommends immediate application of the System ROM update described in the Resolution section below :

  • Server operating in a virtualized environment
  • Intel Virtualization Technology (VT) enabled
  • Intel VT FlexPriority Enabled (this functionality is enabled or disabled by the Hypervisor)
  • Intel Hyperthreading Enabled
  • Extended Page Tables Enabled (this functionality is enabled or disabled by the Hypervisor)
  • Guest operating system using 32-bit PAE Paging Mode

IMPORTANT: This issue does not affect virtualized environments utilizing only 64-bit guest operating systems.

This issue is documented as follows in an updated version of the Intel Processor Specification Update for all affected processors:

Virtual-APIC Page Accesses With 32-Bit PAE Paging May Cause a System Crash..

I was doing research about firmware for my app ‘FindMyFirmware’ and noticed that there is a general advisory relating to ProLiant servers with certain Intel Xeon processors, you may have already seen. The advisory is a useful opportunity for me to issue reminders to upgrade your server drivers and firmware to prevent known issues and ensure you’re up to date with vendors’ recommendations. Do therefore check out your vendor support and see if your servers are in scope.

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