back to article Watch out! KILLER HP firmware update bricks ProLiant server mobos

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 …

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Anonymous Coward

The good news is that only customers with HP warranty or maintenance will get their servers bricked, since HP implemented their policy of stopping everyone else getting firmware updates.

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Windows

Here I was thinking window cleaners always want a support contract. Note that that, when shit hits the fan, does not alleviate the problem at all ... who cares when a 1500-employee company is hit by a bug and calls Microsoft ? Certainly not the MS support department as all they'll say is please reboot all computers three times in 3 minute intervals and call us back ... are you sure you waited EXACTLY 3 minutes between reboots ? Coz not 5 seconds more or less ... 3 minutes sir, go try again.

And now, here, you say there are un-reliant Server customers without a maintenance contract ? Hell must be freezing ...

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"who cares when a 1500-employee company is hit by a bug and calls Microsoft ? Certainly not the MS support department as all they'll say is please reboot all computers three times in 3 minute intervals and call us back"

Really? Last time I had to call them they said "We're ever so sorry sir, we'll get a patch sorted and out to you as soon as possible, should be end of this week. In the meantime we have a workaround which you can do yourself, or we can apply remotely if you wish."

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Anonymous Coward

"who cares when a 1500-employee company is hit by a bug and calls Microsoft ? Certainly not the MS support department as all they'll say is please reboot all computers three times in 3 minute intervals and call us back ... are you sure you waited EXACTLY 3 minutes between reboots ? Coz not 5 seconds more or less ... 3 minutes sir, go try again."

Doesnt sound at all like Microsoft support - did they by any chance ask you to install their 'remote support utility' via a cold call? Or mention a large sum you might have won in Ugandan Dollars and ask for your bank account details?

Or maybe you used HP's "Microsoft Support" - which is actually their own cage full of chimps in a cheap offshore location somewhere and nothing whatsoever to do with Microsoft...

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@ obnoxiousGit

"only customers with HP warranty or maintenance will get their servers bricked"

ThumbsUp++ for spotting the irony.

And a side question: Is it even legal for HP doing this? I mean that most BIOS updates address problems already present when the server was purchased. I thought that -in the EU at least- problems present at the time of purchase should be fixed even after expiration of the warranty.

Usual caveats: IANAL, etcetera.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @ obnoxiousGit

"in the EU at least- problems present at the time of purchase should be fixed even after expiration of the warranty"

Only if you are a consumer, not a business.

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I must have been lucky on my BL460c G5

I had an iLO failure on BL460c Blade last week which required a system board replacement.

After I changed the system board the HP firmware required an update. I used the SPP 2014.02 ISO which I had no problems with using the automatic upgrade options. Broadcom NetXtreme II BCM5708S on the mezzanine cards. I now think that I was extremely lucky.

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Meh

Deja Vu

A Win7 mega Tuesday contained an update that bricked the mobo based nics AND bjorked the wifi cards in 3 Gigabyte boards I (used to), own. I managed to fit pci nics and get the boards working again for about a year, but I never managed to get any make of wifi card to work, and eventually ditched the boards and bought Asus.

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Anonymous Coward

'Expert'? WTF?

'"To replace a server motherboard takes the best part of half a day,"

Bloody hell, really? Must have imagined the last dozen or so that took well under an hour including firmware revisioning etc.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 'Expert'? WTF?

Thought exactly the same when I read it, looks like he charges by the hour !

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Re: 'Expert'? WTF?

... or the half-day :)

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Re: 'Expert'? WTF?

"The best part of half a day..." means at least half of half a day. Assuming an hour work day, he means 2-ish hours. I am not impressed with your logic.

Also, at least on our HP blades at work, BL460c, I think, of G1 and G8 variety, it takes about 10-20 mins at least to get through the boot sequence. We've also had bad luck getting the firmwares updated as there are several tools and they'll sometimes take 45+ mins to figure out that they are lacking some file or other dependency ("no, you'll have to upgrade this *other* firmware first and you need a different tool for that") and you have to start all over again... In short, 2AM upgrades on HP blades are hell.

If you and yours take less than an hour, you should offer training courses and/or thank your lucky stars.

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Re: 'Expert'? WTF?

Not just me then; the process must be something along the lines of:

1) Locate server

2) Make tea

3) Power down server

4) Drink tea

5) Remove server from rack

6) Take mandated 15 minute break

7) Get work experience boy to remove all the screws and remove components from MOBO

8) Take Lunch

9) Get work experience boy to plug components into new MOBO and replace screws

10) Throw surplus screws out of window*

11) Take 15 minute break

12) Insert server into rack, power up.

*The Small Screw Phenomenon

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 'Expert'? WTF?

I managed to get not two, not three, but *eighteen* screws left after putting an IBM Aptiva back together (back in the 486-era), and one lost in the undercarriage, given the clear audible rattling.

But I knew where *half* of the 18 were placed, and figured they were there just for *seismic* quality assurance. And I needed them elsewhere, on another hard drives, that only had *one* screw holding each one, in other machines.

Pretty impressive machine, that IBM Aptiva PS/2. An 22-page manual just to *find* the HDD tray, bolted upside-down under the CD-ROM bay. Yes, it had a manual, and it was thicker than a ball-pen, remarkable feat, even then.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 'Expert'? WTF?

If I had £185 call out and £90 per hour for every business I visit that is crap at managing their firmwa oh, wait, I do :)

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Anonymous Coward

The bricking is strong with HP...

