HP firmware bricks ProLiant server models

HP has released a server patch which it has admitted will kill 100 of its server models and 14 network adapters.

HP has released a server patch that it has admitted will kill 100 of its server models and 14 network adapters upon installation.

The update affects many datacentre servers including some ProLiant blade servers. 

The company has been forced to issue an advisory warning customers not to apply firmware version 7.8.21 to its market leading ProLiant server family, which include an integrated Broadcom network controller.

In an advisory on the HP website the company stated: "On certain HP ProLiant servers, certain HP Broadcom-Based Network adapters may become non-functional when they are updated with the Comprehensive Configuration Management (CCM) firmware Version 7.8.21 using firmware smart component, HP Smart Update Manager (HP SUM) or the HP Service Pack for ProLiant (HP SPP) 2014.2.0."

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HP warned IT administrators not to use its HPSUM, HP SPP Version 2014.02.0 or smart component to update server firmware on ProLiant servers that use the HP Broadcom network adapters.

"This may result in the network adapter becoming non-functional and requiring a hardware replacement to recover," HP said.

Richard Brain, technical director of London-based security firm, ProCheckup said his ProLiant DL380 G5 server "was bricked", when he downloaded the DVD firmware update from the HP website and applied the patch.

"We could not reflash the firmware [to reinstall the patch] and the network card was no longer recognised. HP said the server was out of warranty."

His only option is to replace the motherboard, which can cost £300 for the hardware plus several hours of an engineer’s time to disconnect the old motherboard and fit the new one. In fact, HP lists a 13-step procedure to take out the old DL380 motherboard.

Brain said: "Replacing a server motherboard requires removing the PCI cage, fan tray, disc drives, drive bay, processor, memory, RAM, power supply and back planes and then putting it all back together again. It can take up to five hours."

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