I attended a notebook repair course a couple years ago. They had a pile of notebooks taller than my standing self (at 173 cm), all of them were HP with borked, crispy-fried nvidia graphics cards, all mysteriously from the same model. Suddenly you are suspicious that all those customers operated their machines in warranty-voiding manners, such as flat clean glass tables, outside of industrial cryogenic facilities, without a peltier cooler mat below them, or over a poor thermal conducting surface, such as gold or silver.

The lucky owners of similar models could show up at that store with any sort of malfunction anywhere else but the gfx card, and would get a speedy repair, since they had all those spare parts laying around. The pile was kept stable by another impressive pile of HP Inkjet printers on each side, of several models.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The bricking is strong with HP...

Pish, how ridiculous. Everyone knows the only safe way to cool an NVidia graphic chip is with a diamond heatsink

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Re: The bricking is strong with HP...

I attended a notebook repair course a couple years ago. They had a pile of notebooks taller than my standing self (at 173 cm), all of them were HP with borked, crispy-fried nvidia graphics cards, all mysteriously from the same model.

Wasn't limited to few select models either despite what HP claimed. They had list of few notebook lines where they admitted to the issue and fixed/replaced accordingly. I was less lucky. I had two I had bought, both of which fried their nvidia GPUs despite being used on a notebook cooler with fan.

HP denied there was an issue and refused to do anything about it. IIRC they later released firmware update to underclock the GPU. Considering there are similar tales of nvidia equipped notebooks from other manufacturers as well, I bought replacements with AMD GPUs and they're still working good as new (and yes they are HP as they still offered the best deal for the specs I wanted). Other than HP crapware nagging to ahem update firmware they're fine and serve their purpose without fault.

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"To replace a server motherboard takes the best part of half a day..."

Must be a contractor ;)

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Re: "To replace a server motherboard takes the best part of half a day..."

Yup, it's never as urgent to them as it is to the business affected. As long as they can barely meet their SLA's they are happy.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "To replace a server motherboard takes the best part of half a day..."

Umm, no, they're your SLAs, you decide the contract and what you're prepared to pay for the service.

Unless of course the salesman held a gun to your head and forced you to sign an inappropriate contract?

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Anonymous Coward

Brick? Cock up?? Knackered??? Is this the king's english?

Dead, confused, broken? - easily translated across borders.

Brought me a laugh though. Love the language you use!! Really, I do!!

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Silver badge

We have a Queen now, you know.

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Limited Warranty ?

I have 4 points to make here

1. So you have to PAY HP for the honour to brick your servers that's real classy.

2. This proves that No testing takes place on new Firmware revisions.

3. I never do a Firmware update unless I can see that it will actually fix a problem or give an enhancement. Why would you need to run the latest firmware if your servers have been running trouble free.

4. If HP have made a firmware change post you purchasing their kit, this is an admission that you bought faulty goods is it not ?

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I will never ever buy anything with HP on it knowingly. I was stupid enough to buy a HP printer, after 3 replacement printers, 2 heads there is a new printer (that does not work) downstairs in its box! The one prior to that also an HP was trouble from day one eventually the scanner failed.

I am now running a Epson Stylus that resided in the junk for over a year got dusted and has run faultlessly for longer than any HP manure, and the scanner/printer I only switch on when needed is a Canon.

HP / Broadcom. My wifes computer has a B?C adapter that "just quit" after an update. The machine says its has many B/C adapters, it has not. This happened this year after an MS update

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A rather known issue with known fix

This appears to be a rather known issue with know fix at least for the G5 units

1. Download all necessary tools

- download FreeDOS http://www.freedos.org/download/download/fd11src.iso

- download XDIAG.exe ftp://www.supermicro.com.tw/driver/Broadcom/B57BCMCD_T7.6.4.1/dos/diag/NX2/xdiag.exe

- download bc08c740.bin ftp://www.supermicro.com.tw/driver/Broadcom/B57BCMCD_T7.6.4.1/dos/onchip_firmware/bootcode/5708/bc08...

- read all informations in ftp://www.supermicro.com.tw/driver/Broadcom/B57BCMCD_T7.6.4.1/dos/onchip_firmware/bootcode/5708/setu...

2. prepare the FreeDOS.iso

- after downloading open the iso with a tool like UltraISO

- add the XDIAG.exe and the bc08c740.bin to the iso

- save the iso with a new name

- burn it or mount it with ilo

3. Boot from CD

4. Run xdiag in engineering mode xdiag -b06eng

5. type device 1

6. nvm fill 0 0x600 0

7. nvm upgrade -bc "path to bin file/bc08c740.bin

8. nvm cfg and typed "default", then typed 16=10 wich sets the BAR size to 32 for this NIC (see the guide), then typed SAVE

9. device 2 and repeat steps 6-8, run the command 1=00:00:18:xx:xx:xx <--- change the last digit for different mac on device 2.

10. SAVE

11. EXIT

12. do a full POWER CYCLE (unplug) of the server, run xdiag in eng mode again and confirm the that the MAC and RAM size are still changed.

13. DONE

up and running again.

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Fix available from HP

HP has released an updated version SPP Version 2014.02.0(B) that resolves this issue:

http://h17007.www1.hp.com/us/en/enterprise/servers/products/service_pack/spp/index.aspx#tab=TAB1

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